Saturday, March 15, 2008

That Pasta Machine....

So, that pasta machine, it's been sitting in a box since the day you got it as a gift. What a great idea! Make your own Pasta! Gotta try it, someday......
How about today? It's too simple and hand made fresh pasta is the best!
How simple? Figure 100 grams of flour and one egg per serving. I make a "volcano" shape with the flour on the counter, in the volcano crater, I crack the eggs and add a 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Then, you start to push the flour into the eggs, and mix it. You might need a little more flour. I think in America, the best flour is bread flour, here in Europe it is referred to as Type 55.
The dough must be kneaded for 10 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes while you set up your nifty chrome plated hand cranked pasta maker.
The pasta maker has a knob with 7 settings on it. Start with setting #1. Cut the dough into portions, usually, thinking that one portion should be the size of of a serving.
Feed the dough into the pasta machine, fold it over and repeat a few times. After the third time the dough becomes smooth and very easy to handle.
Then feed the strip of dough through the rollers, adjusting the size each time until you reach the desired thickness. #6 is a normal spaghetti or fettucini thickness, but #7 is nice and thin.
What kind of pasta do you want?
There are the attachments which will cut the strips into fettucine or what ever.
The simplest way to enjoy fresh fettucini is to open a can of crushed tomatoes, In a frying pan, heat a little olive oil. Put a crushed garlic clove in the oil and cook it, but never let it brown! Put in the canned tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until it thickens a bit. You could add chopped fresh basil. A little salt and pepper and you have the staple pasta sauce all of Italy enjoys. Of course, serve it with Parmesan.
But the strips, rolled out to thickness #6 are perfect for lasagna.
The strips, rolled out to #7 are perfect for home made ravioli. You lay out a strip, place spoonfuls of filling on the strip by eye and then lay another strip on top. The ravilolis are simply crimped together with a simple ravioli/pastry crimper. Just run the wheel between the portions and the pastas are cut and sealed at the same time.
Raviolis can be frozen. Fresh pasta can be frozen, but it's so easy to make!
Here's a classic ravioli, very simple actually:
Pumkin Ravioli with Sage Butter

The filling:
650 grams Pumpkin
125 grams Unsalted Butter
4 Slices Prosciutto or air dried ham
Pinch of Allspice
Pinch of Nutmeg
Sea Salt to taste
Ground Black Pepper to taste

Cut the pumpkin into chunks and roast in the oven at 250 F, until it's soft. You cna easily peel the skin off when it's cool. Mix all the ingredients together, after finely chopping the ham. Then portion it out on the pasta sheet, cover and cut your raviolis.
Cook the Raviolis in boiling salted water about 10 minutes.

The Sage Butter Sauce:
Fresh Sage Leaves
1/2 stick unsalted butter

To make the sage butter, melt the butter in a frying pan over low heat. When it's hot and sizzling, add the sage and turn off the heat.
To serve: Put a portion of raviolis on the plate and drizzle with sage butter.


Village Green said...

I don't have a pasta machine. Is it possible to make an eggless vegan version?

microdot said...

Village Green, I was thinking of you when I wrote this. There are plenty of eggless noodle recipes. Most oriental pasta is eggless.
This was my buddy, Enzo's recipe that his momma made back in Perugia.

May ravioli recipes are meatless and I am wondering if you can do something with soy based cheese and spices as a filling and a simple tomato sauce.

A life with out cheese, that is very hard for me to imagine.