There is something primal about making your own pasta, a bit like making your own bread. I don’t always have time to do this (or the organisational ability), but when I do it's so worth it.
To make Fresh Pasta
300g 00 Matthews Pasta Flour
2 x whole large Eggs
3 x additional egg Yolks
Extra 00 pasta flour for dusting your worksurface
Making fresh pasta really is very simple and you don’t need a pasta making machine, just a good solid surface and a rolling pin will do. 00 grade flour will be the best flour to use if you’re a novice; I use our Matthews 00 Pasta flour which is milled in the Cotswolds using carefully selected Italian wheats. I find that resting the dough for a good 2-3 hours gives the best results and allows for the gluten in the dough to relax enough, losing any elasticity that will make it hard to work with.
Here is a short video of me teaching our young friend Max (aged just 11) how to make pasta from scratch at home.
You can use a mixing bowl if you like, I just pour the flour out onto my surface and make a well in the middle. Crack all the eggs and extra yolks into the well and beat them with a fork, mixing in a little flour from the sides as you go. Eventually you will end up with a shaggy mess on the board, but don’t worry, keep working it and will all come together in one lump. You can use one extra egg yolk or add just a little water if you’re struggling.
Using the heel of your hand, start kneading the dough – you’ll need to do this for about 5 minutes. The dough should become uniform in colour and smooth on the surface. That’s it, dough made. Now wrap in cling film and leave and room temperature for at least an hour, 2 to 4 hours is preferable.
When you're ready to cook, get the biggest pot you in the house to cook the pasta, it’s really important to cook it in plenty of water but also make sure you put plenty of salt in the water. The pasta will only be in there for about a minute, so salt the water well – so you can detect saltiness in the water if you taste it.
On a floured surface, roll out the pasta – I use a rolling pin, just like Nonna used to do (I lie, my granny never made pasta, she was from Scotland!), but if you have a pasta roller, use that. It’s best not to attempt to roll out all the dough in one go, unless you have a massive rolling pin and a huge board – roll it out in 2 or 3 batches. The key is to get it nice and thin and even and aim for something that's vaguely rectangular.
To cut the pasta, dust the surface with some 00 flour and fold the dough over from the top into roughly 1 inch folds, adding a bit more dry flour it necessary – you’ll end up with something that looks like a long, flat sausage. You simply then take a sharp knife and cut the sausage into slices, about a half inch thick – that’s your preference, but you will either be making Fettuccine, Tagliatelle or Pappardelle. At the end of the day, who cares, you’ve just made your own fresh pasta! Fluff each cut piece up so it unrolls and gets a little dusting of dry flour to stop it sticking, place on a tray and cover until you’re ready to go.
Make sure the water in your pot is boiling vigorously and add the pasta – it takes literally a minute, so drop it in and keep tasting it as it you really don’t want to overcook it. When there is still a good bite to it, remove it from the pan with a long set of tongs, and you're ready to rock!
If you want to push the boat out, try making my Slow Cooked Shin of Beef to go with it. A meal you will honestly never forget. SO GOOD.
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Leafy green vegetables are fantastic on pizza. Italians love 'Friarielli' but it's hard to find in the UK so I've used purple sprouting broccoli instead. Use creamy ricotta, salty olives, a good grating of Grana Padano, liberal use of some Calabrian spicy peperoncini and a fantastic pizza awaits.
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