The basic pasta dough recipe is really simple but making pasta takes time and best done with company. The more people, the better! Let everyone take turns using the pasta machine. Another way of putting it: let your friends work for their meal!
The recipe below is good enough for a serving for 4 people. Someone (ie Dan) attempted a double recipe and, consequently, messed up my kitchen. Nice one, Dan.
You don’t have a pasta machine? Personally, I would not make my own pasta without a machine as I will have to roll out the dough using a rolling pin for ages! But if you have the energy or enough pent up frustration, go for it!
2 large free-range eggs
200 g pasta or ’00’ grade flour (if you can’t find this, use strong white bread flour)
baking sheets or trays lined with tea towel or kitchen towel, dusted lightly with flour
rolling pin (optional)
What to do:
Put the flour on a clean work space. Create a little well in the centre.
Work the mixture by kneading the dough. If it starts to stick to the work surface, just sprinkle more flour in. Knead until it feels smooth and elastic.The dough should feel firm. It should be slightly firmer than a bread dough.
Wrap the dough in cling wrap and then leave it to stand at room temperature for 20mins. If you don’t want to use all your dough, you can freeze it.
Before using the pasta machine, divide the dough into about 6 parts.
Set the pasta machine setting to its widest setting and then begin rolling out the dough. Change setting to a narrower one and roll the dough again. Do this until you have reached the right thickness for your pasta. the thickness really depends on how what you want to do with your pasta. If the pasta becomes too long, just cut it in half.
Put the rolled out pasta on top of the lined trays while rolling out the rest.
Once the pasta is rolled, you can do many things with them such as make flavoured pasta or ravioli. The pasta we made here was used to make a “silhouette” pasta (recipe soon!) which has different herbs between thin sheets of pasta. I used a clothes drying rack for drying my pasta before cooking them. You can leave them for 5 – 10 mins, if you have the time. Or you can cook them straight away in boiling water for about 3 mins.
This recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food book. I wouldn’t describe it as “fast”, but probably because I was making it for the first time and it takes me a while to make something fiddly like a sauce. Next time will be quicker. I tried getting into the Ramsay style of cooking, but I had nobody to shout and swear at, so I don’t think it worked. Cooked this for guests, and it went down very well. They could tell by the mess in the kitchen (Tuesy: yes, he messed up my kitchen!) that I’d made an effort.
500g fresh pappardelle (or you can use tagliatelle)
600g skinless smoked trout fillets, flaked into large chunks
salt and pepper
chopped banana shallots
What to do:
Skin tomatoes – this is easy Tuesday did this for the roasted tomato soup recipe. Chop the tomatoes in half and take out the seeds. I found it a bit tricky to squeeze out the seeds, so I left a lot of them in there. Don’t tell Tuesy. I don’t think anyone noticed.
skinning vine-riped tomatoes
Put the tomatoes, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor until you have a smooth sauce. Season to your taste.
ingredients on food processor
Pour the sauce into a pan and warm on a medium heat. Be careful not to boil it too quickly.
Cook the pasta until al dente then toss with the tomato sauce and flaked trout (don’t flake that trout too much – it looks and tastes great with big chunks of fish in it. Serve with parmesan. Lots of parmesan. And probably some fresh black pepper.
I’m really pressed for time. I’ve so much work to do I barely have time to whine about it. But I’m still managing to blog. Some things are still important, and it’s a good way to focus the mind and arrange the swirling thoughts into some kind of comprehensible pattern. And I’ve been pressed into blogging on this by the water-cress pesto that Tuesy has sent me. I urge her to post the recipe so that you, dear reader, can make pesto for yourself. She’s done the real work (and presumably she got chance to use her new food processor): I just want to show you the lovely dinner I made with the pesto.
All it took was a few slices of halloumi, that king of cheeses (shallow-fry it in a little olive oil, or grill it), rocket and cherry tomatoes. Oh, and pasta, of course. I’ve used tagliatelli, but only because the fuselli in my cupboard looks a bit old. If I had any penne in stock, I’d have used that.
Dead easy, and generous in its delivery of deliciousness. So, dear reader (and I hope the use of the singular form of “reader” is not too close to the truth), pester Tuesy with your requests for the pesto recipe, so that you too can pep up your pasty pasta.