Friday, January 18, 2008

Channeling Lidia

If you've never had fresh pasta, you have been missing out on a simple pleasure. Not that dried pasta is bad, I eat it all the time and enjoy it. Fresh pasta takes it to a new level. "Silky" was how Lidia Bastianich described it as I watched her make it on her PBS show. I agree. It's amazing how the simplest ingredients can come together and make something wonderful. This is why I love cooking from scratch. It's not practical to make pasta all the time, but when you do ... it is so worth it.

I was already feeling guilty because I decided to make pasta, but I wanted to make it more healthful. How about whole wheat pasta? This recipe is from and it is a winner.

Add the eggs, AP flour, wheat flour, olive oil and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the paddle attachment for 30 seconds.
Switch to the dough hook and let the mixer run until the dough comes together, about two minutes. My dough wasn't coming together properly, so I misted it with water. You can also sprinkle the water on the dough, one teaspoon at a time. Knead by hand for two minutes. I'm warning you now, this is a very stiff dough.Break out your pasta roller or KitchenAid pasta attachments. Divide the dough into fourths. I roll and cut each section before moving on to the next one. You can roll all four and then cut all four if you choose. Keep whatever dough you're not using at the time covered.

Roll the dough first. I have the KA pasta attachments, so this is #1 for me. I wanted fettuccine noodles, so I rolled up to #5. Flatten the dough with your hands and feed it into the attachment. Fold the dough in half and repeat. Roll the dough on the first setting until the dough is soft and pliable. I usually do four passes on #1 and two on the subsequent settings.

By the time you get to the fourth and fifth settings, your dough will be very long. I use a bench scraper to cut the dough into smaller pieces before cutting into noodles. Make sure the dough is well floured so the pieces won't stick to each other.
I tried cutting the noodles as they came out of the cutter, but that didn't work for me. I think I was too timid!
After the noodles are cut, dust them very liberally with flour and bunch them into little nests or place them on a drying rack. I figured about three ounces per serving, so I got eight servings out of this recipe.
To cook, add the noodles to boiling, salted water. When cooking pasta, the water should taste like the sea (according to the chefs). You'll need to add more water than usual because fresh pasta has a lot of flour on it. Cook fresh pasta for 2-3 minutes. It will float when done. Now let your imagination run wild! If this is your first fresh pasta, first try a little with extra virgin olive oil. Ciao!

Tools of the trade:


Katy said...

that looks so good -- i desperately need a pasta maker!

Anonymous said...

Wow! thank you so much for showing the steps!