Approx cost: €0.80
Approx calories (per serving): 360 (not including any sauce)
Approx preparation and cooking time: 80 mins
[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #0B0B61;”]Long has the “war” raged about whether fresh pasta is better than dried pasta, or even whether home-made pasta is better than the store-bought variety. I’m no pasta connoisseur, but I definitely think there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Beloved food of students throughout the western world, the humble pasta is probably one of the most versatile things there is. It seems like there is literally no end to the things you can do with it. Only got a can of soup and some pasta in your cupboard? Voilà – a delicious mushroom pasta bake, whipped up in minutes. Yeeeah, ok – maybe it doesn’t sound so appetising but it’s better than going hungry! Fresh and home-made pasta definitely has a different texture to it. You can actually cook it “al dente” without that kind of chewy centre to the pasta when it’s served. It feels more moist and porous and is generally a much more pleasant eating experience I think.
Most of all though, making pasta at home is fun, fun, fun… not to mention pretty darn cheap. I tell you – one day when I have kids, I’ll set them to work in the kitchen each sunday making a batch of pasta for the week and they’ll love it because you get to smush eggs and flour all over the surface and then end up with a dough which you can push into little shapes (if you’re so inclined… dolphins, horses, garden gnomes, wheeee!) Joking aside – by doing it at home you don’t lose out much – if at all, financially, compared to buying the same quantity of fresh pasta from a store, and you have full control over what goes into it. No funky preservatives or colouring. It’s all good stuff, and if you want to start getting creative – adding chopped fresh basil or spinach for example then you totally can. Added to that, there’s the whole “Oh, yeah, I made the pasta too” thing when you serve it out. Seriously, you can serve someone some tomatoes simmered in a pan with fried onion on pasta and it’s like “ah, nice simple pasta dish and tomato sauce”. You make the pasta too and stick a basil leaf on top and all of a sudden it’s a gourmet meal! Great way to impress potential boyfriends/girlfriends, or even just as a nice surprise for your partner… jus’ sayin’ :). Ideally you should try to use a type of flour called “Tipo 00”. The finest grade of flour you can get, it will produce the best results for pasta. For cost-efficiency I used simple plain flour and the results were completely fine.
Anyway – I hope you’re all doing good. I’ve got a few “Non festive” recipes I need to get out of the way and then I’ll be starting my little run-down to Christmas soon myself so stay tuned for those 🙂 My next post is going to be on the 3rd December – one day later than my normal posting schedule – as I want to coincide it with a little celebration of my own here. Have a great day everyone!
- 375g Plain Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- Sift the flour out onto a clean, flat work-surface and form a large well in the middle. Crack the eggs directly into the centre of the well and add in the salt and Olive Oil too.
- Pull the sides of the flour pile inwards and combine the eggs with the flour. It will look pretty messy in the beginning but eventually you’ll have something relatively tidy looking like in the picture below. At this stage the dough is still very “dry”, a bit like pastry. You need to knead this dough for about 10-15 minutes, by which time you’ll have a very elastic, smooth dough. Place the dough into plastic bag and set aside for 30 minutes. You can use this time to start making a nice sauce if you wanted, though bear in mind it will still have to be rested again for a further 30 minutes.
- After the 30 minutes is up, remove the dough from the bag. If you have a pasta machine the next part will be easy. Simply run the dough through the rollers – run through twice on the widest setting and then once on every other setting, getting thinner each time. Make sure the surface under the pasta machine is floured. It will get incredibly long so you’ll either want to cut it into several pieces or have someone to help you. Once you’ve run it through the rollers you can run it through one of the cutting attachments. If you don’t have a pasta machine then you’ll need to roll it by hand. You have to roll it incredibly thin – about 1 or 2mm. You’ll probably find it easier to do this in pieces, so split the dough up first. To cut it into tagliatelle or similar by hand, simply roll up the dough into a sausage shape and then simply make cuts of the desired width going down the length. When you until the cut pieces again you’ll have your tagliatelle pieces automatically. Whether done my machine or hand, hang up on a pasta rack for 30 minutes to allow to dry a little.
- After 30 minutes place a large pan of water on to boil and when it’s boiling place all the pasta into the water. Cook until the desired softness is achieved. “Al dente” should take about 3-5 minutes – depending on various factors… hob efficiency etc, so taste a piece after it start to look done and decide for yourself. You can take the dried pasta from the rack, place in a bag and freeze if you’d rather make a large batch and store it away for later! Don’t forget your sauce and a good bit of parmesan cheese! Enjoy 🙂