Sometimes it is important to go back to basics and learn how to make certain staples. The staple that I am going to focus on here is pasta. I personally eat a lot of pasta due to its convenience; most dried pasta cooks in less than 10 minutes, which means often you can have your meal ready in 15 minutes. So why make fresh pasta? Well, firstly it tastes a lot nicer and secondly it can be a fun thing to make with friends.
Pasta is incredibly simple to make: all you need is eggs and ‘00’ flour, bring together as a dough, knead and roll out finely and you will have made pasta. All other ingredients that you add to the dough just act as flavouring for the pasta.
The key to making pasta is getting the texture of the dough right; what you are looking for is a firm but elastic dough. If the dough is too malleable and soft it will break up when it comes to rolling and you may find that the dough sticks together afterwards. If this happens, then add some more flour to the dough and restart the rolling process.
Basic pasta recipe
Serves: 2-3 people
Preparation time: 1 hr
- 200g ‘00’ Flour (plus extra for kneading)
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt
- Place the flour and salt in a bowl and create a well in the middle.
- Break the eggs into the well, then either using your hand or a fork, work the flour from the outside into the egg, until you start to form a dough like mixture.
- Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and then start to knead the dough, adding more flour to the work surface as required, until you have a firm but elastic dough. This will take roughly 5-10 minutes.
- Once the dough is ready, wrap in cling film and leave to rest for roughly 15-20 minutes before rolling.
Rolling the Tagliatelle:
- Divide the dough into 4 even sized pieces – this will make it more manageable to work with.
- Using the heel of your hand, flatten the dough slightly and shape into a rectangle. Dust with a little flour and now you will be ready to roll your pasta.
- Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and pass the dough through the machine several times, folding back into a triangle each time until the dough is smooth and elastic. (You may need to dust the dough with more flour as you do this if it feels sticky.)
- Once the dough is ready to shape, pass through the machine, increasing the settings each time as you go. On my machine the settings run from 1-9 (1 being widest setting). Pass the pasta through the machine until you get to the 7th . Repeat the process until you have rolled out all of the dough. Leave it is dry for a few minutes before cutting.
- Using the Tagliatelle cutter on your pasta machine, pass the dough sheets through the cutter. Then lay the prepared pasta out on a floured surface. Leave for 5 minutes to dry slightly before cooking.
- Fill a saucepan with boiling water and add a good pinch of salt.
- Tip the fresh pasta into the saucepan. Cook for 2-3 minutes; the pasta wants to be al dente.
- Drain the pasta well, decant into a serving bowl, pour over a good glug of olive oil and combine.
- Serve with the topping of your choice.