Is this a terrible admission, am I way behind the times and just a dreadful person? Possibly all of the above but I have to come clean and say here that until the other day I had never made homemade pasta before. There I’ve said it, I have come clean, you are now all probably falling about laughing at my ineptitude.
Anyway I used to own a pasta maker. Yes I had one for making little thin shapes from fimo dough for crafting. Never thought for a minute of using it for its normal purpose, heaven forbid I should do something so utterly mundane. Anyway that was a long time ago and that pasta maker went the way of all late lamented crafting projects and kit.
So it was with something akin to excitement that I found a pasta maker in the local charity shop. Yesssss the time has come for me to embrace the Italian within me (!) and make pasta.
The machine was all intact and in it’s box and even had a page of printed instructions. Even though English was only the third language on the list I did manage to put the thing together without calling in the national guard/SOS team/Idgy.
So here is how to make easy homemade pasta!
With just 250g/9oz of plain flour (all-purpose flour) and 2 eggs I made enough tagliatelle for 2 people. The big thing to remember is not to add any salt to the dough.
If you look at traditional Italian cooks they seem to do the dough making on a wooden table or board. Remind me not to do this again as my table is roughly tiled so my board doesn’t lie flat and the egg slithered off the side. Anyway very easy (once you have caught the escapee eggs) to bring together the flour and egg into a firm dough. It mustn’t be at all sticky when it goes through the pasta machine rollers.
You then just roll it out to a sheet that will fit your machine and start passing it through the rollers, first at the widest setting and each time making the settings smaller so the dough comes out thinner and thinner.
Can’t tell you how exciting this was for a pasta making virgin!
Once I had my long thin sheet of pasta that measured about 5 feet in length and was draped over two chairs, I then added the cutting discs. Even a clutz like me managed to get this fitted and into action in a trice.
Wow I was making my own pasta, real ready to use stuff!
I soon had two chair backs covered like washing lines with strips of pasta. You leave this to dry for a while so I had to move the two chairs to my study and close the door as the polecat came into the kitchen with an evil food hunting gleam in his eye. Never trust a polecat after it has scoffed your cake…..
Pasta died and ready for action. I am by now beside myself with excitement and can’t wait to cook this stuff. Must make a sauce. Decide to go for a real store-cupboard sauce as I haven’t bought anything in;
1 clove garlic finely chopped
3 small tomatoes
1 teaspoon of capers
2 anchovy fillets (from the pizza we had the other day)
2 tablespoons of olives
1 teaspoon of chopped chilli
basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme from the garden
salt & pepper
This is basically very similar to the Italian Pasta Puttanesca (Tart’s spaghetti).
What I really wanted was the freshness of the flavours, so I just chopped everything up and covered it in clingfilm and set it aside in the fridge for a few hours to really let those flavours mingle and merge.
I then heated a little oil in a pan and tossed the whole lot in and cooked for only about five minutes.
Meanwhile the long awaited pasta was tossed into a pan of boiling and well salted water (now use the salt) and only took 3 minutes to cook.
Drain pasta and toss in the sauce and stir through.
Perfect. Loved it. £5 well spent in the charity shop. I love my easy homemade pasta! Can now bore you guys to death with pasta recipes for light relief from my experiments with the ice cream maker. What a devil I am with the kitchen gadget!