Guest blogger: Joseph Bookwalter
I recently bought a bright red imperia pasta maker at an estate sale, I have always wanted one, and 30 bucks seemed pretty reasonable to me. This purchase has lead to pasta gluttony!
Making your own noodles is very easy, quite inexpensive and best of all, simply delicious. Your store-bought pasta is a mix of flour and water and maybe a bit of oil. Your homemade pasta is a rich combination of flour, a little kosher or sea salt, a smav of nutmeg, olive oil and eggs. The combination makes a dense, hearty treat that fits well with beef and mushrooms, smoked turkey and veggies, pesto or a quick mix of butter, anchovies, garlic, capers, parsley and red pepper flakes.
You could feed yourself for weeks with what you already have in your pantry and this simple recipe of hand-made noodles. The combinations are literally endless
Start with a great foundation and anything can be constructed.
This recipe is made with all-purpose unbleached flour and a bit of semolina, a durum wheat that is high in gluten and perfect for pastas. You roll it out with more semolina to keep it from sticking. If you have whole wheat, “00” super fine, or even fine-ground cornmeal you can experiment with different combinations and tastes.
1 ½ cups a-p unbleached flour
2 T semolina flour
2 egg yolks
1 t salt
2 t olive oil
a good few shavings fresh nutmeg (if you don’t have fresh nutmeg, I am sad, but continue anyhow!)
Now get dirty. Mix the ingredients with your fingers until it starts to come together. Pay attention to the dough as you mix it. If it is too moist, add a little flour. If it feels good to go, discard any lumps of dough and flour in the bowl. Kneed this mixture until it is slightly elastic, adding a little flour when it gets sticky. It should be smooth and hold its form. Sprinkle some flour or semolina on the counter cover dough with plastic wrap and let stand for at least 30 minutes.
Now, for the fun part. Get out your pasta roller and secure it to something sturdy. You can use the roller handle to gain a little leverage on that sucker. Flour the surface well. Cut off a chunk about the size of a deck of cards and press it evenly flattened and fairly thin. Open the pasta roller to its largest opening, 1-6, 1 being the thickest and roll the dough through. Flour if needed, which you will. Fold the dough in half, pressing out any air and re-roll. Flour if needed, probably will, click one space down and roll. Fold in half and roll again. From here on out, I simply roll, flour, go down a size, roll, flour and down a size. You will have to, at some point, cut the pasta sheet into manageable sizes, in half, or thirds. Flour and set aside. Continue rolling to your desired thickness, usually #5, or for nice thin noodles, go down to #6.
At this point, figure out how you want to cut them. Lay on the counter and either leave in sheets for lasagna or ravioli, cut 1 inch thick for a pappardelle, or crank through the fettuccine cut on your pasta machine attachment.
The noodles can air dry for a while on the counter or use a coat hanger and hand dry them.
Boil water with a little salt. Cook until done being careful not to boil over. Toss with your sauce and heat through.
Be sure to warm your serving bowls, plate, garnish and serve with crunchy bread or my mother’s gooey garlic bread.
As simple as this process is, you will get better, and faster at making your own pasta with time and patience.