Making Fresh Pasta
– 100 grams double zero flour
– 2 medium eggs
– a pinch of salt
Dump flour and salt onto a wood board and make a large well in the center of the flour. Crack two eggs into the center and stir with a fork.
As you are gently beating the eggs, use the fork to gradually scoop the flour into the center from the inner part of the well. As you continue to incorporate the flour, the dough will get thicker and thicker. Once you have mixed in most of the flour and there is no danger of the egg running over the wood board, use your bench cutter to scoop up all the flour into one pile.
Now it is time to get your hands into the process. Gather up the dough in your hands and begin to knead to a uniform consistency. To Knead: Using the palm of your hand, push the dough in a forward motion. Then turn dough clockwise and fold in half by pulling top of dough down over the rest of the dough. Push forward with the palm of your hand, turn and fold. Continue pushing, turning, and folding the dough for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour if the dough gets sticky. After kneading for 5 minutes, it should be a soft, elastic dough. When you push your thumb into the dough, it should spring back, leaving a small indentation but not a big hole.
Once you knead the dough, form dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes.
If you are using a Pasta Machine, here are the steps:
Rolling the dough on your pasta machine (an amazing invention!)
Unwrap dough and cut into four equal pieces. It is much easier to roll smaller pieces through the machine. Keep the rest of the dough in the plastic wrap to keep it from drying out.
Flatten out the dough slightly to begin feeding the dough through the pasta machine. Follow the directions for your pasta machine, and keep rolling the dough through the pasta machine until you obtain the desired thickness indicated in the recipe you are using. Repeat for the rest of the dough.
If you want to roll the dough by hand, watch here! Steps for making fettuccine.
Drying the Pasta
Once you have rolled out the dough, you can hang the pasta sheets on a pasta drying rack, but I like to hang them over the back of my kitchen chairs just like my Italian relatives used to do. Be sure to put a towel or cloth over the back of the chair first. Another option is to hand the pasta sheets on a collapsible clothes drying rack. The drying time will vary depending on the temperature and amount of humidity in the air. The most important part of drying is to allow the pasta to be moist and supple. You want to be able to roll or fold the sheets without them cracking. Note that the whole wheat pasta will take a bit longer to dry.
The art of making pasta is not rocket science, but it does take a some practice. Be easy on yourself. I had to make every mistake in the book, but I am beginning to feel more confident with the process. Hang in there, keep practicing. It is so worth it!!