California Central Coast Recipes
Fresh Egg Pasta by Hand
Fresh pasta are the mainstay of Northern Italian Cooking. There is nothing like a true Lasagna Bolognese, a stuffed Ravioli like Cappallacci de Zucca with Butter-Walnut Sage Sauce.
, or for that matter any ragu with Tagliatelle. Every province in Italy has their own specific names for the varieties of pasta, but basically they are either ribbons, or sheets, which in turn can be folded or stuffed, or layered with sauce.
There is a lot of mystery and confusion about making fresh egg pasta. It is really quite simple, it has only two ingredients: Flour and fresh eggs!
Pasta is easy to make by hand, and we recommend that you do so a few times to get a sense of what the dough and the rolled sheets (sfoglia) should feel like. But, if you like pasta and are going to make pasta a lot, invest in two time saving common kitchen devices, the food processor and the pasta machine-the type with rollers, not the extrusion type.
Preparation time: 45 minutesCooking time: 5 minutes
4 Jumbo Eggs
2-1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
A side note: For fresh pasta, we use the ration of 1 Jumbo egg per 2/3 - 3/4 cup of all purpose flour, depending upon the dryness of flour type.
Tools and accessories:
. Wooden spoon
. Flexible Pastry Spatula
. Plastic wrap
1 You will need a large clean working surface, I use a large wood cutting board from my grandmothers time, but any flat surface 24 to 30 inches square like your counter top will do just as well.
2 Put the flour in a mound in the center of your working surface. Make a well in the center of the mound -like a volcano, and place the eggs (and any flavorings you may be using) in the center of the well.
3 With a wooden spoon, beat the eggs. (The Pros beat the eggs right in the well, but you can pre-beat them a bit if you prefer).
4 Using the wooden spoon, gradually scrape the flour sides of the hole into the well in a circular motion to slowly incorporate the flour into the liquid. Continue scraping the sides until you form a ball of dough. Depending upon the humidity, you may not use all the flour - or you may need a little more. If the side breaks while you are scraping, don't worry use a soft pastry spatula to scoop the liquids
5 When you are done you will have a hopeless looking lump of dough. Don't despair, the fun starts now to turn that lump into pasta!
6 On the same working surface, kneading the dough for about 3 to 5 minutes. As you work the dough into a smooth cohesive mass, incorporate any loose flour - but not any hard lumps that may have formed. When you are done, the dough should feel smooth, elastic -almost alive feeling, and slightly sticky. If it is very sticky, add a little extra flour.
7 Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it relax at room temperature for 30 minutes. This step helps the moisture to distribute evenly throughout the dough.
8 Next step is to stretch out the dough. Start by working only a quarter of the dough at a time, leave the rest covered with the plastic wrap.
9 Lightly flour your working surface. Form the dough into a ball and with your rolling pin begin to roll the dough out into a circle. Each pass of the rolling pin, give the circle a quarter turn. When the dough is thick, it helps to start in the center of the disk and roll outward. If the dough is sticky, you can lightly dust it with flour as needed.
10 Use the rolling pin to thin and stretch the dough instead of flattening it. The rolling pin should be pushing the dough forward, not squashing it as you roll. You can also roll up the dough a quarter of the way on to the rolling pin and using your palms, gently stretch the dough from the center to the outside. Rotate the dough a quarter turn and repeat all the way around.
11 The dough is at proper thinness when you can see your hand through the sheet.
12 If you are making pasta strands, allow the dough to dry a bit (10 to 20 minutes) for easier cutting.
When using fresh pasta don't over cook the pasta! It cooks much faster than semolina types.
Also, when you remove the pasta from the cooking water, do not over drain the pasta. It is best to use thongs to pick up the pasta out of the pot and leave some of the water clinging to the pasta before you sauce it. The Bolognese call this "the second sauce."