Alice Waters, Giuliano Hazan guide to making fresh pasta, how to make fresh pasta, how to make fresh pasta with a pasta machine, how to make fresh spinach pasta, Step by step guide to making fresh pasta
If a recipe for homemade pasta is too intricate, pasta making can be only an occasional project for the occasional day of unfilled hours and leisure to putter. Here is a streamlined version of Giuliano Hazan’s excellent, practical method for making pasta at home. The way is simple and the result is exceptional. The finished uncooked pasta may be frozen, so that, with a little planning, one may enjoy the very best quality of pasta at home on a regular basis.
Hay and Straw Tagliatelle ~ Tagliatelle paglia et fieno…made with Homemade pasta and tossed with Crisped Golden Garlic and Flat-leaf Parsley (for about 1 pound of plain pasta and another 1 pound of spinach pasta)
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A Timing Note: The fresh pasta dries overnight before it is cooked and tossed with the garlic and parsley.
I. Making plain pasta:
Ingredients for the plain pasta dough:
- 2 and 1/4 cups of Unbleached White Flour (300 grams), plus some flour for dusting the dough, the cut noodles and the baking sheets on which the pasta dries
- 3 large Eggs, beaten
- a Food Processor fitted with the Chopping Blade
- a Pasta Machine: There is a link at the end of this post to a video series on making Tagliatelle without using a machine.
- a Pastry Board
- a slightly damp cotton Kitchen Towel
- several rimmed Baking Sheets, lined with Parchment and sprinkled with a little Flour
- a small Strainer
1. Put the flour in the bowl of the food processor, fitted with the chopping blade. Turn on the processor and pour the beaten eggs through the tube into the flour. Hold down the top of the processor firmly as the dough forms because for it may pull against the blade with some force.
2. As soon as the dough leaves the sides of the processor bowl cleanly and forms a ball, turn off the processor and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured pastry board. The dough will be a bit sticky. Knead it a little until it loses its stickiness, but still feels moist–for about a minute or two.
3. Divide the dough into as many pieces as there are eggs in it…in this case into 3 pieces, each weighing ’round about 6 ounces (180 grams, more or less).
4. Set up the pasta machine on a counter or work space. Set the rollers on the lowest setting. Cover two pieces of the dough with a slightly damp cotton kitchen towel. Place the third piece of dough on a lightly floured pastry board and smooth a little flour over the surface of the dough.
5. Flatten the dough out a little under the palm of your hand. Run it through the rollers on the lowest setting. If the dough sticks to the rollers, smooth a little flour over its surface. Roll the dough through the rollers on the lowest setting 2 more times–for a total of 3 times on the lowest setting. In the same way, roll the other two pieces of dough 3 times on the lowest setting:
6. Cut each piece in half so that they will be easier to handle as it is rolled through the machine on successively higher settings. Before beginning to feed them through the rollers again, fold the pieces to form more regular shapes–the end result will be more uniform. Feed each strip through the rollers: Begin again at the lowest setting and roll the strip through once. Then feed it through the rollers on each successive setting, up to but not including the highest one. (If a strip begins to feel damp as you take it through the higher settings, rub a little flour over it.):
…The outline of a hand will be visible through a strip of dough after it is rolled through the next to last setting on the machine:
7. Cut each strip in half and run each half through the blade of the pasta machine used for making tagliatelle. Stretch the cut strips of pasta out in a single layer on lightly floured rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Using a small strainer, sprinkle a little flour over the strips. (Another way to dry the noodles is to arrange them in nests on the baking sheet. This second method conserves drying space. But if the pasta strips feel a little sticky or if the drying atmosphere is a a bit humid, it is preferable to lay the strips flat for drying. The ‘nest’ method is illustrated below in Part II. Making spinach pasta.)
8. Cover the sheets of pasta with cheesecloth and leave them to dry in a cool, relatively dry place. After drying overnight, the pasta will look like this:
Ingredients for the spinach pasta dough:
- 2 and 3/4 cups of Unbleached White Flour (360 grams)
- 3 large Eggs, beaten
- 8 ounces of Frozen Spinach or 12 ounces of Fresh Spinach
- a pot of salted boiling water in which to cook the spinach
- all other equipment is the same as for making plain pasta
1. Cook the frozen or fresh spinach in salted boiling water for a couple of minutes. Drain it, cool it, squeeze it as dry as possible and chop it up very fine by hand or in a processor.
2. Mix the spinach with the beaten eggs. Put the flour in the container of the processor fitted with a chopping blade. Turn on the processor and pour the eggs and spinach through the tube into the flour, holding down the top of the processor firmly with one hand as the dough forms. As soon as the dough leaves the sides of the processor and forms a ball, turn off the processor. Turn the dough out onto a pastry board and knead it for a minute or two. Like the dough for plain pasta, the spinach one will be soft and pliable–not sticky–after a minute or two of kneading:
3. Set up the pasta machine on the counter or kitchen work area. Divide the dough into as many pieces as there are eggs in it–in this case, into 3 parts. Cover two parts of the dough with a slightly damp cotton kitchen towel.
4. Place the third part of dough on a lightly floured pastry board and smooth a little flour over it. Set the rollers of the pasta machine on the lowest setting and feed the dough through them. Rub a little flour over the surface of the dough if it begins to stick as it goes through the rollers. Put the strip of dough through the rollers set on the lowest setting 3 times.
5. Cut each piece of rolled dough in half so that they will be easier to handle as they are rolled out more thinly. Fold the pieces of dough to form more regular shapes before feeding them through the rollers again:
6. Feed each piece of dough through the machine’s rollers, beginning at the lowest setting and passing it through the rollers once on each setting up to but not including the highest setting:
7. Cut the strips of dough by running them through the blade of the pasta machine used for cutting tagliatelle. To dry the pasta, lay it out flat, in a single layer, on lightly floured rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper (as illustrated in Part I above) or form the strips into nests. (If the pasta feels sticky or if the environment is humid, flat-drying is preferable.):
8. To form nests, wind a small bunch of ribbons lightly around four fingers of one hand…and slide them off your hand down onto the parchment, forming a loose nest…
9. Use a small strainer to sieve a little flour over the noodles. Cover the pans of pasta with cheesecloth and dry them overnight–preferably in a cool, dry place.
III. Making the Hay and Straw Tagliatelle:
- 8 ounces of dried fresh plain tagliatelle
- 8 ounces of dried fresh spinach tagliatelle
- 5 – 6 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 3 Tablespoons of Butter (about 42 grams)
- 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup of Flat-leaf Parsley, chopped
- Salt to taste
- Optional garnish for each serving of pasta: a small branch of fresh Basil
- a large Pot, sufficiently large so that the pasta is not crowded as it cooks–crowding might cause it to stick together.
- a very large, heavy-bottomed Pan with high sides may be used both for crisping the garlic and mixing the pasta or a smaller Pan for crisping the garlic and a large bowl for mixing the cooked pasta with it
- a colander
1. Melt the butter and olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and brown it, stirring, until it begins to turn golden. Remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring the garlic around. It will continue to colour and crisp. Set the pan aside while the pasta cooks.
2. Fill a large pot with salted water, add a little olive oil to it and bring the water to a rolling boil. (Since the pasta is mixed with butter and oil, putting oil in the pot won’t prevent the sauce from adhering to the noodles.) If the water is boiling vigorously when the pasta added, the noodles will be less likely to settle on the bottom of the pot. Cook the tagliatelle for about 7 – 8 minutes. The pasta is done when there is no longer a white core in the center of a noodle but it is still a bit chewy…i.e. not soft through and through.
3. Drain the pasta well in the colander and toss it with the garlic, butter and oil in the pan in which the garlic was crisped or mix the pasta with the garlic sauce in a large bowl.
4. Mix in the chopped parsley. Taste and add a bit of salt.
5. Divide the pasta among plates. Garnish with a small branch of basil if you want and serve right away.
IV. How to freeze fresh pasta:
Line freezer containers with paper towels. Place the pasta in the container, and cover it with another sheet of paper towel before putting on the lid of the container:
A Note: Hay and Straw tagliatelle tossed with Crisped Golden Garlic and Flat-leaf Parsley is served with the Main Course of the Lunch Menu: A Cold Winter’s Day Luncheon Reminiscent of Sunny Climes. The dk’s method of making pasta is adapted from one in Giuliano Hazan’s book How to Cook Italian (2005). This portion of the book is also exerpted here on his blog ‘Educated Palate’ . It is a lucid, well-written introduction to making pasta at home. The section on Pasta and Polenta in Alice Waters’ book The Art of Simple Food (2007) also is a useful introduction to pasta making.
A Second Note: For anyone wishing to make pasta without using a machine, here is a good step-by-step video at ‘Pasta Recipes Made Easy’, a website devoted solely to the subject of pasta.
An Invitation: You are invited to request suggestions from the diplomatickitchen for your own menus for any occasion by clicking on the feature ‘Ask and Tell’ here or in the Menu at the top of the page. Do you have a menu concept with a gap or two that wants filling…or perhaps you are an expat looking for ways to adapt your recipes to what is available in your temporary home…maybe you are just looking for a new way to use a familiar ingredient or would like suggestions on how to adjust quantities of a recipe from the diplomatickitchen for smaller or larger groups…Replies will be published in ‘Ask and Tell’ or sent by email if you prefer.
© Elizabeth Laeuchli, the diplomatickitchen, 2011-2012
You really spoil us with your excellent tutorials Elizabeth. We broke our pasta maker recently and would have to roll the pasta out by hand but Steve is pretty strong so hopefully we could get it nice and thin. Thank you again for taking the time to give us all such detailed and beautiful posts 🙂
There’s a link at the bottom of the post to a set of videos about making pasta without a machine which made me want to try the machine-less way:-)
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