Recipe: Handmade Pasta Dough


Pasta Dough in the Making
Pasta Dough in the Making

I have a confession to make. Although I am 100% Italian-American, I only recently learned how to make pasta. Whew, I’m glad I admitted that because it’s been weighing on my mind for a while.

My friends Mary and Sharon and I had lots of fun on a chilly Saturday morning when we attended a two-hour pasta making workshop at the New York Wine and Culinary Center, in Canandaigua, NY. (Find their website here.) Taught by Chef Jeffrey McLean, the goal of the workshop was to take the mystery out of making pasta from scratch, without a pasta machine. At a cost of only $45 each, including all the food and full access to their amazing kitchen, we thought it was a darn good deal.

The large kitchen at the New York Wine and Culinary Institute is a cook’s dream.  It includes twelve work stations, each with plentiful counter space, a gas range, oven, and sink. All of the refrigerators and freezers are stainless steel and the pantry is stocked with almost anything you might need. And, they do all the clean-up!

This pasta recipe (shown below) includes only four simple ingredients which you probably already have in your pantry. Below the recipe, I have included photos of each step of the process, to help you along the way. It is so much easier to make pasta dough than I thought. Also, you don’t need a pasta machine. Granted, a machine would speed up the process and make your final product look more uniform, but I really like the rustic results of hand-cutting the pasta.  Give it a try – I know you can do it!

Ingredients:
2 cups All Purpose Flour
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions:

  1. Pour flour in a medium mixing bowl. Form a well in the center of the flour, to look like a volcano.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk eggs until combined. Add egg mixture to the center of the flour. Add salt to eggs.
  3. Using a fork, begin to stir the eggs, incorporating small amounts of flour as you go.
  4. Once most flour has been incorporated, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and drizzle with oil.
  5. Knead dough for 5-7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
  6. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Let is rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.
  7. Sprinkle some flour on a clean, dry surface, to prepare for rolling the dough.
  8. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough in each direction, turning it 90 degrees after every three or four rolls, until it is thin enough to see a shadow of your hand through it (hold your hand under the dough to test the thickness).  For a recipe using two cups of flour, the dough should be rolled out into the size of about a standard cookie sheet – yes, really!
  9. For spaghetti, cut the pasta into narrow strips, sprinkle it with flour and set it aside until ready to cook.
  10. For ravioli, cut the pasta into large rectangles and follow directions below:
    • a.  spoon the filling onto the dough.
      b. brush the edges of each ravioli section with a thick mixture whisked eggs and water
      c. cut the ravioli into each piece
      d. fold the dough over each ravioli section and press the edges to form a closed pocket.
      e. trim each ravioli to the desired shape (round, square, etc)
      f. sprinkle each one with flour and set aside until ready to cook.
  11. Bring salted water to a boil and cook until tender.  Ravioli will float when done.

Yield: 6 servings

Shown below are photos of each step of the pasta-making process, with tips and tricks to help you along the way:

1. Pour flour in a medium mixing bowl. Form a well in the center of the flour, to look like a volcano.

20141108_103145
Pour flour into mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.

2. In a separate small bowl, whisk eggs until combined. Add egg mixture to the center of the flour. Add salt to eggs.

20141108_103323
Pour whisked eggs into flour well and add salt.

3. Using a fork, begin to stir the eggs, incorporating small amounts of flour as you go.

20141108_103512
Stir eggs with fork, incorporating the flour slowly.
20141108_103641
Continue to stir the flour into egg.  Switch to a wooden spoon as the mixture thickens and becomes stringy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Once most flour has been incorporated, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and drizzle with oil.

5. Knead dough for 5-7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.

Kneading involves pressing the dough with your hands, staring from the center. First fold it, then flatten it, then turn it 90 degrees. Repeat for up to 7 minutes. Add more flour if needed, to absorb excess moisture. The kneading is done when there is no raw flour visible on the dough and the dough has a “pressure response”, meaning that when you press on it with your fingers, it bounces back to its original shape.  Kudos to Mary and Sharon for doing most of the kneading – my kneading skills need some work.

Pasta Dough in the Making
Knead dough, turning it as you go.

6. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Let is rest at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.

20141108_104436
Form dough into a ball and let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature.

7.  Sprinkle some flour on a clean, dry surface, to prepare for rolling the dough. (Nice job Mary!)

Flour the surface
Flour the surface

8. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough in each direction, turning it 90 degrees after every three or four rolls, until it is thin enough to see a shadow of your hand through it (hold your hand under the dough to test the thickness).  For a recipe using two cups of flour, the dough should be rolled out into the size of about a standard cookie sheet – yes, really!  Be patient, this is going to take a while. Again, good job by Mary and Sharon for doing most of the rolling. I, apparently, have very little upper body strength.

20141108_105910
Roll out the dough, turning as you go.
20141108_110038
Continue rolling dough into size of a baking sheet. This dough still needs more rolling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. For spaghetti, cut the pasta into narrow strips, sprinkle it with flour and set it aside until ready to cook.

20141108_112730
Cut dough into spaghetti and then sprinkle with flour. This cut is rather thick and will take a while to cook. The vacationing couple at the workstation next to our made this spaghetti (in between their charming bickering).

10.   For ravioli, cut the pasta into large rectangles and follow directions below:

a.  spoon the filling onto the dough.

20141108_111943
My friend Mary spooned the ravioli filling onto the dough. These fillings were provided for us. The top one is mushroom and the bottom one is squash.

b. brush the edges of each ravioli section with a thick mixture whisked eggs and water

c. cut the ravioli into each piece

d. fold the dough over each ravioli section and press the edges together to form a closed pocket, making sure to let any excess air escape first. Chef Jeffrey demonstrated this technique at our work station, as shown below:

20141108_112031
Brush dough edges with egg wash. Fold and press dough around filling to form a closed pocket.
Press edges of dough to form a pocket around the filling.
Press edges of dough to form a pocket around the filling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

e. trim each ravioli to the desired shape (round, square, etc)

f. sprinkle each one with flour and set aside until ready to cook.

20141108_113139 (1)
Trim each ravioli and sprinkle with flour until ready to cook.

11. Bring salted water to a boil and cook until tender. Ravioli will float when done.Toss with your favorite sauce and serve it up!

20141108_114122
Cooked ravioli with tomato sauce. Also shown: Pierogi

I hope that you try this recipe and enjoy the process (and the result), as much as my friends and I did. Happy pasta making!

Source: http://nywcc.com/

All photos courtesy Food Mingle Blog at http://www.foodmingleblog.wordpress.com

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