How to: Making Pasta at Home!

How to: Making Pasta at Home!

Making Pasta at Home! Whether you are looking for something fun to do with your kids in the kitchen or you are watching what goes into your body… making your own pasta might be something to consider. Making your own pasta will add a little more personality to your next pasta night and a great conversation starter around the dinner table.

Fresh vs. Dry Pasta  

When we talk about pasta, there are two basic types – fresh and dry. Dry pasta is primarily made from flour, water and salt. During the creation process, your pasta is hung to dry – this removes all the moisture. In North America, dry pasta will be what you commonly find on the shelf in the pasta aisle. Most people prefer dry pasta because it has a longer shelf life than fresh pasta making it easy to have in the house to make a meal in a pinch.

Fresh pasta is made primarily from flour and egg instead of water. By the inclusion of the egg, it will make your pasta dough moist allowing you to create it into different shapes or sizes. This pasta must be kept refrigerated because you will run the risk of the egg spoiling. The only except to the egg rule is if you purchase egg noodles off the grocery store shelf – these are safe!

Benefits to Making Your Own Pasta

You might be wondering, what’s the difference between buying and making my own? Is it a lot of work? What are the benefits?

The first difference you will notice is in flavor. Since freshly made pastas have not been dehydrated, you reap the benefits of the flavors whether it’s spices or veggies. The texture also contributes to the flavor as well. In some store dry pastas, you may find that they are heavier in terms of flour content which also makes them a little on the chalky side.

Making your own pasta also gives you the ability to experiment and make it your own.  You can make it into your own unique shapes or add your own spices. By making it yourself, you can also use whatever veggies you’d like to make the pasta itself. You can use anything from spinach, tomato, ginger, leek anything that’s your favorite. The same can be done if you make any sort of stuffed pasta. Combinations of what you can include is almost endless.

When you cook your fresh pasta, you will notice that it doesn’t take as long to cook as dried pastas from the box. Fresh pastas also have the ability to absorb sauces better than their dry pasta counterparts. Making for a much better dish!

Maybe the best part of making your own is the cost savings you will receive. With the few ingredients that you do need, you can get more servings out of one bag of flour for examples compared to purchasing the box for a few dollars at the grocery store. Unfortunately, the only downside, is the time, effort, and mess involved with making it yourself.

 

How do I make it myself?

If you are ready to give making your own pasta a try, there are many different recipes and methods that you can find online. We are going to look at the most common way of make pasta just in time for dinner.

Step 1: Start with the dough. It is made up by whisking 2 cups of flour and ½ teaspoon of salt into a large bowl. After that has been whisked, build a well in the center of the flour and add 3 eggs and a 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Combine. This is also where you can add some personality to your pasta. Add dry herbs or spices or even tomato paste or pesto but mix them in prior to adding the eggs.

Step 2: Whisk and knead the dough. Continued from the previous step, continue to whisk the ingredients together and slowly incorporate any leftover flour that can be found on the sides of the bowl. When it is too thick to whisk with a fork, put the dough onto a clean counter or table including the leftover flour and knead until it’s smooth and stiff.

Step 3: Let the dough rest. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for up to 30 minutes. If you’re not going to use the dough right away, it can be placed in the refrigerator for up to a day. By allowing it to rest, it makes it easier to roll as thin as you desire without rising again like bread.

Step 4: Divide. When you’re ready to make your pasta, try to divide your dough into 4 smaller pieces. Work with one small piece at a time and keep the other pieces in the plastic wrap until ready to keep them from drying out.

Step 5: Roll. Dust the dough with a little bit a flour and flatten it into rectangular squares with your hands the best you can. Once you’ve got it as flat as you can with your hands, you can begin to roll your dough. Make sure you add a little flour as you go.

Step 6: Rolling Still. Keep rolling your dough until it’s as thin as possible because it will grow as you cook it. An indication you have the right thickness is if you can see your hand through the pasta when held up to a light.

Step 7: Slice. Lightly dust your workspace again with flour. This is the step where you can add some style to your pasta. You can even slice it strips for a fettucine noodle or cut into squares if you are making ravioli. Make sure you use a sharp knife for a clean slice to prevent your dough from breaking.

Step 8: If you want to preserve it for later, you will want to research how to lay and dry your pasta.

Not sure if pasta making is for you or it’s a little more work than you anticipated but you still want the health benefits of homemade artisan pasta? Maria’s Noodles will help fill that need with homemade, wheat free pastas that come in many different styles and flavors.

 

References

https://thebalancedplate.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/fresh-pasta-v-dry-pasta/

http://www.dvo.com/newsletter/weekly/2013/03-08-425/homemade-pasta-better.html

http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/8479/what-are-the-advantages-of-homemade-pasta-over-store-bought

http://www.food.com/how-to/make-homemade-pasta-42

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