Home made pasta – a little tricky but delicious!
Ingredients (serves 3)
- 2 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- Sift the flour and salt together onto a clean work surface. Use your hands to shape the flour into a circular mound. Make a well in the centre. Place the eggs in the well and use a fork to lightly whisk. Use your fingertips to gradually blend a little flour into the egg mixture. Working with your fingertips, continue to gradually draw the flour into the centre (being careful the egg mixture does not run out of the well) until the mixture forms a dough. To check if the dough is the right consistency, press a clean, dry finger into the centre of the dough. If it comes out clean without being sticky, it is the right consistency. If not, knead in a little more flour and test again.
- Lightly flour the surface if necessary. Firmly knead the dough. Continue kneading the dough for 6-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and wrap each portion in plastic wrap or cover with a clean, damp tea towel. This will prevent the dough from drying out. Set aside for 10 minutes to rest.
- Attach a pasta machine to the side of a workbench and adjust the machine's rollers to the widest setting. Spread about 4 clean, dry tea towels over the work surface close to the pasta machine. Unwrap a portion of dough and use the palm of your hands to flatten it into a rectangle. Dust the rollers with flour and roll the dough portion through. Dust again with flour and repeat on the same setting. Fold in the shorter sides of the dough to meet in the centre to form a smaller rectangle and feed through the machine again. Repeat this process 5-6 times or until smooth.
- Reduce the width between the rollers by 1 and roll the dough through as before. Repeat the process, reducing the setting each time until the dough is 1-1.5mm thick. The settings on all pasta machines vary. The last setting on some machines may roll the dough too thin, resulting in it sticking to the rollers and tearing. So be careful to only reduce the setting and roll the dough until it reaches the desired thickness.
- Spread the pasta sheet over the clean tea towels. When laying out the pasta sheets, they must not touch or overlap each other as the moist pasta will stick together. Repeat steps 3-4 with the remaining portions of dough. Set the pasta sheets aside for 10-15 minutes (depending on the temperature in your kitchen) or until dry enough not to stick together but pliable enough not to crack. Trim the edges of the pasta. Cut into 14 x 25cm pieces to make lasagne sheets or see step 6 to make fettuccine.
- To cut the pasta into fettuccine by hand, loosely roll up a pasta sheet starting from the shortest end. Trim the ends and discard. Use a sharp knife to cut the pasta crossways at 5mm intervals. Unravel the pasta. To cut pasta into fettuccine using the pasta machine, you will need a fettuccine cutting attachment. Fit the machine with the attachment and feed the pasta sheets, one at a time, through the fettuccine attachment. Cook immediately or store individual portions as loose nests.