Ah! The Pastabilities: Cavorting with Carbs!

“The lack of carbohydrates can make you a little crazy.”    Tom Hardy

I wholeheartedly concur, Mr. Hardy!  In my head, in my heart, in my belly, and most definitely on my tongue there is nothing more satisfying and comforting than a carbohydrate.  Bread, rice, potato, and especially pasta; all so incredibly satisfying.  In fact, my go-to comfort food is hot, heavily buttered wide egg noodles!  I always have a bag (or two or three) of “Pennsylvania Dutch Hearty Homestyle” egg noodles in the pantry in case of emergency.  😉  “I never met a [carb] I didn’t like.”  😊 

While an abundance of carbs isn’t the best thing in the world for me, and I actually do watch my carb intake, they are definitely alluring — my siren song.  Making homemade pasta isn’t hard. Depending on your tools, or lack thereof, it can definitely be time consuming.  I could never really hand roll my pasta thin enough, and so I invested $10 in a secondhand pasta machine.  It makes the pasta sheets wonderfully thin, and then we hand cut the type of pasta we want to eat or, depending on just how much dough we made, different types of pasta.  There are also various attachments for pasta machines to give you different widths.  When it comes to pasta/noodles my feeling is the wider, the better.  Homemade tagliatelle is my favorite pasta.  And, if you make too much (is that even pastable?!), you can freeze it up to a couple months against a pasta emergency. 

I use the same recipe for all different types of pasta and truly have no recollection where the recipe came from since I’ve been using it for more than 20 years and long ago committed it to memory.  Let’s make some pasta!!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • In a large bowl, mound your flour and then create a depression or well in the center.  Into that depression/well add your eggs, yolk, salt, olive oil and water. 
  • Using a fork, beat the eggs and start incorporating the flour from the inner portion of your flour depression/well while being sure to keep the outer portion of the mound intact with your other hand.
  • Once there is no more liquid remaining in the center, start using your hands to knead the dough.  Realize that you won’t use all the flour.  Just work/knead the dough until it comes together and isn’t sticky any longer.  If your dough actually does use all the flour and remains sticky, you can add more flour just a little bit at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.  Continue kneading the dough for about 10 minutes; this will result in a nice, light dough. 
  • Once your dough is smooth, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes. 
    • NOTE:  I use my stand mixer and the dough hook instead of a fork and my hands.

If you’re using a pasta machine, cut your dough into quarters.  Make sure to wrap any dough you’re not working with in plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out.  Shape that piece of dough with your hands into a rectangle.

With your pasta machine set to its widest setting, run the dough through the pasta machine.  Fold your dough into thirds (like you’re folding a letter to mail) and run it through again.  Repeat this 1 more time. 

Turn the machine to the next smaller setting and, folding your dough if necessary, pass it through the machine.  Repeat this process by passing the dough through the machine on successively smaller settings until you’ve reached the smallest, thinnest setting. 

Once you’ve passed the dough through the thinnest setting on your machine, loosely roll the dough (it will be more of a flat roll), keeping the sides as even as possible, and carefully cut the dough using a sharp knife.  I cut one-half inch strips for my tagliatelle, but you can cut your pasta dough into any width you like.  Once the dough is cut, I gently unroll it and toss it gently on a lightly floured sheet pan to keep it from sticking.  Repeat the process with each of your dough quarters. 

If you’re making your pasta entirely by hand, you want to roll the dough out with your pin to your desired thickness.  I like mine to be thin enough to be almost translucent and sturdy enough that it doesn’t tear when lifted with my hands.  It is definitely harder to achieve with a rolling pin. You can then roll the dough and cut it into your desired width. 

On a trip to Little Italy, in the Bronx with my hubby, we visited an amazing pasta company just off Arthur Avenue.  The name of the company has long since been forgotten, but what I do remember is that all their fresh pasta was tossed in cornmeal to keep it from sticking. We always took a big cooler with us when we went to Little Italy!!

Hers and His: Tagliatelle in Pesto-Cream Sauce

Fresh pasta is truly a delight, and cooks up much more quickly than dried pasta; taking only 3-4 minutes.

“And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.” Exodus 12:34

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