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Monday, December 28, 2009

Homemade Pasta



Memories of homemade pasta take me back to my early childhood years. We forget so many little adventures of our life yet some remain as clear as the events of the day.

My earliest recollection takes me back many years when along with our own family many of my aunts, uncles and cousins immigrated to Canada.

These were young families attempting to make their way in a new country far from all that was familiar and comfortable.

As children, unaware of the problems and difficulties our parents were going through enjoyed carefree times together with our cousins.

During the winter holidays all the families came together. You can appreciate the fact that homes were not as spacious as some we live in today yet there was always room for all family members as well as anyone else that didn’t have a place to go.

These holidays usually included sleepovers but definitely not in comfy beds. One would be fortunate to get a spot on the floor and the acquisition of a pillow was sheer luxury. What memorable times they were!

Sometime early in the day, our mothers would roll out large sheets of pasta dough by hand with wooden rolling pins then cut them into long thin noodles.

The children would all line up to wash their hands and be given their place at a long table where each would get a dinner knife and a portion of noodles to cut up into shorter pieces. These were eventually added to the delicious home made soup served for dinner.

At dinner time the children enjoyed each others company at one end of the very long table. As we ate the soup, each identified which noodles were their handiwork.

Making homemade pasta has come a long way since then. There are so many machines and tools that make the process faster and easier but still a lot of fun.

There’s just something about making homemade pasta, then before it has a chance to barely dry, cooking and eating it the same day.

Even though there’s a fresh pasta section in most supermarkets today, the pleasure of making your own at home is something that shouldn’t be missed.

Once the art of dough making is mastered, the possibilities are endless for what can be done with the fresh pasta dough.

Visions of Lasagna, Fettuccine, Spaghetti, Pappardelle, Ravioli, Tortellini and Cannelloni may inspire the purchase of a pasta machine. If not, there’s always a sturdy rolling pin and a good kitchen knife!


Homemade Pasta

1 egg
1 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
¾ cups flour

The above yields about 5 ounces fresh pasta or 4 ounces of dried pasta, two average servings.
For larger amounts double, triple, etc. the above ingredients.
  1. Place flour in a medium size bowl and make a well in the center.
  2. Add the egg(s) and oil and with a fork combine until dough comes together.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth.
  4. Cut dough in half or thirds and flatten with your hand or rolling pin, then crank through the pasta machine at the widest setting.
  5. Fold dough into thirds and put through the pasta machine again, doing this several times until dough becomes a smooth sheet
  6. Process dough progressively at lower settings until desired thickness, the second last setting is a good final setting.
  7. Put rolled sheets through cutting rollers of pasta machine and cut to desired width.
  8. Place on a pasta rack or clean dish towel to dry.




















Notes Tips and Suggestions

  • For a more firm textured pasta substitute up to half of the flour with Durham wheat semolina flour.
  • Whole wheat flour can also be substituted up to half the amount of the all purpose flour.
  • If you don’t have a pasta machine roll dough out to desired thickness with a rolling pin then roll sheet of dough as for a jelly roll and cut into neat ribbons.
  • Fresh chopped herbs can be added to the dough along with the eggs and oil.
  • Homemade fettuccine is delicious with a variety of sauces but just great tossed with butter and a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Fourth Generation Pasta Makers


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