Making fresh, homemade pasta is not too difficult; it’s fast and lots of fun!!! You only need a few ingredients: fresh eggs, flour and motivation! I remember that. As a child, I loved to make fresh pasta with my mom, my aunts and my grandmother; it was so much fun kneading the dough.
It’s something creative, productive and educational to do with your kids on rainy days and to keep them away from too many video games and too much tv. Now more than ever, cooking at home it is an important activity, particularly since the Covid-19 emergency has caused Imany countries to implement nationwide lockdowns. In Italy it was imposed thorughout the country in March 2020, while in some areas it had already started on February 21. Cooking is one of my passions, so I spend a lot time in the kitchen with my kids, experimenting new recipes and preparing deliciously healthy meals. In this physiologically difficult time, we need healthy comfort food to lift up our spirits and boost our immune system.
Pasta is a good source of carbs (complex carbs), some proteins, vitamins and minerals. The Mamma Mia! Diet recommends that 50% of our diet should be made up of starchy foods such as pasta, and that the higher-fiber, especially wholemeal varieties, are the healthier options. As a guide, about 70 g (2.5 oz) is a good-sized portion. To have pasta as part of a balanced meal, it’s best eaten with some vegetables, such as vegetable sauce or a large side salad. Most vegetables are rich in fiber which helps slow down digestion and thus preventing sugar spikes in the blood.
Once you have made your pasta, you can cook it right away or dry and keep for a few days. You can also freeze it for later. Remember that fresh egg pasta cooks much quicker than the dried pasta you buy in stores. It usually takes only 4-5 minutes. Ready? Let’s make pasta!
You can find this recipe in my book Love is Eating.
PASTA FRESCA ALL’UOVO (HOMEMADE FRESH EGG PASTA)
Preparation time: 50 minutes Servings: 4-5
400 g (14 oz, about 3 cups) Italian Grade 00 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
4 medium eggs, at room temperature
1. Place the flour in a volcano-shaped pile on a work surface (wood is the traditional material) making sure that the “crater” provides a large enough well in the center to receive the eggs. Wash the eggs under running water, pat dry with kitchen paper and crack into the well.
2. Beat the eggs with a fork for 1-2 minutes, then gradually blend the flour into the eggs, starting from the inner wall of the well and continuing until all the flour and the eggs are completely combined. You have to add flour until the dough is no longer sticky (you may have to use extra flour depending on the absorption characteristics of the flour and on the temperature of the room).
4. Place the dough in a clean cotton dish towel or plastic wrap to rest for about 20 minutes at room temperature. Divide your pasta in 4 equal parts and roll out one part at a time (keeping the rest in the dish towel until ready to work).
5. ROLLING OUT BY HAND. To roll out your pasta you need a wooden pin – mattarello. Dust each piece lightly with flour and roll out to the desired thickness; you should be able to see your hand through it. Work quickly because the pasta dries much quicker than you might think. For lasagne cut the pasta into rectangular sheets (20×10 cm; 8×4 in) and let them rest for about 10 minutes on a cotton dish towel. For tagliatelle cut the pasta into long rectangular sheets, roll twice and then cut with a knife for make long tagliatelle.
6. ROLLING OUT BY MACHINE. A hand-cranked pasta machine is the best to use. Kids especially love this part. Start out using the widest setting. Run the pasta through for about 6-7 times until the dough is smooth. If the sheet tears dust it with flour. Continue to run each sheet through the machine, reducing the thickness a notch at a time, until you reach the desired thickness (notch 4-5 for tagliatelle out of 10) personally prefer 4, about 1 mm), instead for lasagna you can see your hand through it. At this point follow the same procedure as for rolling out by hand.
Note: If you do not cook the pasta right away, let it dry on the wooden surface lightly dusted for about 12 hours in a dry place, then wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days. You can freeze up to 2 weeks. – Paola