Fresh pasta is something magical. Of all of the meals I have had around the world, some of my most memorable are pasta dishes. Several of those memorable meals happened in Italy, of course and also at my grandparents home. My grandmother Philomena was Italian, born in the United States to Italian parents, she moved to Italy at some point in her childhood before returning to the states again later. My love of pasta comes from her. Some of my first childhood memories involve making pasta with my grandma. I even remember her coming to my preschool class to teach everyone how to make pasta. She was an excellent teacher. I can remember making pasta all day long and letting it dry over broomsticks my grandfather had fashioned for that purpose. Now we have a fancy drying rack. Her freezer would be filled with ravioli at the end of the day, and quickly emptied out because it was so delicious. So with my daughter's upcoming second birthday on Monday, I felt it time to pass along the knowledge. Cooking with your children is so important. It not only helps you bond, and teach patience, it teaches them about where food comes from and adds a little bit of respect for the food on the table. I think that when children are involved, they are more likely to eat well and enjoy their meals. Food brings people together and it can start in the kitchen.
To say my daughter enjoyed the experience would be an understatement. She was so exited to be involved. She was a natural at adding flour to the dough as she rolled it. She listened as we worked together. It was as if she already knew how to make it. Odd really, but not surprising. She giggled every time she accidentally pulled the handle out of the pasta machine, which is something I always giggled at as a child. We made pasta on the same pasta machine that my grandmother and I did, so many years ago. We both really enjoyed the whole experience and she really is the best little Sous Chef in Texas! This will be something we continue to do together throughout the years.
The funny thing about pasta is that no matter how many times I write a fresh pasta recipe, the next time, I make it differently. It has something to do with not weighing my ingredients, and the humidity, or just the rebellion inside me that refuses to adhere to a strict recipe since this one is SO much more about feel. Sometimes I add olive oil, and some days I just use the basic eggs and flour. A basic guideline is 1 egg for every 100 grams of AP flour. The following is the recipe that worked for me yesterday. Be sure to "salt your water, like the sea" when cooking your fresh pasta. I also add a little olive oil to the boiling water. You can make this dough by hand or in a food processor.
2 cups AP flour
3 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1-2 T good olive oil
Place the flour on your work surface and make a "well" in the middle and add your eggs. Mix them with a fork, drawing in additional flour as you mix. The dough will be shaggy. Add your olive oil. Knead by hand about ten minutes until the dough is shiny and forms a nice ball.
Alternatively, you can start the ingredients by hand then place them in a food processor and mix on the dough setting, or start everything in the food processor and pulse until a dough forms, then use the dough setting if you have one. Mix for 2-3 minutes or until the dough comes together nicely and is shiny.
Form the dough into a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before rolling out using a pasta machine or attachment for a stand mixer. Starting with a thicker setting and progressively making it thinner. Sheets can be cut into many shapes, and even filled for ravioli. You can also flavor and color some of your pasta with ingredients like spinach, beets, saffron, lemons and pepper, or squid ink. Get creative!
Cook fresh pasta in salted boiling water with a bit of olive oil for 4-6 minutes or until al dente (to the tooth). It cooks faster than boxed stuff so watch it and test it. Cooking time will vary by thickness and shape. Toss with your favorite sauce, or garlic and herbs sautéed in olive oil. Add a ladle full of pasta water to your sauce if it gets too dry. Enjoy!
*You can dry your pasta in little nests by adding flour to the cut pasta and forming nests allowing them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to dry, but you will need to store it in the fridge if you are not cooking it right away for up two days, or in the freezer for longer.
Home cook, Mom, wife, and crafty creative, Mandy is from California and has traveled the world and lived in lots of places. She has fallen in love with Dallas, TX and calls it home.