Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Homemade Pasta

A couple of years ago I bought this nice little pasta maker.
It's easy to use if your dough is good.  If your dough is bad it will stick, and stretch, and tear, and not get cut all the way through.  Until a few weeks ago this had been my regular experience.

A few weeks ago I finished reading Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany (Vintage) by Bill Buford, which is a fantastic book if you can get through the rather slow middle section.  Buford talks about working in Mario Batali's kitchen, going to Italy to learn to make pasta, and going back to Italy to learn to be a butcher from that great Tuscan Dario Ceccini

Near the end he talks about the right ratio for pasta - it has to do with the balance between eggs and flour.  According to him, if you have good eggs water shouldn't even be necessary.  I ended up using a little water, but the result was fantastic anyways.  For the first time my dough rolled out smoothly - no sticking, no ripping.  It cut perfectly into thin strips, which I made into Fettuccine with prosciutto and cherry tomatoes and basil (from the garden).
If you've never made pasta from scratch, I recommend going right out, getting yourself some flour and eggs, and throwing some together.  You don't really even need a pasta machine - you can just roll it out with a rolling pin and cut it by hand.  The results will amaze you!

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