If there was one food that I would have to specialize on for the rest of my career, it would be pasta. I have so much fun making it every time, and I am surprised that it took me this long to make an Instructable about it. It is a more difficult process and is more of an art form than an actual follow along recipe. It takes a bit of practice to get it perfect, but it tastes great even if it isn't. But when you do get that perfect ratio of balanced ingredients and hard work, the result is unforgettable. In order to make it a little easier, I use a technique that i learned at the very first pasta class I ever took. It involves using a food processor to make the dough, rather than using the "mountain" technique. It saves a bit of time, and a lot of mess. I hope you have as much fun making it as I do.
Step 1: Ingredients
>2 cups Semolina Flour
>3 large eggs
>1 tablespoon olive oil
>Room temperature water (in a cup where it can be easily spooned out)
>A pinch of salt
>A pasta maker- You can buy these from kitchen aid, which attach to a mixer, william sonoma, which are similar to mine, or on an internet retailer. I got my pasta maker on Amazon.com and it is Marcato brand. It is actually made in Italy, and will pretty much last FOREVER, but DON'T CLEAN IT WITH WATER. Just use a paper towel or cloth to wipe it down after use. Make sure to get the pasta cutter attachment and the crank if they are not included.
>A food processor- You can get these pretty much anywhere food equipment is sold. Make sure to have the blade attachment.
Step 2: Combining Ingredients
In a medium to large bowl, add the two cups of flour, the three eggs, and then the pinch of salt and olive oil.
Then assemble the food processor and add the blade attachment.
Lastly dump the bowl full of your ingredients into the food processor, but DON'T MIX THEM.
Step 3: Processing the Dough
Put the top on the food processor and plug it in. On most food processors there are two options for spinning the blade: on, and off-pulse. I like to use the pulse option because it allows me to precisely stop processing the dough when it is ready.
To get a solid dough the best way is to press the pulse option over and over for a second or two until the ingredients are uniform throughout, and starting to clump together. When it is done, the dough should start to spin around the food processor as the blade spins in one large lump. Take the dough out of the processor and clump it further into a very thick pancake shape. Cover it in plastic wrap and then place it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the dough to rest, and become much more pliable and able to be shaped and cut.
Step 4: Kneading and Water
Before taking the pasta out of the refrigerator prepare a large space in your kitchen. Place a large cutting board on it, and place the pasta maker on it. My pasta maker clamps to the surface it is on, so I clamp it to the edge of my table and the cutting board.
After the dough has rested in the refrigerator for an hour, take it out and remove the plastic wrap. Place the dough on the cutting board that has been covered lightly with regular flour (not semolina) Then using a chef's knife cut the thick pancake into quarters. The dough should be much more pliable and easy to work with than before it was placed in the refrigerator. The dough will probably be a bit dry, but if not, ignore this step. Using the glass of room temperature water, wet your hands and begin to knead one of the quarters. Less water is more. It takes almost no water to improve the consistency of dough. After adding some water, knead each section of the dough for no more than thirty seconds to one minute. Putting it in the pasta machine will do the rest.
Step 5: Making Lasagna Part 1
The first step to making any pasta is usually making it into a lasagna, or flat sheet of dough. In this recipe, making it into a slightly flatter shape is an important part of the kneading process. Before using your pasta maker at all you should make every effort to make the quarter of pasta as flat as possible to ease the difficulty of running it through the rollers on the pasta maker.
Once the dough is flat enough that you can get it into the pasta maker, adjust your pasta maker to the lowest setting. In my pasta maker this is "1" or "0". Turn the crank continuously while lowering the dough into the rollers. There will be some difficulty getting the dough through the machine the first couple times. This is normal. As you do it more and more it will get easier. Each time you completely get the dough through the machine, fold it in half and run it through again. It can be run through either fold first, or side first. Continue doing this until the dough is easy to run through the machine.
Step 6: Making Lasagna Part 2
In order to make any flat pasta you have to significantly bring down the thickness of it. Right now after just having gone through the "0" or "1" setting the dough is still extremely thick. To make fettucini or angel hair pasta, the two settings on my pasta maker, we have to get to the "6" setting!
After the pasta is done with the first settings, take the sheet and run it through the second 1 or 2 times. Repeat this for the third setting, but after this the sheet has probably become a bit long. Using your knife cut it in half. Then run each half through each setting once or twice until you get to the sixth setting. By this time the lasagna will be quite long and it will be a little difficult to get it through the machine, but do your best. After the sheet has gone through the sixth setting it is done with this step.
Repeat these steps for the other three quarters of the dough.
You can add flour to a cookie sheet and stack the lasagna on top of one another to save space and dishes.
Step 7: Cutting the Pasta
The last step in the preparation of the pasta is cutting it into the shape you want. In this case I am making fettucini, but my pasta maker also has an angel hair setting, and other pasta makers have others still. The process is still the same. Simply take a sheet of lasagna and thick side first run it through the cut setting of your pasta maker. Grab the pasta out of the other side loosely as to not smoosh it together. The crank must be inserted into the cutting attachment for this to work.
You should get beautiful pasta coming out of the other side of the attachment.
If you want to store the pasta for a little while, put a small amount of flour over the pasta and the cookie sheet you store it on.
Step 8: Cooking
Put a large pot of water up to a rolling boil and add salt to the water.
Drop the pasta into the water as quickly as possible so that the pasta is cooked uniformly.
The pasta only takes about 1 minute to be al dente because it is not dried like pasta you buy at the grocery store. Dried pasta that you are used to eating takes so long to cook because it is completely dehydrated. The actual cooking of the pasta takes almost no time at all. If you left your pasta out a little longer then it may take closer to a minute and a half to 2 minutes.
At this point you can eat the pasta in whatever way you want. In this case i put a few tablespoons of butter in the already hot saucepan that I cooked the pasta in, melted it, added salt, and then threw the pasta in to get a good even mixture of butter and pasta. Then i served it up for a delicious dinner.