Today I want to talk about bravado. Specifically, bravado in the kitchen. When it comes to cooking, I like to think my skills aren’t too shabby. I come from a father who was good at pretty much everything he tried on the first try, and a mother who is a wiz in the kitchen. So naturally, when it comes to cooking, I have a lot of confidence in my ability. That being said, today’s recipe may have knocked me down a peg.
I have always wanted to make my own pasta. I know that fresh pasta always tastes better than the boxed pasta we can all run down to the grocery store and buy. I have watched so many cooking shows about making pasta that I certainly felt like I was going to able to make it with no problems. It looks so simple, and in some ways it is! But a sense of false confidence made my first attempt a huge mess. Today, I am going to make sure you do not make the same mistakes I made!
The first step is to use a food processor (or a ninja blender) to blend the eggs, olive oil, garlic, and basil until you end up with a slightly green liquid that doesnt have any chunks in it. I’m talkin’ smoooooth.
Next create your flour mound. Put all of your flour into a mound on a smooth surface (preferably not wood since it can hold onto your dough). I used my granite countertop as you can see here. Next, create a well in the middle of your flour big enough for the egg mixture. Here is where I messed up. I did not make my well large enough. The trick is that you need it to be high enough so that when you pour in your egg mixture, it doesn’t go flowing across your countertop and into your sink and on the floor and a little into the carpet in the adjoining living room. Don’t be like me! Be sure to make your well large enough. I used the back of my measuring cup to create the well. Here I am using a smaller measuring cup, but a 1 cup measuring cup should make a large enough well. Just play around with it until you’ve got it.
Slowly pour the egg mixture into the middle of the well. Be extra careful to not allow the mixture to overflow, because I can say from experience that the liquid sure does move quickly. In the blink of an eye, you might have most of the egg mixture on your shoes. If you have more egg mixture than there is room for, save it for the next step.
Careful not to spill the liquid outside of the well, use a fork to bring some of the flour into the center well and mix it into the eggs. Continue to do this until you have a thickened egg mixture. Now is the time to add the rest of the egg mixture
Continue to incorporate the flour into the eggs until you have reached a dough like consistency. Don’t be afraid to add more flour to your smooth surface in order to keep it from sticking too much.
Add more flour to the surface, and work your dough by kneading it. If you have never kneaded dough, it is kind of like pushing the ball down using the heel of your palm. Then you fold it over back on top of itself and start the action over again. Continue to kneed your dough until it is toughened. Then form it into a cute little ball and wrap it in a kitchen towel to rest for 30 minutes. (The kitchen towel is to make sure it doesn’t dry out in that 30 minute resting period.)
After your dough has had a little time to rest, cut it into fourths and work one fourth at a time. Put the other pieces under the cloth again to keep them from drying out. Sprinkle more flour and begin to roll out the dough into a thin sheet.
Roll the dough so thin that you can kinda see your hand through the dough. If your dough is too thick, your pasta will be strangely thick. Add flour as necessary to avoid your dough sticking to the rolling pin or the counter.
Once your dough is a nice thickness and it has been sprinkled with flour, fold the dough as if you are folding a letter. The flour is important here to make sure the dough does not stick to itself.
Slice the dough into strips that are anywhere from 1/4 of an inch to 1/2 an inch, depending on how wide you want your noodles to be. If you aren’t super consistent with your sizes, that’s ok. It just adds character to your noodles!
Unfold the noodles and toss with, yep you guessed it, more flour! You can swirl the pasta into individual portion sizes and freeze them for later. You can also boil the pasta right away if you would like! Fresh pasta takes much less time to cook than box pasta. Boil until al dente and serve with your favorite sauce. I suggest a homemade sauce and not a bottled sauce. The reason I say that is because you just spent so much time making a fresh pasta and you don’t want to ruin it with a less than awesome factory made sauce!
Fresh Garlic Basil Pasta
Everyone loves pasta, and this recipe for fresh pasta will be sure to impress.
- 3 eggs
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- extra flour for handling dough
- Blend eggs, basil, and garlic in a food processor until mixture is smooth and has a green tint.
- Pour flour onto smooth surface and create a well using the back of your measuring cup.
- Pour egg mixture into the well. Using a fork, incorporate some of the flour into the egg, until all of the egg and flour is combined to create a dough.
- Roll dough into a ball, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or your flat surface.
- Place dough ball under kitchen towel and allow dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Cut dough ball into four even pieces and work with one section at a time. Store other sections under kitchen towel.
- Sprinkle flour on surface and then use rolling pin to roll out the dough. You should be able to see your hands through the dough. Sprinkle with more flour. Fold dough like a letter.
- Cut dough into 1/2 inch thick strips. Unfold strips to reveal long noodles.
- Toss noodles with some flour. Do this with each section of the dough. Section noodles into serving sizes and freeze or cook immediately. Noodles cook in boiling water for 3-6 minutes until al dente. Serve with favorite pasta sauce.