Fresh pasta. My daughter loves making fresh pasta. From the mixing, to the kneading, rolling and shaping. It’s also messy, which is a bonus.
I learnt how make it on a workshop by La Cucina Caldesi, which I really enjoyed and would strongly recommend to anyone who has never made pasta. Instructions below. It’s a bit wordy, but works a treat every time.
How to make fresh pasta
Fresh pasta should be made with 00 flour. This is the finest grade, according to Italian measurements, of durum wheat flour, so fine it feels and looks like talcum powder. Do buy an Italian flour, it will be superior any other kind. You can find it at Italian stores and online. The eggs should be from free range corn-fed chickens to ensure a yellow colour and flavour.
Cheap eggs and poor quality flour give anaemic and unappetising results. Eggs should be large (approx. 63–73 g/ 2–21/2 oz). We keep our own chickens and sometimes their eggs can be small, so a splash of water makes up the difference in size. Some people add a little salt for flavour, some add water for elasticity or economy and some add olive oil to stop the pasta drying quickly. However, we use only eggs and flour.
Makes enough long pasta for 4 (as a main, 6 as a starter)
200 g (7 oz/1⅔ cups) ‘00’ flour, plus a little extra if necessary
2 large free range eggs
The standard recipe for fresh pasta calls for 1 large egg to every 100 g of ‘00’ flour.
For dusting use coarse semolina as it acts like tiny ball bearings which don’t stick to the pasta.
Pour the flour into a mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
Crack the eggs into the well. Using a table knife, gradually combine the flour into the eggs starting with the flour around the eggs and working your way out. Keep mixing the egg and flour until they form clumps of dough.
Use the fingertips of one hand to incorporate any remaining flour bringing everything together until you have a ball of dough.
Try to squash all the crumbs of dough into the ball, but discard any that don’t make it. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a floured work surface. Knead the dough by flattening and folding it for around 5–7 minutes. Add a little more flour if it is sticky but only enough to stop it sticking to the palm of your hand. The dough should form a soft but firm ball that bounces back to the touch when prodded. If the dough becomes really dry and has many cracks in the surface wrap it in clingfilm (plastic wrap) and leave it for around 30 minutes. It will become soft and the lumps of flour will be absorbed into the egg. Failing that blitz in in a food processor with a drop of water to rescue it.
Leave the pasta to rest covered in cling film for 20 minutes at room temperature or for up to a day in the fridge. This allows the dough to relax and makes it easier to roll out through a pasta machine or by hand.