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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Do it Yourself

Among the many things I have never attempted is making homemade pasta.  I just never really felt a need to, I guess.  I mean, you can buy any shape you want, conveniently packaged ready to be dropped into boiling water.  Why both with all the kneading and rolling?

But, I do love a challenge.  So, this morning when I saw a recipe in the New York Times for homemade pasta, I thought "what the hell".

I learned something valuable as I attempted to make homemade pasta.  Buying a pasta rolling machine is essential if I'm ever going to do this again.  I wouldn't have bothered working out this morning had I know that I would be rolling out pasta.  Using a rolling pin to roll the dough to "not quite paper thin" requires more upper body strength than I currently possess.

Nonetheless, despite the absence of one of those nifty pasta rolling machines, my first effort was fairly impressive.  The pasta looked real, and that's half the battle, don't you think?

It also tasted pretty good, if I do say so myself.  The sauce which had creme fraiche and heavy cream as key ingredients didn't hurt either.

I plan to try making pasta again, but not until I find my way over to Sur la Table.  My arms can't take all that rolling.

Recipe:  Basic Dough for Fresh Egg Noodles
(David Tanis, New York Times, March 6, 2013)


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks, beaten
Semolina or rice flour, for dusting


Put flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and yolks, and mix with hands or wooden spoon for a minute or so, until dough comes together. (Alternatively, use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.) If dough seems dry or crumbly, add 1 or 2 tablespoons cold water, but only enough to keep the dough together.

Turn dough out onto a board and knead to form a ball. Flatten dough ball to a 1-inch-thick disk, wrap in plastic, and let rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour (several hours is fine).

Divide dough into 4 pieces. Knead each piece until smooth. Roll with a rolling pin or pasta machine as thinly as possible (but not quite paper-thin). Cut each sheet in half, making 8 smaller sheets. Dust dough sheets lightly with semolina to keep them from sticking. Stack 2 or 3 sheets, roll loosely, then cut into 1/2-inch-wide noodles or other desired shape. Continue until all dough is used. Gently fluff noodles and spread on a semolina-dusted baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, until ready to cook.

Serves 4

Recipe:  Fresh Pasta With Prosciutto and Peas
(David Tanis, New York Times, March 6, 2013)


1 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups shelled peas, or snow peas
Fresh egg noodles (see recipe)
4 slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1 tablespoon finely cut chives
Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Put crème fraîche, cream and butter in a wide, deep skillet over medium heat. Turn off heat as soon as mixture is hot, and stir to incorporate. Season with salt and pepper and a little nutmeg.

Plunge peas in boiling water and let cook for 1 minute. Remove with a mesh spider or slotted spoon and add to cream mixture.

Drop noodles in boiling water and cook until they rise to the surface, about 1 minute. Taste a noodle to see if it is sufficiently cooked. It should be firm-tender, just past al dente.

Drain pasta and add to skillet. Sprinkle with prosciutto and chives, then toss gently to coat with sauce. Divide among warmed bowls and serve immediately. Pass grated Parmesan at table.


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  2. It was a lot of work to make this pasta by hand but it certainly looks like it was worth all the effort.