Second only to sourdough in 2020, homemade pasta has emerged as the dish we’re choosing to conquer in our kitchens. We’ve all watched primetime chefs and budding amateur cooks make it look so simple – even soothing. And better still, the ingredients are everyday pantry staples. Cheap, cheerful and not too much of a challenge even for those whose talents lie largely outside the kitchen!
Minimax’s La Cucina 150mm Pasta Machine makes rolling silky smooth pasta a breeze. Sturdy and straightforward to use, it’s undoubtedly the must have kitchen tool of 2020.
2 ½ cups plainflour
½ teaspoon salt
4 eggs (room temperature)
Extra plain flour for dusting
Let’s get started
Combine the dry ingredients and sift onto a clean, dry work surface
Mould the flour into a mound, making a well in the centre
Crack the eggs into the well and lightly whisk using a fork.
Gradually blend the flour into the egg mixture, by drawing it to the middle of the mound, using your fingers. Take care not to break the walls of the mound so the egg does not escape.
Once a dough has formed, check that it is the desired consistency by simply pressing your finger inti the centre of the dough. A bit like using a skewer for checking a cake is cooked, if your finger comes out clean and is not sticky, you’ve nailed the dough. If not, knead in a little more flour and then repeat the test.
Lightly flour your work surface and firmly knead the dough with the heel of your hand. Push down into the dough and then away from you. Using your fingertips, then fold the dough back onto itself, turn the dough 180 degrees and repeat. Continue this method for approximately 7 minutes or until the dough feels smooth and elastic.
It is the kneading process that delivers the firm yet tender texture of the pasta as it serves to develop the gluten in the flour.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap or alternatively, a damp tea towel to prevent the dough becoming dry. Rest the dough for at least 10 minutes to ensure it is easier to roll out and feed through the pasta machine.
Ready to Roll
Prepare your pasta machine by setting it at its widest setting and dusting the rollers with flour. Flatten your dough using the palm of your hand and shape into a rectangle. Roll the flattened dough portion through the rollers. Dust again and repeat 6 times until smooth.
Adjust the width between the rollers by 1 and repeat the same method as above until the pasta is 1 – 1.5mm thick. The desired thickness will be influenced by the dish you have in mind. Repeat the pasta rolling process with the 3 remaining bundles of dough.
Allow the finished pasta sheets to dry enough to ensure that the pasta will not stick together but not so long that it begins to crack. The key is that would want your pasta to be pliable. 10 – 15 minutes rest is optimal. Trim to form lasagne sheets or use a sharp knife or pasta bike to cut fettucine. Alternatively, round or square cutters can be used to cut out ravioli or tortellini shells, We might include Helen’s grandfather’s passata recipe here too.