Now, when I talk about using pasta in a recipe – this is the stuff I’m talking about. I am certainly not talking about that hideous anaemic dry stuff that they fob off in the supermarkets these days. Real pasta should be yellow, the very colour of the yolks that your backyard hens have provided. It should be thick and tasty and of a texture that cannot be described to anyone that is used to submitting themselves to an inferior product.
Now, I can hear you all say – ‘Well, pasta is pasta. It’s only the handle for the sauce.’ And this is the point at which I scream – really loudly. Can you hear me yet? I dare you all to go out and try this recipe – you’ll never go back to the shop bought stuff once you have eaten the genuine article.
And that’s a guarantee!
So here is the recipe:
1. Wander out to the chicken coop and collect some eggs – one for each adult. If there are children, you will need 1/2 an egg per child (yes, my chooks don’t lay in halves either ;-p )
2. Now get out your kitchen scales and for each large egg, add 125 grams of flour. You can use any type of flour you like, but if you are using Farina flour, add up to an extra 25 grams per egg. If you have bantam eggs, then you will need to start with 100 grams (sometimes even less) of flour and work your way from there.
3. Add the eggs first and then the flour to a food processor and blend until combined. You can do this the old fashioned way – dump the flour onto a table and add the eggs and mix until a stiff dough has formed and all the ingredients are combined, but a food processor is a hell of a lot easier! The correct consistency should look like large breadcrumbs, but if it forms into a solid dough, then there is too much moisture and more flour will need to be added. Oh, and don’t worry if you think the mixture is too stiff – it isn’t.
4. Now put the water on the stove in a large pot. Crank up the heat. There is no need to add any oil or salt to the water. Salt (and trust me on this one) will only toughen your pasta.
5. Now pull out your pasta machine. I paid $40 for mine and it works just as well as the really expensive ones, but then a friend of mine paid $30 for a dud. Unfortunately it all comes down to trial and error . Now separate the dough into fist sized lumps. Dip each lump into some flour and roll it through the machine a couple of times on the widest setting. Now start decreasing the settings with each roll until the desired thickness is reached. This thickness will be about half the desired thickness of the cooked pasta.
6. If you are making lasagna, then your job is done. If you are making fettuccine, then you will need to run each sheet through the large cutting attachment (which will have come with the pasta machine). If you are making noodles (ie/. for Asian dishes), then you need to run it through the small cutting attachment. Yep, that’s right – there is no difference at all between pasta and noodles.
7. After each sheet has been cut, dump it straight away into the boiling pot of water to avoid any sticking.
8. Now it’s just a matter of letting it cook to the way you like it.