Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home made lasagna - part 3

Today's is all about home made pasta. I made pasta for the first time about 6 months ago. For many years I didn't even try because I was missing, in my mind, a very important piece of equipment, the pasta machine. I have one now, and I do love it, but take it from me, if you don't have one, try making homemade pasta anyways. Just use a rolling pin. True you might not get it as thin as store bought or machine rolled pasta but...the only real difference is that you will have to cook it longer, big deal, the taste is the same as thin pasta, honest.

In a large bowl place 400g of flour, make a well and add 3 eggs and 1/4 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the well. I find this messy and that's why I don't do it on the counter but you can if you wish.

As I stir the eggs, I break them and pick up flour. But...if the side of the well breaks or this method just is not working for you, don't worry, all you are trying to do is mix the flour, eggs. oil and water into a dough. This will be very hard dough and if you find it too dry just wet your hands and mix.

Form the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 1/2 hour. It can be placed in the fridge for quite some time. Not sure how long because I always make the dough and use it within a day. If you refrigerated your dough make sure you take it out about one hour before you plan to roll it.

Cut your dough into 6 or 7 equal parts. You will work with one piece of dough at a time so make sure the remaining dough stays covered in the plastic wrap.

Time to roll.

I was unable to take pictures of the rolling but this is what you do.

Take one of the pieces of dough and dust it with some flour, with your hands or a rolling pin flatten the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Roll the dough through your machine's widest setting. Fold the dough into itself. Left to to just over the middle and right to just over the middle. Fold and roll until the dough is nice and smooth. You fold the dough only on the the first setting. After that you just roll. If at any time the dough rips, just bunch it up int a ball, and repeat the folding and rolling. Keep reducing the setting and rolling until you reach the desired thickness. If your dough is a bit sticky, dust it with a little bit of flour.

Place your rolled dough on a kitchen towel and leave it,uncovered, for at least one hour prior to boiling it. At this point you have a few choices if you don't want to use it right away. You can hang the dough to dry completely or you can lightly (very lightly) dust the dough with flour, fold it, and freeze it for future use. I've never dried my dough but I have frozen it. I took it out of the freezer and right into a boiling pot of water, it worked fine for a small amount of pasta (two people). If you need to cook more it's best to defrost it first.

Tomorrow we put it all together.

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