Fresh Egg Pasta – yeah, that’s right! I’m making pasta!

19 Sep

Ask any cook what it is that draws them to cooking and you’ll probably get responses as varied as the foods that they make. For me, the blood (or, in my case, the burns), sweat and tears are worth it for the sense of achievement that you get from creating a meal completely from scratch. Cooking really is its own form of art in the way that you are creating something from seemingly little. Your ingredients are the medium you use to construct your masterpiece and, with a little work, you can make something that will provide sustenance to you and your loved ones. For example, flour, water and yeast become a loaf of crunchy, golden bread. Egg whites and sugar can be whipped into clouds of meringue. Flour and egg, plus some quality time in the kitchen, easily becomes ribbons of pasta. And this is what I spent my Sunday night doing…making fresh, chewy ribbons of pasta for the first time.

Contrary to my initial fears, pasta making is actually quite simple so long as you are willing to invest the time to see your work come to fruition. Making the dough is as easy as mixing one egg to 100 grams of flour for each person. To mix it, you can either use a food processor to whiz it all together, or alternatively, crack the eggs into a flour well and combine it all together. Once your dough is firm enough to make a ball, knead that bad boy (and knead some more!) until it becomes smooth and not sticky.

At this point, Jamie Oliver recommends chilling the dough in the fridge, wrapped up tight in a blanket of Cling wrap, before you start guiding it through the pasta maker (or rolling it with a rolling pin, if you are sans pasta maker). You will find that the easiest way to control the pasta is by cutting it into smaller, easier-to-use-pieces. Feed the pieces into the pasta maker, starting on the widest setting and repeatedly send it through, about 4 to 5 times, until it has thinned out enough to feed it through to the next setting. Continue to do this until you make your way through all of the settings and you have completed the thinnest setting. You should now hold in your hands a silky sheet of pasta that is ready for you to craft into whatever pasta style you crave. I opted for pappardelle – straightforward and simple for a first-timer.

Because I wanted to truly taste the fruits of my labour (the pasta), I served it with uncomplicated companions; blanched asparagus, chanterelles dressed in garlic butter, all topped with flakes of freshly grated grana padano parmigiano and reggiano parmigiano.

The cook in me, who had hours to spare, found making my own pasta to be extremely rewarding. Pasta starts from such humble beginnings but winds up being the tasty base that can work with many different flavours to create a hearty meal. The busy person in me, however, the person who just wants to eat, believes that convenient dried pasta doesn’t need to watch its back anytime soon. Creating your own pasta is time consuming and at times, frustrating. This just may not be worth it to some people and justifiably so, but for others, it is their art.

For a more detailed recipe on how to create your own egg pasta, Jamie Oliver’s recipe walks you through every step of the process: www.jamieoliver.com

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2 Responses to “Fresh Egg Pasta – yeah, that’s right! I’m making pasta!”

  1. VancityAllie September 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Fresh pasta is amazing, it’s my favourite thing in the whole world. I’m so glad you got a chance to use the pasta maker! Fresh pasta really is so much better.

    By the way, I love this post. You did a fantastic job of describing your food and how you feel about it 🙂

    Have you tried using OO flour? It makes all the difference in the world 🙂

    1 1/2 lbs Italian ’00′ pasta flour (can be found at Gourmet Warehouse or specialty foods stores)
    4 eggs
    4 egg yolks
    1 tsp salt
    1 oz extra virgin olive oil

    • greedyguts September 21, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback, Allie. For my first two attempts, I just used regular unrefined flour but Jamie Oliver mentioned how good 00 flour is so I’ll keep an eye out for it before I attempt my next batch. Have you been able to get it anywhere closer to home than the Gourmet Warehouse? It’s a bit of trek for me to get there.

      I made fettucine on Sunday night and this lot turned out much better. I used the fettucine cutter that came with it so it looked really good (almost professiona)! And we both thought it tasted better this time. I’ll definitely give the recipe you sent me a try. 🙂

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