Like many people, I was long intimidated by the idea of making my own pasta. I had visions of challenging, time consuming work with mixed results, which is strange since I’m not one to shy away from a food challenge. I think perhaps at the heart of my uncertainty was the feeling that shop bought pasta was perfectly fine and delicious and what good could come from making your own anyway?
I was wrong. So very wrong. My sister won an Italian cooking course at Flavours of the Valley in the Kangaroo Valley, which she wrote about here. She became quite the pasta enthusiast and I, in turn, became fascinated and envious. An idea was born. She would come to Canberra and teach Sean and I.
This is how naive I was. In preparation for our afternoon of pasta making, I bought a FIVE KILO bag of flour. Now, I do usually buy quite large bags of flour, sometimes 3kg bags, but I had visions of pasta using way more flour than I had in the house, so I bought up big.
Do you know how much flour you need to make enough for four people in one meal? One and a half cups. That’s all. Not kilos. I truly knew nothing! What I learned was that making pasta is fun. And not that messy. And once you know what you’re doing, not that time consuming. A couple of hours is all it takes and much of that time you’re just waiting for stuff to happen so you can put your feet up until the next stage.
Here is Adele looking every bit the teacher.
And here, laid out with photos is a rough guide to making pasta at home. Start with 1.5 cups of plain flour (00 if you can get it, or good strong bakers flour; Adele’s teacher recommended White Wings).
Sift it onto a wooden board and make a well in the centre. Add two room temperature eggs. I have chickens so was able to make it with lovely, homegrown eggs.
Next take a fork and whisk the eggs, gradually working in more and more flour. You need to keep going until it’s less eggy and more of a custard consistency.
Combine the egg and flour fully after that, using a stainless steel pastry cutter, or a butter knife or similar, cutting the flour and egg together.
When it’s combined, knead (rather as if you’re making bread, pressing down and folding the dough over on itself), for around 6 minutes.
When it’s got a nice, smooth texture, fold it into a ball and place under a bowl for half an hour or more.
Next comes the really fun part! Making the pasta. Using your pasta maker (I was given a second hand one a while ago) take smaller pieces of the dough (I cut it into quarters) and roll each out with a little flour, feeding through the pasta maker according to its instructions, gradually working it more and more thinly.
I thought this bit was magical. I couldn’t believe how long and thin each sheet became! It was really that simple! I found myself wondering what had taken me so long to learn this.
We hung it to dry over my clothes horse for half an hour or so – waiting until each piece lost that ‘tacky’ feeling it had.
Then it was time to make fettucinne.
We made plenty for five-six people that night and it was so much more wonderful than I imagined. Homemade pasta is light and silky. It cooks in under 3mins and was utterly delicious. Since then we’ve made it twice – we are complete converts and can’t wait to make flavoured pasta.
That night I served it with a roasted capsicum and chorizo sauce. It was wonderful.
This weekend I served it with a rich tomato, meatball and basil sauce. Delicious.
Thanks so much Delly for teaching us – what a wonderful thing it is!