If you want to be truly self sufficient, then you should make your own pasta. Pasta is easy to make, tastes delicious when eaten fresh (much better than dried, tinned and even shop-bought fresh pasta), and is made with three simple ingredients: eggs, water and flour.
Making your own pasta is time consuming, but the results are well worth it. This recipe is a fool-proof how to guide for making tagliatelle. Tagliatelle is a delicious variety of pasta, similar to spaghetti, only flat. You can serve it with a rich home made tomato sauce, or why not whip up a basil and pine nut pesto to mix it in with? Then add strips of chicken, some roasted cherry tomatoes and a generous slosh of balsamic vinegar.
How to Make Your Pasta
You will need:
- 300g organic white flour
- 3 medium free range eggs
- A large saucepan
- A large baking bowl
- A pasta making machine
- A rack to dry the pasta on (such as an old clothes horse)
- Tagliatelle cutters
In the bowl, mix the flour and eggs with a fork until it becomes a hard, gritty mixture. Then, using your hands, blend the mixture into a smooth dough. If the dough appears to be dry, add a little water, a bit at a time. If it is wet and sticky, add more flour.
Empty the dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and knead it for ten-fifteen minutes, until it has formed a smooth, pliable texture. The longer you knead your dough, the tastier the pasta will be. Then, cut off a lump of pasta and run it through your pasta maker on its most open setting. Then lightly flour the piece of dough, fold it and run it through the pasta maker again. You will need to repeat this process, with the same piece of dough, about ten times.
Then close the main rollers a notch, and pass the flat dough through them. Close the main rollers a step further and pass the dough through again. Keep doing this until the pasta maker is on its closest setting.
Once you have finished rolling the same piece of dough through the pasta maker, lightly dust it with flour and hang it on your rack. Open the rollers to their maximum setting and repeat the process with the rest of the dough.
After all of your dough has been hung up, you will need to pass it through your tagliatelle cutters. You may need to enlist some help at this stage of the pasta making process. Flour each piece of dough before you do this. Then add more flour and hang the tagliatelle back on the rack to dry.
Cooking Your Pasta
Cooking fresh pasta is much easier than cooking dried pasta. Simply bring a pan of salted water to boil, add 1 tbsp of olive oil, and add the pasta. Cook it for two minutes only. Drain it immediately after it has cooked and toss it with olive oil.
Making your own pasta is fun and well worth the effort. However it takes a long time to perfect, so avoid pasta making on busy days.