In The Kitchen | Alfresco Pasta
I'm pretty certain that England has now transformed into a permanent hot country. I love the heat, but I find it so hard to do anything productive. Hence why I have had 3 weeks without any new posts. Honestly, I was lacking in inspiration and the last thing I wanted to do was chuck some makeup on, do my hair and get dressed (because I've been living in a bikini most of the time). But finally - I have something that I finally got dressed for! When I was younger I was really into making pasta, a simple recipe that I learnt in food tech class in high school, since then I loved experimenting and creating unique pasta flavours. I think people think that pasta is tricky to make, but I'm here to show you - it's not.
Fresh Pasta Dough
For the purpose of this blog, I only made a small amount of pasta. If you are serving 4 people you will use 400g of flour & 4 eggs etc.
What you'll need:
- 100g of plain flour or Italian '00' flour
- 1 Large egg.
- Pinch of Salt
To make the pasta in pure Italian spirit, you want to use a worktop or a hard surface to make the dough. I poured the flour onto a wooden chopping board and made a small well with my fist in the middle.
Crack the egg into the well, and slowly start to beat it with a fork. As you do this, the flour starts to add itself to the mixture. Don't worry if it looks a little lumpy, you will knead it out.
Add a pinch of salt and any other flavours you like. I chopped up some of my homegrown lemonade basil and added it to the dough.
Once all the egg is mixed in with the flour you will notice that it is quite sticky and eventually forms a dough. Keep kneading the dough quickly and it should become quite hard and stiff to move. If you find a bit sticky, just add a touch of flour. If it's too dry then add a drop of water. Form into a ball shape and wrap in cling film or a damp tea towel and place in the fridge or a cool place for at least 30 minutes. This gives it time to rest. Once it's rested take it out and prepare for the rolling!
To make life a bit easier, it is best to have a pasta machine. They're pretty cheap and you can pick one up from Amazon for just £17.99. My machine comes with 3 sections, a flat roller, a thin spaghetti roller and a linguini roller. If you did this by hand, it might take you a few hours to cut all the strands! If you don't have one but still want to make pasta, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it's 2-3cm thick and cut squares to make ravioli.
For this recipe, I decided to make spaghetti because it's one of my favourites! First, I flattened the dough and fed it through the flat roller. Starting off on a wide setting. Do this a few times until it becomes all the same thickness. Then I knocked down the setting to make it thinner. Do this until you reach your desired thickness.
Start to thread the dough through the spaghetti roller and you will see wonderful strands of pasta form. I always find this but the most exciting because it actually looks like something you would buy in store. If some strands stick together just gently pull them apart and once all the dough has been transformed, I lightly dusted them in some flour.
Cooking fresh pasta, literally takes a few minutes. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add a little salt and drop the pasta in. The water will go cloudy from the flour.. After a couple of minutes, test the pasta and when it's done, rinse in a colander under some hot water. At this point you can add whatever you like. To really enjoy my pasta, I added a tablespoon of truffle cream, ground pepper and a drop of olive oil.
And voila! Fresh alfresco pasta in just a few simple steps. I absolutely love cooking for my friends and family and when the weather is good, there is nothing better than eating outside enjoying the last few hours of sun.
I hope you enjoyed this recipie, let me know if there is anything else you would like to see me make!