Making fresh pasta (pasta fresca in Italian) can seem a bit daunting to the average Joe, although I think most people would be pleasantly surprised at how simple it can be. Dad has made his own pasta a few times before, some with better results than others; it usually comes down to an issue of texture and thickness. We don’t have the help of any sort of pasta maker, or attachment in the Elliott kitchen, so the rolling out of the dough is done old school with the use of a rolling pin and our hands, hence the varying thicknesses comment. This particular time, Dad, with the help of both me and my sister, tackled a variation of Chef Michael Tusk’s recipe for fresh pasta, found in Fine Cooking Magazine.
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp 00 flour; more as needed (We went to an Italian shop in Toronto to find the 00 flour, but regular flour can be substituted)
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp semola rimacinata (fine flour) (We found ours at Bulk Barn- and it truly makes a difference, I wouldn’t substitute this for regular flour unless you have to)
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Place the flours in a mound on a countertop (try to avoid stainless steel or marble surfaces as these tend to be cold and can reduce the elasticity of the dough) and mix to combine them. Make a deep, wide well in the flour, making sure there is flour on the bottom so the eggs are not directly on the surface. Add the egg yolks, whole egg, oil, and salt.
Beat the wet ingredients with a fork until combined, pushing around the edges with your other hand to make sure no egg runs out, and pulling flour from the sides of the mound into the eggs. When you have pulled in enough flour to form a ball too stiff to beat with the fork, start kneading the dough with the palm of your hand, incorporating as much flour as you can.
You should now have a big ball of dough in a single mass. If necessary, use a bench scraper to move the dough and to scrape any dried bits to the side. Sprinkle the clean surface with flour, place the dough on top, and knead by pushing it down and away from you, stretching it out. Fold the dough in half and continue pushing it down and away. Keep repeating this action until the dough no longer feels sticky and has a smooth surface. This should take about 15 minutes. Add more flour if the dough continues to feel sticky.
When the dough is smooth wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days. Let it warm up a little before rolling, if necessary.
We loved the final product, the pasta had a great taste, colour, texture, and was fairly malleable and easy to roll out. We actually paired this pasta with (previously blogged about) Brett’s Bistro’s Braised Short Rib but you could whip up any of your favourite sauces or just top with a simple butter and parmesan mixture to really let the flavour of the pasta through. Get rollin’ friends!