We were all kneading our pasta dough. One after another, people began getting ready to make whatever type of pasta we were making. I was frustrated. My dough still wasn’t ready. Loretta Paganini, of the eponymous cooking school in Chesterland, Ohio, saw my frustration. She said she was told she should be a pastry chef, as her hands were always cold. Cold is good for pastry, not as good for pasta.
Although it takes a bit of time, pasta isn’t difficult to make. Filled shapes take more time than those just cut, such as linguine. Although little Italian grandmothers may roll the dough out with a rolling pin, it’s much easier to use a pasta machine. And by the way, noodles are a type of pasta, not pasta itself. Here’s the recipe I’ve been using since I learned to make ravioli, along with some photos from my ravioli-making day and the link to Loretta’s Italian grandmother’s walnut sauce.
2 ¼ c. flour
3 large eggs
1 t. salt
Mound flour on countertop. Make a well and add salt. Carefully break in eggs. Gently mix salt and eggs together with a fork. Slowly incorporate in the flour until you get a paste. Use your fingers to continue incorporating flour until the dough has absorbed as much as it can without becoming stiff and dry. Keep getting rid of hard, crusty bit from hands/table/flour. Knead dough for about 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic, adding in more flour if it becomes sticky. Let rest for 20 minutes.
Divide into four pieces, working with one at a time while keeping the others covered with a dish towel. Take a piece of dough and lightly dust with flour. Dust the rollers of the pasta machine with flour. Start with the rollers on the widest setting. Put the dough through the machine, then dust with flour and fold into thirds. Do this three or four times. Then go to the next smaller setting. Roll through twice on each setting, making sure to flour rollers so dough doesn’t stick. You may need to stop at the second to last setting if dough is already quite thin.
At this point, you can cut the pasta into ribbons, lightly flour and place on a lightly floured surface. Let dry about 20-30 minutes, then store somewhere covered. Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook.
To dry, you can drape long pasta over a drying rack, but smaller shapes of filled pasta has to sit. If it sits with nothing under it, it will stick and the filling will fall out when the bottom sticks to the pan. Sprinkle some cornmeal on the pan. I tried using flour until this year, but cornmeal is has some thickness, so it allows for non-stick drying. I always freeze my ravioli, as I don’t use them immediately. It only takes a few more minute to cook from frozen.
That day, Loretta also share the walnut-cream sauce that her grandmother in Italy made. It goes well on many shapes of pasta other than just ravioli and is a cinch to make. The link to the post containing that recipe is here and I know you won’t regret trying it. It’s gotten nothing but rave reviews.
Any questions on making pasta? I’ll try to answer any of them. Homemade pasta is worth the time it takes to make it! Give it a try.
I’ll be traveling today, visiting a very close friend, her husband, and their relatively new baby, so pardon the lateness of my responses to your comments. Happy Friday!