Make Your Own Pasta

13-06-24 fresh homemade pasta 535x535

If you've never had fresh, homemade pasta, you haven't lived. The commercial dryers used to dehydrate the noodles found in your grocery store actually change the gluten structure of the noodle, creating an end product that's tougher, chewier, and less flavorful than homemade pasta. Just because your weekday schedule is tight doesn't mean you can't enjoy fresh, flavorful homemade noodles. Homemade noodles are a perfect make ahead meal, and when stored properly, can be kept for over a month. Also, you don't need to buy any special pasta makers or equipment, but you do need a rolling pin and a sharp knife.

The basic noodle recipe:
This noodle recipe is a versatile pasta that can be used in a wide variety of dishes; but once you get comfortable with the method, don't be afraid to add your own twist. The portion created by this recipe will feed a family of 5 - so if you're making enough to store, adjust your amounts as needed.

Start by measuring 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl. Add two lightly beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon of neutral oil (like canola), and 1/3 of a cup of water. Stir with a spoon until the dough comes together, then turn out onto a lightly floured board.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until it becomes firm and elastic. Cover with a moist tea towel, and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

Once the dough is rested, roll out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Slice into strips with a sharp knife or experiment with your own shapes, such as smaller pieces to add to a soup or wide sheets for lasagna. These noodles can be cooked immediately, but store beautifully for a quick make ahead weeknight meal.

To store your noodles, you have two options: drying and freezing.

In order to dry your noodles, simply apply a light dusting of flour to a sheet pan, and lay the individual noodles in rows. Alternately, lay a wooden spoon over two tall canisters, and drape each noodle over the handle. Allow the noodles to dry thoroughly, and store in an airtight container.

Although drying is efficient and convenient, your noodles will inevitably suffer some of the same problems as store-bought noodles when it comes to taste. For this reason, I much prefer storing your frozen noodles in the freezer.

To freeze your noodles, simply divide the noodles into meal-sized portions, gather them together, and freeze in individual freezer bags. They'll keep this way for over a month.

To use, simply pop your frozen noodles directly into a pot of boiling water and cook as normal, adding about 1 minute to your overall cook time.

Once you're comfortable making pasta, you may want to expand your repertoire and make some yummy ravioli. Enjoy!

 

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