Thursday, July 14, 2011

Daring Kitchen - Home made Pasta

Blog-checking lines: Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

I was very excited by this months challenge.  I have never made home made pasta before.  Even Hilary's only tried it once.  The good thing is that we had all the toys - pasta roller, drying rack, even ravioli trays - that Hilary had gotten for a birthday gift years ago.  They all lived in their boxes tucked away in the cupboard.  The drying rack would get pulled out every now and then to use to dry Ziplock bags.

I had the house to myself one Saturday (Hilary was working and Liam was at a sleepover) so I set to work.  I had read countless recipes and watched dozens of videos; it was time to get my hands dirty.  I made 2 different recipes, 1 with all semolina flour, and one that was mostly white flour with only a 1/4 cup of semolina.  Everything I had read said that pasta made with semolina flour tastes better but is much harder to work with.  I was fully believing that as I was mixing it, since the flour has the texture of corn meal and my dough felt like I had dropped it in a sand box.  I didn't think it would turn out into nice smooth pasta noodles at all.  By contrast the white flour dough was easy to mix and formed into a nice ball very quickly.

After letting the doughs rest, it was time to start rolling.  I started with the semolina and it seemed like the difficulties were going to continue.  But after 2-3 passes through the roller it was smooth and easy to work with.

I was so excited when I ran the first sheet through the cutters and it came out looking like actual spaghetti!

The white flour pasta turned out to be much harder to work with.  It was sticky and required the addition of a lot of flour before each pass through the rollers, otherwise it got stuck and made a big mess. The colour of the semolina pasta is also a much richer yellow and just looks nicer.

I served the pasta using one of my favourite recipes that Hilary makes - cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and Brie all tossed on hot pasta.  It's a delicious blend of flavours and goes best with fresh pasta,

This was a great Daring Kitchen Challenge.  Without that push I would have NEVER considered trying to make my own pasta.  I don't think I'll be doing it every weekend, but I will definitely try it again.
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