I'm going to let you in on a little secret. You know that pasta machine you've been coveting? The one that makes rolling and cutting pasta incredibly easy? The one that you've tried to find cheaply on Amazon or Ebay, but never actually purchased?
(Or, in my case, the one you looked at but figured, "I'm not going to buy it now when I have a wedding registry to put all the kitchen tools I've ever wanted onto"?)
Well, you don't need it. Or, at least, you can get by without it. Like many kitchen tools that seem like necessities, you can make pretty darn good pasta without a special machine. The same way that you can make excellent (better, in fact) bread without a breadmaker, and you can core apples pretty decently without an apple corer, and you can separate eggs quite well without any sort of egg separator gadget.
But I digress. Don't take that pasta maker off your to-buy list yet, because to get really thinly sliced spaghetti or angel hair, you probably need it. But to make rustic, delicious thick homemade noodles, you'll get by just fine with a sturdy rolling pin and a sharp knife.
The trick to getting your dough really thin is to let it rest periodically while you're rolling it. It's frustrating, however, to actually do that. Like recipes that call for chilling for half an hour, or letting dough rise for several hours, it's always tempting to cut corners. But don't, because if you don't let your dough relax, the gluten will be too tough for you to roll it to the thinness you want.
Once you've rolled your dough as thin as you can, roll it up into a spiral. That's how you cut it! Rather than attempting to drag a knife across the entire length of your pasta dough, slice the rolled-up pasta into thin rounds, then unroll them to get long noodles.
It really couldn't be easier. So, the next time you're looking for an extra special pasta dinner, give this a try.
Whole Wheat Pasta
2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
Water, as needed
Blend together flour, eggs and salt. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together, but is not sticky. Check after each tablespoon to see if dough has firmed. I used about 7 tbsp of water for this recipe, but my whole wheat flour is two months old and really dried out.
Roll dough as thin as you can, forming a rectangle. If dough starts to spring back when rolled, let the dough rest for ten minutes and resume rolling.
Trim the edges of the dough and roll the flat sheet of dough into a jelly roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into small rounds. Unroll the rounds into long noodles, and toss them with flour on a baking sheet to dry, or serve immediately.
Fresh noodles will only take about 4 minutes to cook -- they are done when they float to the top of the water.
Makes two medium-sized portions of pasta, can be doubled.
And Free Ice Cream (Last Chance!)
The winners of the Haagen Dazs gift certificates from the last post are...
Amanda, Comment #1
Judy, Comment #18
Nan, Comment #47
And, in this post, my last three Haagen Dazs gift certificates are up for grabs! To win one this time, leave a comment telling me what your favorite pasta dish is -- and feel free to include a link to a recipe on your own blog, if you have one! Leave your comment before Wednesday, June 4th at 5 pm, and I'll announce the winners on Thursday morning.