I’ve started making my own pasta. I bought a pasta making machine for around £25 a few weeks’ ago and I love it. It’s a relaxing and therapeutic process and you can prepare pasta dough to keep in the fridge for a few days so you can make it in advance for when you are busy. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly and it tastes so much better than the fresh pasta you buy in supermarkets. You can still make fresh pasta without a machine – use a rolling pin instead (but it’s not so much fun).
I more or less followed Gennaro Contaldo’s instructions for the fresh pasta and he’s right about the simplicity of the recipe – I end up with perfect pasta every time. With the basics of home made pasta making under my belt I’ve started experimenting with different recipes. This recipe is a really fun way to make pasta – pressing fresh herbs (from my garden) between two layers ending up with some pretty patterns and delicately flavoured pasta.
I got the idea for pressing herbs between pasta layers from a book called Smart Food which I bought recently in a charity shop (nosing around for second hand recipe books is one of my favourite pastimes).
- 200g pasta flour (’00’)
- 2 eggs
- Fresh herbs – such as mint, sage and parsley
- Place the flour on a plate, make a well in the middle and crack the eggs into it. With a fork or with your hands gradually mix the flour and eggs until a dough forms. Knead until you have a soft, smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge or until ready to use.
- Divide the pasta into four portions and put through the pasta machine at the widest setting (eg 1). Keep rolling through the machine – twice on each setting – as you go from number 1 to the highest setting, or until the pasta is just thin enough to see through. Be careful not to roll the pasta too thin or it will tear.
- Cut the pasta in half so that you have equal lengths. Place herb leaves on one side of the pasta (make some pretty patterns, or in uniform lengths like ravioli). Cover with the second layer of pasta. Roll the pasta through the pasta machine so that the patterns show through and cut with a ravioli or pastry cutter or free hand using a sharp knife.
- Cover in cling film until ready to cook. Cook in boiling salted water for about 3/4 minutes.
Serve with the sauce of your choice. Mint pasta goes well with a pea and bacon sauce – watch out for the recipe on this blog soon.