You are planning your dinner for your lovely wife (the older two children are out for the evening and Dylan and his friend will want to eat soon), and Dylan says “Daddy, Matthew and I want home made pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese.”
So you start the timer (I think it’s Rachel Ray who says you should always set a timer when you are about to cook) for 30 minutes.
You pull out the food processor, the pasta roller, cutting board, all-purpose flour and eggs.
Put a large pot of water (salted with sea salt) on the boil. I use a colander inside the pot so I only have to take out the colander and not dump the water.
Place two scoops of flour in the food processor, add two eggs, turn on and wait until the dough comes together and it is perfect. You can add flour if your mixture is too wet or another egg if it’s too dry. Then you might have to add flour after the initial mix to see how wet it is. In this case I got lucky and it was tacky but not wet.
Scoop it all out, throw some flour on the table, roll the dough and divide into four balls.
Tighten pasta maker on the table, set to #1 setting, flatten one ball of dough to a disk and run through the pasta maker. Fold it in half and turn 90 degrees and run through again. Repeat this 6 times.
After the sixth time, do not fold. Turn the pasta maker to the #2 setting, and run through once, then adjust to the #3 setting and run through once. Keep adjusting and running the dough through until you’re at the #9 setting. Run through once.
The sheet of pasta can be quite long at this point.
Flour the table (I use the table in my case due to a lack of counter space, the size of my cutting board and other equipment on the counter) and lay the pasta on the flour. Sprinkle flour on one half of the pasta and fold in half. Sprinkle flour on top again.
Now we go back to the pasta maker.
Flatten the second ball of dough and turn the setting back to #1. Repeat the process. Repeat again for third and fourth balls of dough.
Take top sheet of pasta and lay it out on cutting board, I leave it folded in half.
Use a knife ( I find a santoku knife works best because it is flat and if you draw a chefs knife across the pasta it will stretch and tear it but the flat knife will cut it completely) and cut each piece of pasta into strips (1/4″ – 1/2″ depending on your preference)
Toss them in the air to loosen them.
Add a tablespoon of olive oil to water (optional) and place half the pasta in the rapidly boiling water until al dente (2 minutes or less). Drain colander or scoop out pasta into a bowl and add remaining pasta until al dente (2 minutes or less) and drain into first batch.
Scoop some into a bowl, add butter, mix it up, add Parmesan cheese and serve.
The timer went go off as the boys started eating the fresh pasta. Easy, fun and quick!!!
Given the time it takes, I don’t think I will ever resort to store bought, packaged pasta again.
You can do this with whole wheat flour, corn flour (gluten free), soba flour or rice flour. The possibilities are endless.
Of course you can always run the large sheets through the fettuccine / spaghetti attachment to the pasta maker and make evenly shaped pasta but this only adds time and now makes it look like store bought packaged pasta – so why bother? Have fun and cut them really thin or wide or vary them for a very homemade look.