When life gets me down and I need a lift, comfort food is where I head. There are tons of recipes that are known for their comforting qualities, like my mother’s beef stew served over buttered cornbread or just a good, messy cheeseburger with fries. But more often than not, I crave pasta. I typically decide to use dried pasta. Why is that, though?
Well, there are more varieties of dried pasta available than fresh and to tell you the truth, most of us are just creatures of habit. However, recently, I have been making my own fresh pasta, and you just might be surprised at how easy it is.
Here is the basic recipe:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Combine the ingredients into a shaggy ball and kneed for ten minutes. Then, cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Cut the ball into quarters, and using a pasta machine, roll into long thin sheets, going from the largest aperture to the smallest. Then, use the cutter to cut the strips into the shape you want.
You can cut down the time it takes to form the dough into a ball and kneed it by using a food processor. I have made it both ways and the food processor sure is faster and easier. But here is another trick if you are making the pasta just for yourself. Cut the recipe down to one cup of flour and one egg, a pinch of salt, and a splash of oil. You can have it ready in no time at all. Spreading newspaper on the countertop before you put a cutting board down will help you with clean up too. Also, remember that fresh pasta is done in just a minute or two. I suggest you cook one piece of pasta (incidentally a single piece of spaghetti is called a spaghetto) to see how long it takes to cook.
But what kind of sauce do you serve with fresh pasta? Generally, fresh pasta is served with a simple sauce, like fresh chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and olive oil, and never with a hearty sauce like bolognaise. I like fresh pasta with nothing but good butter (yes, there is a big difference in the quality of butter! Buy the best you can afford.) and parmesan (I always recommend using the real deal, imported Italian Parmesan Reggiano).
By the way, my favorite butter is the French Echire butter I get through Amazon. It isn’t cheap, but it sure is good. But let’s leave that for another conversation!
Hope you enjoy!