Fresh egg pasta
There is no substitute for freshly made pasta. None. The store bought stuff just doesn’t stack up. It is thick and rubbery, where the stuff you’ve kneaded and lovingly rolled to perfection, is soft and light. It is like silk, the other stiff like linen.
It would be a travesty at this point to omit to add that my Mum is one of my cooking heroes. Her ability to whip up the most beautiful dishes from a kitchen seemingly devoid of ingredients never ceases to impress me. So it was under her expert eye that I first made pasta at the age of about 14. At the time my parents, 2 brothers and I were living in South East Asia, in a tiny country on the island of Borneo called Brunei. We were spoilt by the laid-back lifestyle, the proximity to so many beautiful South East Asian countries, friends from around the world and a plethora of new and exciting ingredients to tempt our ever-curious tastebuds.
However I digress. At that point, having been recently introduced to the River Cafe Cookbooks by our neighbour Arielle, it wasn’t long before the authors, Rose Grey and Ruth Rogers, became my number two cooking heroes. Inspired by their beautiful photography and creative Italian recipes, we found ourselves kneading, rolling, cutting and hanging out to dry our homemade pasta over the backs of chairs, the clothes horse and broomsticks. Working in the 32 degree heat, the air thick and heavy with humidity, we were hot and sweaty and felt immensely proud of our efforts. Afterwards we sat, surrounded by hundreds of strands of fine, silky pasta, lost in our thoughts of how we would transform this beautifully simple Italian staple into our evening meal.
Makes approx 1kg of pasta--
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1. Mix together the flour and the salt and place on a clean surface. Make a well in the centre of the flour, add the oil and crack the eggs into it. Using a fork, whisk the eggs until smooth.
2. With clean hands, start mixing the eggs into the flour until it comes together to form a dough.
3. This next stage is the most important step in making pasta as it ensures the gluten in the flour develops, resulting in a firm, al dente pasta. Knead the dough until it becomes silky smooth. This will take between 20 and 30 minutes.
4. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but ideally for1 1/2 - 2 hours.
5. Divide the dough into six pieces and re-wrap five, leaving one to work with.
6. Flatten the piece of dough out as much as possible and feed it through the thickest setting on the pasta maker. Fold it in half and roll it through again. Repeat this five or six times. You will notice this develops the silky smooth texture of the pasta.
7. Work through each of the settings to the narrowest, being sure to work through each setting four or five times before moving on to the next.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the remaining five pieces of dough.
9. If you are making ravioli with your pasta, you will need to cover the sheets with a damp tea towel or two as you go to ensure they do not dry out.
10. If you are making spaghetti or fettuccine, once you have rolled your sheet, feed it through the teeth to achieve the desired thickness. Then hang the pasta up to dry. On broom handles between chairs is a good place! Once dry, either use the pasta immediately or store in airtight containers and freeze.