What a great day. I’d forgotten just how much fun it is to make fresh pasta; very satisfying. I’d also forgotten how much hard work is required to knead the dough, especially when you have an audience of 8-year-old schoolchildren. This is the 10 minutes or so between the lovely eggs nestling in a flour well on your work-surface, and that perfectly formed, smooth ball of elastic dough (which is routinely skipped over in every TV cookery show you’ve ever seen).
Nonetheless, it’s a joyous and virtuous task with a far more delicious outcome than a trip to the gym.
Year 4 from St James C of E primary school did a Stirling job helping me roll and shape said pasta into lasagna, tagliatelle, angel hair (capellini) and farfalle. They learnt about the origins of pasta, its ingredients, geometry, gluten, composition and chemistry, the extrusion manufacturing process, not to eat raw pasta… etc.
Italian day was a blast and has got me thinking about classes for parents too.
The basic principle of making egg pasta is as follows – go on, dig that pasta machine out of the depths of your kitchen cupboard and get the kids involved.
- 400g Tipo ’00’ (super fine) flour
- 4 Eggs
Beat your eggs and gradually mix in the flour. You can do this on a clean work surface by making a well in your mound of flour (like a volcano as the children cleverly observed) and cracking your eggs into it, or just bung it all in a food processor and pulse it a few times.
As it all starts to come together, give it a good knead as if you were making a loaf of bread. You’ll be surprised how what appears to be a particularly anhydrous mixture will turn into a beautiful smooth dough with a bit of elbow grease.
You’ll know when it’s ready as it’ll become smooth and silky to the touch.
At this point it needs to rest; wrap it tightly in cling film so the air can’t get to it and pop it into the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
When you’re ready, you can start to cut it, roll it out (using a rolling pin or a pasta machine) and form it into a plethora of shapes.
If you’re cooking it fresh it will only take a minute or two in a pot of rapidly boiling salted water (traditionally as salty as the Mediterranean sea), or alternatively, you can dry and store it.