While Julia Child, one of the greatest and my favorite chefs, was mastering the art of French cooking, I've been mastering the art of Italian cooking lately. I think the fact that I was born about 600 miles East from Italy has something to do with my tastes and preferences, specifically in pasta department. See for yourself: I grew up on polenta, different types of homemade pasta, lots of vegetables, homemade breads and cheese. Those Southern European countries, kissed by the sun, have many similarities in their cuisines. Since I discovered lately that I do love pasta, homemade and fresh, I went on a quest to find out more.
"Remember to stay away from mass-produced cheap pasta, you will just be disappointed come dinnertime" warned Justin Demetri.
Well, I know that the hard way, ten-years-of-hating-anything-pasta-way.
I was disappointed and I didn't eat pasta until mother came to the rescue: during her visit last winter she made some pasta and I fell in love with it again.
Then mother showed me the family recipe and I've been rolling since. Making pasta is a fun process and is considered to be a meditation, especially the kneading part (I do it by hands).
I've read that semolina flour is quite tricky to work with so I decided to try it slowly: I made the first batch with two parts of regular flour (unbleached unbromide wheat flour) and two parts of semolina flour. I did add 4 eggs and four tablespoons of water.
How did it go? Here is the evidence:
|I let it rest with hope that gluten will develop and it would be easier to work with...|
Not exactly the way I wanted it to go.
Something was wrong: a) not enough moisture or b) not enough kneading. I think it's both. If you have another idea, please, do let me know.
It had to be fixed by more kneading, I thought... 15 minutes later still the same results.
And the dough was though to knead, at some point I would jump and press on it with all my weight , then jump and press again... My arms were getting sore but the dough was still stubborn and not elastic.
Then I decided to add more water. That's a very tricky part, it's easier (and better) to add flour than to add water.
|Roll, pat with some water, fold and repeat... (my way of fixing the dough)|
What I did was I ran the small pieces of dough through pasta roller, then I would rinse my hands and pat the dough with my hands, then I would fold the dough in half and pat again, repeating this process a few time until I had a perfect elastic dough coming through.
|...until it came out just perfect.|
I spent five (!) hours doing this but the result was totally worth it.
Now, don't get discouraged by my experience. I experimented without researching first (semolina flour needs more water, and I know it now! - the hard way, though), and my first college degree in food microbiology helps me to get things done most of the time.
|Over sized bow ties :)|
Do your homework, find a recipe you like and be patient: dough loves attention. Allow yourself plenty of time to knead the dough, turn on some music (Italian maybe?!) and relax during the process. I assure you, the result is fantastic.
I make both fresh and dry pasta (which is fresh pasta that is let to dry for about 50 hours or so), and this pasta I certainly can eat every day, cooked al dente!
|I was playing with different shapes of pasta...:)|
I think I found out why I can't eat store bought pasta: the taste of pasta enhances if you air dry it, preferably on the sun (that's how I remember grandmother and mother made it). I've seen pictures with rows of pasta drying outside in Italian towns, a very fascinating view. And the best flour to make dry pasta is semolina flour.
My next challenge will be a pasta dough made with 100% semolina and water (which is required by Italian law for dry pastas!), then dried outside on the sun.
However, it won't be in the next post. :)
|The Pasta Eater, Pasta Agnesi Museum, Oneglia|
I sure NEED to go to Italy to learn to make pasta from the best!
LOL - loved the post. The times I've tried to make pasta I made such a huge mess. Pasta turned out thankfully ;-)ReplyDelete
LOL, Heather! Mess is a part of the process! :)Delete
You have done it beautifully. I am also thinking of buying that attachment for my mixer.ReplyDelete
You would love it, I am sure. Do get one and make some gluten free pasta. I would love to learn from you, my friend!Delete
O my God-))) I am so envy you! I love to learn how to make fresh pasta but for some reason I am so afraid-)) One day. You are my hero!ReplyDelete
Thanks Yelena! :) Don't be afraid, involve the kids: ask them to wash their hands and play with the dough - here is your kneading goes!Delete
I love homemade pasta I usually try to make it at least once in 2 weeks!!Delete
Thank you Catalina for your comment. That's impressive!Delete
Making my own pasta is on my list! I took a cooking course a few years ago with an Italian chef and we learned how to make pasta but I have never tried it in my own. Despite the trial and error, your is a thing of beauty - I too could eat it everyday.ReplyDelete
Thank you Lindsay! I too would love to take some classes. Learning from the chefs is such a great pleasure.Delete
Fantastic and very brave! I've never made my own pasta but something i'd love to do..ReplyDelete
Thank you! Home made pasta is a lot of fun to make and worth all the trouble! Have a great day!Delete
Aaww !! Just those perfect shapes.. GGrrr !! I really need that Machine, tough to roll them perfectly with hands ..ReplyDelete
Sweet post :)
Nupur, thanks! My mother rolls pasta dough perfectly by hands, for me it's a challenge: when I roll with a pin, the dough has a shapes of horror movie scene! :)Delete
You succeeded, congratulations!!!!!! Now that you understand the process the next batch will be made in no time. A pasta machine is a great invention.ReplyDelete
Hi Norma, I agree, pasta rolling machine is a great invention. Although some people, like my mother, can make it to perfection by hands. She actually showed me and stood beside me while I was doing it, but it didn't come out even close to her shape in rolling process. So I decided to let the machine do this job. The rest is all done by hands, and I am very proud of this fact. :) Have a lovely day!Delete
I followed your link from Norma Chang's site, and am so glad I did. Your photographs are so helpful. I've never had the nerve to attempt pasta, but if I hand around here long I may end up doing so. Lovely post!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I am glad you came here and would be thrilled if you hang around! Welcome friend! :)Delete
Fantastic post;wish I could; I used to make home made pasta, but it's been a while and you need good arms.ReplyDelete
Thanks Rita. You actually could do it all with machine, I choose to knead the dough with my arms. And it makes arms stronger too.Delete
I love it! There's nothing like homemade pasta. I've received an attachment for my kitchenaid and have not attempted to try and make my own. This is something I know my kiddies will enjoy taking part of.ReplyDelete
Oh yes, involve the kids, ask them to play with that dough (after washing their hands) - it would stretch it to the desired texture.Delete
I never made homemade pasta so your experience will help me to avoid headache when I will finally decide to do so. Thanks!ReplyDelete
I know you can do it! Look at all the beautiful cakes you've created!Delete
That looks so good and I know how wonderful it tastes! Years ago, a lady showed me how to make egg noodles...rolled out on a dough board. I haven't made them in a long time but they were amazing. I've made homemade everything! The one memory we have in my family is when I would make ravioli. I have 4 sons and they were ALL teenagers at the same time...they are close in age. They could just pop them in their mouths faster than I could make them! All of that WORK! lolReplyDelete
I know exactly that feeling when you work on the dinner for so many hours and it's all gone in less then 5 minutes! Thanks for visiting me here! :)Delete
Your homemade pasta...ravioli are beautiful. I think just semolina flour will be easier to work with. I love your little round pleated pasta shapes.ReplyDelete
Thanks you Karen. Yes, I had to have some fun too so I was playing with different shapes :)Delete
So beautifull that hand made pasta! I'm not sure that I'm quite up to this challenge just yet but you do have me thinking about it.ReplyDelete
It is not challenging if you follow the directions. I am very comfortable making the regular pasta. Good luck!Delete
Wow...perfect homemade pasta to relish on.....waiting to see the recipes using these goodies...ReplyDelete
Congrats on the gorgeous pasta! I'm sure it tastes amazing too!ReplyDelete
Did you get your pasta roller? I am waiting to hear about your gluten-free pasta adventures, Jane!Delete
Wow you have patience to do this. Me, I am not sure. Great job. Love to try some.ReplyDelete
It depends how you look at it. I didn't have any patience before for any long cooking, then my attitude changed, I consider it not only a necessity but a relaxing process as well. And I Enjoy it! Thanks for visiting me here!Delete
My kids have been promising to get me this attachment for Mother's Day - and I told them, why not create a "home Day when you give gifts to the home and this can be a start to that day :)ReplyDelete
Looks like you managed great after all! Awesome :
That's a brilliant idea to have a "home day" with kids! Good luck! Thanks for visiting me here!Delete
Mmmmm, mmmm! You did a great job making the pasta and it has to be delicious! I need that attachment! And, I'd like your red Kitchen Aid too, instead of my white one.ReplyDelete
Thanks Pam! I like my Red Kitchen Aid too, I love red color in the kitchen, and blue, and green, and yellow: it makes me smile, and when I smile in the kitchen, happy meals come out! :)Delete
oh wow! I have yet to master it and I am pretty sure you have with this post! The pasta dough looks amazing!ReplyDelete
Thanks! You are very sweet! I am sure I have much to learn still in pasta making...:)Delete
So glad you persevered...your pasta looks fabulous!!! And, yes, I think you need to go to Italy to learn proper pasta making. Just make sure to take me along :)ReplyDelete
Sounds like a deal to me! It's more fun to have a friend on a journey!Delete
I make pasta periodically but I'm ashamed to say that I've never made it with semolina flour. Something to try. I enjoyed reading about your efforts and yes I definitely think a trip to Italy is in order...ReplyDelete
Thanks Liz! I wanted to try semolina after I've read about how pasta was made and is made.Delete
I really like this post. You've battled through and come out pasta triumphant! It looks fab and well done for persevering.ReplyDelete
Thank you!I am glad you enjoyed it. I sure enjoyed making that pasta! :)Delete
Marina- your pasta dough looks perfect, and those shapes you made are fantastic. I have a small bag of semolina flour that I keep in the freezer, and I mix it with the all purpose flour when I make my fresh pasta. It is rather expensive to buy, and mixing it, 50% with the other flour gives excellent results.ReplyDelete
I envy you for the Kitchen Aid, that has the pasta machine attachment. I just have the old fashioned cranker kind that is for sure...not electric, but give the same beautiful sheets of pasta dough!
Great photos...love them all:DDD
Thank you Elisabeth. Do you know what I did? I bought a 25lb bag of semolina flour (it was much chipper this way), so I am stuck with it weather I like it or not! :) I am going to make a lot of pasta...Delete
Pasta attachment was given me as a gift last March and I am very happy with it. I don't care much about the cutter, but pasta roller is a super tool to have. They actually sell pasta rollers separately, I was going to buy it myself later. But this gift came as a big surprise from my husband and son. They knew what to give me! Smart pants! :)
Wow, amazing blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?ReplyDelete
you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is wonderful,
as well as the content!
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