Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend Project: Homemade Tagliatelle

What you see above is the delicious result of a few hours in the kitchen yesterday-tagliatelle with basil pesto. After learning how to make fresh egg pasta last summer on vacation at an organic cooking school in Tuscany (yes, I was that lucky!), I've resolved to make pasta at least once a year. My great grandparents, particularly my Pop-pop Andy, used to make "homemades" regularly and it makes me happy to carry on the tradition. This was the second time I made them on my own and I am SO happy to report that they turned out far better than the first time. I had no problems what-so-ever and I really feel like I understand what the dough is supposed to feel like when it's ready to rest (which happens, for me, after about 12 minutes of kneading). It didn't stick together, it cooked to a perfect al dente and I was very proud of my contribution to Easter dinner. Here's a little peak at my process.

I made two batches, so this is the first one. Ingredients in the pasta were about 400 grams of semolina flour and 4 eggs. I used a fork to break up the eggs and whisk them together, gradually pulling in the flour. Once it was together enough, I started mixing it with my hands until it formed a ball that I could knead.
I'm pretty sure this is exactly what my Grandmom Theresa's hand looked like when she was kneading and I now totally understand why she had such strong forearm! It's very hard work, but I've gotten the hang of the mechanics so I let the soothing nature of the repetition take over and distract me from the hard work.

Here are the happy dough balls resting. After kneading each until the dough was elastic and smooth, I let them rest for 15-30 minutes, lightly covered with a towel. (One good way to tell if they have been kneaded enough is to push your finger into the dough. If a slight indentation remains and slowly bounces back, it's ready.)

After resting, I cut one ball in half and used a rolling pin to start rolling out the dough. Once it's thin enough, I start passing it through the pasta machine. This picture is after about two more times through the machine. One of the things that I had trouble with the first time I made pasta at home was that it got two thin because instead of relying on the feel of the dough, I followed the recipe exactly. With our pasta machine, I go to the second to last setting before cutting, #4, (the recipe says to go to the next to last which would be #5). This adjustment made a huge difference.

Here you can see me passing a piece of dough through the machine. Each time you put a piece through it needs to rest for a minute or two, which allows for a nice slow and steady pace.

I covered our dining room table with a cotton table cloth and laid out all of the pasta to dry for about 2 hours. It was all carefully straightened so that none of the pieces were touching (which would make them stick together) so this picture is as I was gathering them up to put into boiling water. It cooks fast and only takes 2-3 minutes. I love the texture of this type of pasta and am thining that if I only made one batch at a time, I could do this on a more regular basis. If I get my own pasta machine that is!
And here below is the other food highlight of the weekend at home with my parents, my sister Katie and her hubby Dave and my Aunt Chrissy.

Ricotta pie! My mom went all out and made a lattice top to the pie, which she told us she used to do when we were little. It was a great touch because it means that there was more crust with each slice, which in my book is always a plus, especially when you are eating pie for breakfast as we always do on Easter. I'm looking forward to enjoying leftover slices for the next day or two!


  1. Honestly, I have NEVER wanted to make my own pasta. ever.
    Until now. oh, man...why does that look so good, even at 9am in the morning? Thank you for a wonderful start to my day!

  2. It looks like you had a wonderful celebration! I make my own pasta too...isn't it SO yummy?! So much better than the store bought pasta! I just love being Italian!