Pasta Fresca

Fresh Pasta

Ingredients

  • Italian type 00 flour
  • Italian fine semola dura (hard fine semolina, French won’t do)
  • good-quality eggs, but the pasteurised eggs now available from supermarkets are very effective

Equipment

  • 1 pasta rolling machine (lots of people have them rusting in cupboards since their weddings)
  • 1 ravioli cutter (crimped wheel on a handle)
  • 1 pastry brush
  • 1 tray for storing the finished pasta. Wickerwork is particularly effective as it allows air to circulate under the pasta and keep it dry. Bakers’ trays are very good and handsome, otherwise use a normal laminated or plastic tray.
  • You will also need a large work space, the day’s newspaper and approximately 2 hours.

Method

Given the quality of manufactured egg pasta discussed earlier, it is really not necessary to make your own. Not necessary, true, but it can be fun if you like working with your hands and are not excessively preoccupied with fast food. Below are some recipes which require home-made pasta; they will not work without.

During the week’s course at La Cacciata the guests make fresh hand-made pasta twice. The first session is to make lasagne or pappardelle. The second, which is always on Friday, the last night, is to make ravioli, usually with a stuffing of ricotta and Swiss chard. The whole group of guests join in, squabbling cheerfully about who is having too long a go on the rolling machine or whose ravioli are the best. They are enjoying themselves. The two hand-made pasta dishes are regarded as the best of the week; this is not necessarily true, of course, but is a reflection of the involvement and enjoyment shown by the cooks. Yes, these are not dishes to knock up in a hurry, but they reflect a slower pace, an interest in the craft, and a pride in what you do. Get your cuticles covered in flour, and have a go!

If you are going to make fresh pasta you will have to find the right ingredients, and you will also need a pasta machine. The basic roller type is just fine and fixes on to table tops with a G clamp. (Some modern kitchen units don’t have a projecting top so the G clamp cannot fix on them.) You will need the following equipment and ingredients. The amount of dough made is enough for 8 people. Shaped pasta can be dried and stored.

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