Fresh Pasta

Fresh pasta is not superior to dried pasta. They are different products with differing plus and minus points. Fresh is one of those lucky words like ‘natural’ that instantly produce an aura of goodness, but the fresh in this case is only used in contrast to dried and not as the opposite of ‘stale’ or even ‘frozen’. In fact, fresh pasta freezes very well.

Ingredients

  • 500g (1lb 2oz/ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for cooking
  • 4 medium (large) eggs, plus 1 yolk
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

Method

Work all the ingredients together and knead for about 5 minutes until shiny. Leave the dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough to a manageable thickness, something that will fit into a pasta machine if this is what you are using. Then roll out the dough a further two times to give the desired thinness, allowing the pasta to rest briefly between rollings.

Hang the pasta sheets up to stretch for 30 minutes, then cut them into whatever shape is desired.

To cook, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add 1 teaspoon of oil. Add the pasta, cook for 3 minutes, then drain and toss in your chosen sauce.

Variations

Brightly coloured pasta is achieved by adding ingredients such as spinach or tomato paste. As these are wet, there has to be some reduction in the quantity of egg to compensate. Omitting the extra yolk from this basic recipe will normally do.

Fresh pasta can be deep-fried as well as boiled. Fill it like ravioli with a little cheese or herb stuffing, or twist a piece of pasta like an old style sweetie wrapper, then deep-fry. In Cremona, a town in northern Italy, deep-fried pasta dusted with icing sugar is served as a dessert or with coffee – very nice.

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