This is more or less the same recipe as normal fresh pasta, but obviously without the egg. If you want yellow egg-like pasta, just add a little ground turmeric to the dough. It’s important to get hard wheat (grano duro) pasta flour (00) because it will add gluten and stretchiness, which you need because you don’t have the egg. You can make pasta with just oil and water, but I did find that the egg replacer introduced smoothness and stretchiness to the pasta dough.
If you can’t get hold of 00 pasta flour, then use three parts white bread flour to one part all-purpose flour (i.e.: for 9 oz [250 g] use (rounding up) 1⅓ cups [190 g] white bread flour to a scant ½ cup [60 g] all-purpose flour).
If mixing by hand, put the flour and salt into a bowl, make a well in the center and add the water and the oil, or water and egg replacer. Stir with a wooden spoon, then knead it together with your hands. Good pasta is all about texture; it mustn’t be too dry or too wet. Form a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and leave to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. The resting time is important, as this will make the dough more flexible.
If using a food processor, put the flour and salt in and slowly pulse in the water and the oil, or water and egg replacer. Stop when it looks like large couscous. Then remove the dough, form a ball and knead it by hand for several minutes until well combined. Continue as for by hand.
Once the dough has rested, divide in half. Use one half at a time, leaving the other half covered with plastic wrap or a damp clean dish towel as you work. If you have a pasta maker, run the ball through it on the widest setting. Then fold the dough over and run it through the machine several times, folding over each time and inserting the open end into the machine. Eventually you will see a bubble form and/or a popping sound as the folded end goes into the pasta machine. This means the pasta is now ready to roll.
Thread the flattened oval of pasta through the machine (no longer folding it over) on each setting, starting at the widest and narrowing it by one notch each time. By notch 5 you will probably have to cut your tongue of pasta in half, unless you have an assistant or unbelievably long arms. Continue to run the pasta through the machine and stop before the last notch (usually 7) because you don’t want the dough so thin that it will break and leak the contents while cooking. Hang up the pasta tongues to dry (I use my wooden washing line! but you can buy wooden pasta dryers) for 10 to 15 minutes or so. However, you don’t want it to dry too much or it will break.
If you don’t have a machine, then roll the pasta out very thinly on a floured surface, making quarter turns as in pastry, until it is about 1/16 in [2 mm] thick.
Then change the flat pasta roller on the machine for the shape of pasta you want to cut, or if you are making it without a machine, roll up the oval of dough loosely and make perpendicular cuts all along, every ¼ in [6 mm], so that you end up with coils of flat, thin pasta.
For ravioli, you can cut circles with a small glass, add the filling to one and press a second circle on top, brushing the edges with water and pinching them together (you can also buy several types of ravioli cutter in kitchen shops).
The second problem with pasta, once you have made it, is to stop it sticking. I sprinkle a thick layer of fine semolina on a tray and spread the pasta out on top. In fact, while I’m making long pasta shapes in the machine, I hold the tray underneath so that the pasta falls straight into the semolina flour. With finer pasta such as fettuccine, curl it into nests, liberally sprinkling with the semolina, and leave to air-dry for a day. If I’m not using it immediately, I freeze it on the tray (so choose a tray that fits into your freezer shelves). Once it is frozen, you can transfer it to a plastic freezer bag and store it for up to 3 months. Remember NEVER wash your pasta machine, otherwise it will go rusty. Clean it with a dry brush.
To cook the pasta, always add salt to a large saucepan of water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta for 1 to 5 minutes until it floats to the surface. Ravioli can take a bit longer—5 to 10 minutes-but don’t walk away from the stove!
© 2015 Kerstin Rodgers. All rights reserved.