Drying Noodles for Future Use

If “fresh” means “soft,” homemade egg pasta is not necessarily fresh. It is soft the moment it’s made and it can be cooked then, but if one waits it will dry, a natural process with which there is no reason to interfere. All the artificial methods by which commercial “fresh” pasta is kept soft—sprinkling with cornmeal, covering with plastic wrap, refrigeration—undermine its structure and consistency. Properly dried homemade egg pasta, when cooked, delivers all the texture and flavor it had when just made. The limp product marketed as “fresh” does not. Once dried, homemade noodles can be stored for weeks in a cupboard, just like a box of store-bought semolina pasta.

When the noodles are cut, gather several strands at a time and curl them into circular nest shapes (photo K). Let the nests dry on towels for 24 hours (photo L), making sure they do not touch or overlap. They must be absolutely dry because if any moisture remains when they are stored, mold will develop. When dry, place them in a large box or tin, interleaving each layer of nests with paper towels. Handle carefully because they are brittle. Store in a dry cupboard, not in the refrigerator. Allow slightly more cooking time for dried pasta than for the freshly made.

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