Thursday, 13 January 2011

More pasta

Our first go at pasta worked well - very well - but we felt it still needed work. We'd rolled it to the thinnest rollers, which was just a bit too delicate, and overcooked in a flash.

So we had another go. And then another.

I have also had a request for the recipe we have used to make our pasta. It's the product of reading lots and lots of recipes, and so far it has worked well for us.

Basic Pasta Dough

300g 00 flour
1 large whole egg
1 extra egg yolk
2 tbs olive oil
pinch salt
tiny drizzles of water

I bring the flour, eggs, oil and salt together in a bowl and start kneading with my right hand, using my left hand to add a little water until the paste is smooth and not sticky, then I leave it to rest for an hour.

This quantity is as much pasta as the drying rack can cope with. It is also the right amount for two people just having pasta with a light sauce for dinner - no starter or dessert. With a richer sauce, smaller appetites or as a starter that quantity will go a lot further!

So our second attempt at pasta was a more robust noodle. Not quite broad enough to be pappardelle, but broader than fettucine. We rolled it to the second-finest roller and thought that it was a better thickness than the previous attempt. We cut them on the widest cutter.

They still only took moments to cook, but they were much easier to catch at the perfect toothsome point before they got mushy. And the broader noodles were absolutely the right thing with this heavenly, rich, ox-cheek ragu. The ox-cheeks had simmered gently with onions, carrots, tomatoes, white wine, the zest of an orange and a bay leaf for about 6 hours, gradually falling to gelatinous threads.

For our final experiment, before we had to go back to work, we got a bit elaborate.

Our New Year's Eve dinner was crab and prawn ravioli, made with saffron pasta, garnished with a light creamy sauce, spinach leaves, seared scallops and salmon roe. It was very good, but my ravioli need work - I had some trouble with leaking and exploding.

The saffron pasta was good though! I put a pinch of saffron threads in a mortar and pestle with the pinch of salt that was going into the pasta, crushed it finely, and then added it to the flour. The pasta ended up a lovely rich gold colour, with streaks of deeper orange from less-crushed bits of the saffron.

There was a bit more pasta than we needed after the ravioli, so we cut it into noodles and had it buttered the next day with pork fillet in peppercorn sauce, and some lightly steamed cabbage. So delicious.


ARLENE said...

I love using my big Atlas pasta roller. Your drying rack is perfect--my pasta hangs off pans and pots because I've been too cheap to buy a rack, lol. The ox cheek ragu looks heavenly as do your ravioli. The problem with ravioli is you can only put a smidgen of whatever delicious filling you're using or they do tend to open up. I find keeping the water at barely a simmer instead of a rolling boil ameliorates that some. Great work!!!

Choclette said...

The saffron pasta sounds lovely.

Did you get the chocolates in the end? If so, hope you weren't disappointed.

Simona said...

Nice idea to put some saffron in the dough. Your pasta looks very nice.

kat said...

We have the pasta roller attachment for our Kitchen Aid & just don't use it enough. I think I need to get Matt back in the kitchen because he made some awesome ravioli for me in the past.

C said...

They all look lovely Foodycat - and the ragu sauce looks really delicous too!

Nice to feel that you've made improvements over last time too - very satisfying.

mscrankypants said...

I think a pasta recipe I used has five egg yolks ... I think one is eminently more sensible as I think egg-white omelettes are the flavourless devil! ;-)

Foodycat said...

Arlene - I tried the bare simmer and they still exploded. I think I need to exclude the air properly.

Choclette - we didn't end up seeing the chocolate fiend around Christmas, so we missed the moment.

Simona - the saffron was lovely with it.

Kat - I'd love to hear Matt's tips on ravioli making.

C - thanks!

Cranky - yeah, but friands take 6 eggwhites, and they taste good!

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am loving that pasta--especially the saffron one--so pretty. That ragu has me drooling too. ;-)


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