Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks’ July hostess. Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine. She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!
I was so excited to see this challenge — I’ve been meaning to make my own pasta since forever — I just kept putting it off, thinking it was too time-consuming. Well, I was wrong: pasta-making actually doesn’t take all that long. What it does take, however, given that I don’t have a pasta roller, is a good deal more upper-body strength than I had bargained on! After rolling out my own very chunky “fettuccine” (and I use that very loosely), I have a very deep newfound respect for all the Italian mamas out there who regularly make pasta for their families.
I didn’t use Steph’s recipe, since originally I wasn’t too sure what I’d try. In the end, excited to christen my shiny new bamboo rolling pin, I went with Jamie Oliver’s recipe for basic eggy pasta dough. The actual mixing up of the dough was easy, if a little messy:
There was a lot more egg than I’d suspected in the recipe, so it made for a very yellow mixture, indeed! Once it was all combined and kneaded, I wrapped it up and marveled at its eggy, brain-looking-ness:
I took a little break while the dough was resting, thinking “You know, this pasta-making gig isn’t so hard. Why don’t I do this more often?” Oy. Then the real work started. (Aside: isn’t my rolling pin pretty? I want to call her Betty.)
You’re probably looking at the little pile of noodles there and thinking they’re kind of thick and chunky-looking and seriously? Couldn’t I have maybe put a little elbow grease in and maybe rolled them out a smidge thinner? Well, I’m here to tell you that NO. I couldn’t have. Believe me, I tried. I tried standing on a chair so that more of my weight would fall on the pin while rolling. I tried taking little breaks (because I am a wuss). I tried summoning the demonic forces to empower me to roll out gorgeous, paper-thin pasta. Believe me, I tried. And in spite of it, this was as thin as I could manage. That pasta dough, all flour and egg and a splash of water, is stiff. As a girl used to beating balls of rye dough around, I figured I had a handle on it, but I was wrong!
In the end, I had a small hillock of noodles, and only medium-high hopes. Cooked up (so fast!) it definitely made for a toothsome meal, but the flavour was wonderful. I’m also proud to report that I quashed my food-hoardery long enough to bust open one of my cans of marinated peppers to toss the noodles in. Overall, it was pretty good, but probably too heavy for a summer meal.
I still have some of the noodles left in the freezer, and I’m holding onto them until the next time I make chicken noodle soup. I get the feeling that (cut up into bite-size lengths), their chewiness might be better suited to a stew-type environment.
So, what else does the future hold for my pasta-making? Gnocci for sure. The Boy doesn’t really understand my love of gnocci, but that’s alright. I was a little disappointed with my pasta-rolling failure, so I didn’t dive into the gnocci this month, but I’m thinking in the fall (season of spuds and starchy squashes!) that I’ll try the little dumplings. Before that, however, I really want to try my hand at Asian pulled noodles. Given that these are usually served in a meaty broth, or fried up with greasy meat, I should probably wait till fall for these too. We’ll see!