So, back in the summer, I’d had a first crack at hand-made pasta. What I’d learned was that I really didn’t have the upper body strength required to roll out those beautiful, paper-thin noodles most of us (…or maybe just I) dream of when we’re thinking of gorgeous, eggy, freshly made pasta.
Enter JP and Jess, two fellow foodies, with whom we set up a bit of a swap: I lent them my ice cream maker, and a few weeks later, they entrusted their pasta roller to my care. This was back in August, folks. I still have it. I’m feeling more than little guilty, let me tell you. However! If it’s any consolation, it hasn’t been languishing around our house. I forgot to take any pictures the first time, but the second time I broke it out, I remember to document the process. (And yes, if you’re wondering, I do hope to sneak in another session before November hits.)
First up, make the dough. By now, I pretty much go with the ratio of one slightly-heaping cup of flour to one egg. I’ll also substitute slightly less than a third of the flour out for semolina (the yellow visible in the first picture). Lesson learned from the summer: do the stirring with a fork or spoon; not your fingers.
After that, a little relaxing in the fridge, and it was time to face the dough. Once again, I brought out Betty. Only for the very first part, though, because after that, the blessed pasta roller stepped right up to the task. Despite the fact that you have to roll, and roll, and roll, and roll, it was so easy! I fell in love a little. Don’t tell The Boy; it’ll be our little secret.
You might be asking yourself if it’s really necessary to keep feeding the sheet of dough through those rollers that many times? The answer is yes. It’s pretty incredible, watching the transition from stodgy, lumpy dough, to flattened stodgy, lumpy dough to slightly pliable, still uneven dough, and after a few passes of rolling, folding, rolling, rolling thinner, folding, rolling again, etc. you end up with this incredibly smooth, supple, even, light sheet of dough. So much potential!
I’m a little spoiled that JP and Jess, along with their pasta-rolling masterpiece — also lent me a ravioli mould. It was a little finicky (the first pass, I’m pretty sure I ended up with more ricotta on the counter than in the raviolis) but those little teensy squares are so cute when finished. I’m not ashamed to admit that after one try the first time I made pasta, I gave up, broke out the round cookie cutter and made larger, “artisanal” raviolis. That filling was a little less cooperative than the ricotta-spinach I used in this batch though.
So, I now have a large freezer bag full of “fresh” pasta, which I’m jealously hoarding for sauce that’s “good enough”, whatever that means. At some point, I’m going to have to get over myself and just start eating the stuff. If anyone’s wondering though, I highly recommend the pasta roller. Super-easy to use, fairly straightforward to clean and did I mention that it makes beautiful, silky, perfect pasta? Delicious.