While sifting through cookbooks I came across one I haven’t opened in a very long time. It’s a pasta recipe book that I bought in Italy many years ago. I started flipping through and was amazed at the authentic and unusual recipes inside. This was not your usual red sauce this and marinara that. It also included recipes for homemade pasta. Mmmm Robert and I made homemade pasta once before and it was really good but once we put the pasta maker away we never pulled it back out.
I was able to locate semolina flour also known as durum flour. The recipe in the book was in the metric system and I didn’t feel like getting out a calculator so I made a combination of the book recipe and the recipe on the back of the Bob’s Red Mill semolina bag.
To use the pasta maker start on the widest setting and run the pasta through once and then notch it down to the next lowest level. We stopped at the fourth level and the pasta was a nice thickness. Use a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball and increase the size as you see fit. Use flour to keep things running smoothly and to keep the noodles from sticking to each other. We found that using the pasta maker takes 3 hands. One to guide the pasta, one to catch it as it comes out and one to crank the arm (if you don’t have it bolted to the table you need one more hand to hold it down).
After it is on the correct thickness run it through the cutting rollers. We made fettuccine yesterday. Then hang it until you are ready to cook it. After it air drys a little it should be stored in the fridge to keep it fresh.
Boil in lots of water that is well salted. I use about a tablespoon, you want it to taste like the ocean. A pinch is not enough. Don’t use oil in the water this is not how the Italians cook their pasta. Don’t rinse it either. Mine cooked up in about 5 minutes, probably less but I wanted to make sure it was done.
Toss with the sauce in the pan and serve with parmesan cheese. The sauce I made contained beans, tomato sauce, bacon, carrots, celery and onions. It was amazing and everything was from scratch even the beans and the tomatoes were from last summer’s canning extravaganza.
What I would do differently: The semolina flour has a rough texture and is nice and chewy but I think I will try to find superfine flour and use a mixture next time to get a more delicate pasta. Now I just have to order the Italian Style Flour which I have used before and it’s amazingly fine and silky. Or I need to decide if I want to try King Arthur’s Perfect Pasta blend. Decisions, decisions.
Also the pasta stretched out while hanging and kept falling off my clothes hanger drying rack. I had to lay it down. I am not sure why it was so doing this but maybe next time with a blend of flour this won’t happen. I ended up laying it down so it would stop breaking.
Next time I will use more flour on the dough before they are cut so they don’t stick together. We had some clumps and they turned into a big thick mass of noodles. Not good.
My recipe clearly needs work but it was a fun experiment and tasted great.