There are few things I love more than pasta. In an effort to eat more healthily, though, over the last year or two I’ve tried to limit myself to eating pasta in one of two instances: 1. at really great restaurants, and 2. when I make it myself.
I got an Imperia Home Pasta Machine for Christmas two years ago, and while the process takes a little while, the end result is SO MUCH BETTER than any pasta you’ll ever find in a box. The mixing of the dough was a production until we realized that the dough hook on our KitchenAid mixer would take care of this in no time flat. You need two ingredients for this (and a little olive oil). Ready?
1. The basic mix goes like this: for every 3/4 C. flour, add an egg. I used a combination of Semolina Flour and Whole Wheat flour this time, but honestly, all-purpose flour alone is probably your best bet. If you’re using the KitchenAid mixer, beat the eggs lightly and then add the flour little by little with the dough hook running. Then let the dough hook work its magic for approx. 5 minutes, and you’ll come back to a ball of dough. It should pull cleanly off the dough hook – if it’s too sticky, add a little flour, too dry, add a little olive oil and mix some more.
— If you don’t have a KitchenAid Mixer, form a little volcano shape out of the flour, and crack the eggs into the volcano’s “crater”. Working from the outside in, gently combine the eggs and flour together. Then knead the dough, pressing it out and flipping it back up on itself, for probably 10 minutes or so.
2. When the dough has been kneaded, rub a tiny bit of olive oil onto your hands (my mom’s Sicilian mother used to swear that this was the secret to youthful-looking hands, but that’s just a bonus). Work the dough into a more structured ball, then wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
3. Now comes the fun part. Get a helper, and assemble your Imperia Pasta Machine. Working with approx. 1/4 inch of a piece of the dough at a time, work it through the roller (usually until the second to last thickness setting). Then, lightly flour the pasta cutting attachment, and work the rolled out sheet of dough through the pasta cutter. Arrange the freshly cut pasta on a Pasta-Drying Rack (or, ahem, an ironing board covered with paper towels and lightly dusted with flour) and let dry while you cut the rest of the pasta.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil. When boiling, add salt, then add the pasta all at once. It should be al dente at 3 minutes, so be careful not to overcook it.
5. Drain the pasta and top with your favorite sauce. Fresh pasta is a game-changer; it’ll be tough for you to go back to the boxed stuff after this!
— On a side note, congratulations to President Obama on his Inauguration Day. Here’s hoping that both parties will be able to work together on bettering our country with the good of the people in mind.