mastering pasta Margaret Johnson by hjkuiw354


									mastering pasta                                                                         Margaret Johnson                  Stylist: Deirdre Noon

                                                                                                   always work extra flour in during the working
Most people are terrified or, at best, hesitant at the very thought of                             and rolling stage. Even so, a firmer dough
                                                                                                   gives a better pasta. Once you get the hang
making their own pasta. Yet a session of fresh pasta making is a day of                            of it you won’t even bother to measure the
                                                                                                   flour; you’ll just mix up the eggs and add the
fun. Children will always help, particularly with the rolling, folding and                         flour until it feels right.

cutting. Pushed, they may even help clean up the cloud of flour which                              And while a pasta rolling machine might
                                                                                                   make your job easier, pasta can also be
inevitably results.                                                                                made quickly and successfully with just a
                                                                                                   rolling pin and a knife.
The firST MaJor consideration when               specialist 00 flour produced by Anchor Foods
                                                 and is available in most supermarkets. It         It's important to appreciate that different
making pasta is the flour. The best pasta
                                                 has a protein level of about 10% and works        pastas are better suited to different sauces.
will be made from high protein, hard durum
                                                 really well.                                      Lighter sauces are better with finer pastas
wheat flour although a good result can
                                                                                                   and more robust sauces are better suited
also be obtained from ordinary supermarket       Eggs are the next consideration and while the     to chunkier pastas. So a light cream based
plain flour. Another option is the flour sold    proportions quoted are generally one egg to
                                                                                                   sauce is better with fettuccine or angel hair;
as ‘Continental Flour or ‘Tipo 00 flour’. This   every 100 grams of flour this will of course
                                                                                                   while a red wine based meat sauce needs the
is a very fine semolina flour and is the flour   vary according to both the size of the eggs
                                                                                                   wide, strappy pappardelle.
of choice for the pasta made by some of          and the absorbency of the flour. I use very
the large specialist Italian outlets. It has a   large eggs (size 60 or 67). It's easier to work   And is it really worth the effort to make your
slight graininess to it and produces a pasta     with a softer dough, especially when you are      own fresh pasta? The answer is yes, every
with a superior texture. There is also now a     first learning how to make pasta as you can       time.

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FrESh PASTA                                         a session of fresh pasta making is a day of fun

The Basic Dough                                                                                         Rolling
   SErvES 4 wITh SAuCE                                                                                  By Hand
4 large eggs                                        and knead until the mixture is smooth and           Cut the piece of dough in half and cover the
2 tsp salt                                          springy --- about 10 minutes.                       section not in use.
400 g flour                                         Alternatively, and the purists will be horrified,   working on a floured surface and using a
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto   place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food      long, thin flour-dusted rolling pin (I've used
a clean bench top. Make a well in the centre        processor and add the eggs. Process until           a wine bottle at rottnest!), roll out the pasta
and break the eggs into the well. Lightly           it is combined. It might look a little dry but      using a combination of rolling, stretching and
whisk the eggs with a fork or fingertips and        fear not. Tip the mixture onto a sheet of           pushing to produce a long oval or rectangle.
gradually work in the flour, finishing with your    plastic film and wrap it up tightly. within
hands. If the mixture is a little dry, add a few    an hour, it will have come together nicely.         The pasta should be thin, particularly if you
drops of water. Turn onto a floured surface         Knead as before.                                    want to fill the pasta for ravioli. roll the sheet

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up into a roll, as for a Swiss roll, and then with   out the piece of pasta with your fingers          repeat with the second piece of dough.
a sharp knife, cut the pasta into the width of       into a rectangle and then pass it through         You may then use the cutting rollers to cut
strips desired. unravel the rolls and, if not        the rollers with the machine on the largest       the sheets. Most rollers are for fettuccine
cooking immediately, hang them over the              setting. Keep rolling and folding until the       and linguine. For lasagne sheets, ravioli or
back of a chair or leave on a flour-dusted tea       sheet is smooth. Continue rolling, making         cannelloni, the uncut sheet is used. hang the
towel, bench or tray.                                the settings smaller and smaller until the        cut pasta over the back of a chair or over a
                                                                                                       clean broom handle to dry if you like.
                                                     desired thickness is reached.
Machine                                                                                                Note: make sure you keep the machine well-
Again work with only half the dough at a             I use the thinnest setting for filled pasta and   dusted with flour while rolling and never ever
time, keeping the other half covered. Press          the second thinnest for fettuccine.               wash the machine in water.

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A9 T u M nu M n                                                                                                                                   page: 15

To Cook Fresh Pasta
Allow at least one litre of boiling water for
every portion of pasta and one teaspoon of
salt to every litre of water – pasta likes to                 Braised Oxtail
swim in plenty of boiling salted water. while                 with PaPPardelle
a little olive oil helps prevent lasagne sheets
                                                              Choose the large meaty sections for this
from sticking together, it is not necessary
                                                              dish. Use the smaller bits for stock           lemOn and Basil linguine
for other pasta. have the water ready at a
rolling boil and over a high heat and drop in                 ServeS 4
                                                                                                             This is a classic in the Italian kitchen,
the pasta. Stir once to prevent sticking and                  2 kg oxtail sections, well trimmed of fat
                                                                                                             especially along the Amalfi coast where
bring back to the boil. Fresh pasta should                    seasoned flour                                 the lemons are plentiful and aromatic.
only take two to three minutes to reach the al                30 g butter                                    Great as a vegetarian dish, but wonderful
dente stage. The best way to test is by tasting               1 tbs olive oil                                with the addition of shredded ham.
it. The pasta should be tender without being                  2 tbs brandy                                   As with any very simple dish all of the
soft and there should still be a slight firmness              2 onions, sliced                               ingredients must be of the best quality.
or resistance when bitten. Drain but do not                   4 carrots, peeled and sliced
rinse as the starchy surface helps the sauce                                                                 ServeS 4
                                                              1 cup red wine
to stick to the pasta.                                                                                        finely grated rind and juice of 2 lemons
                                                                                                              2 tsp crushed garlic
Herbed Pasta                                                  1 bouquet garni (bay leaf, few parsley
                                                                stalks, sprig thyme, a few peppercorns)       2/3 cup best extra virgin olive oil
when the sheets are at the desired thickness,                                                                 plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper
                                                              salt and freshly ground pepper
place whole sprigs of flat leaf parsley on a                                                                    --- the salt balances out the acid
                                                              2 parsnips, peeled and chunked
section of the pasta. Top with another piece                                                                  1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
and press them lightly together; just enough                  1 tbs parsley, chopped
                                                                                                              1 cup basil leaves, torn or roughly
to hold them in place. run this through the                   Toss the tail sections in the flour, then         shredded
pasta machine. Cut into squares and use to                    brown carefully and thoroughly in the           freshly made linguine
garnish a light clear soup.                                   heated butter and oil in a pan. when
                                                                                                              extra grated parmesan to serve
                                                              browned, remove the meat to a casserole
                          Some dishes show off fresh pasta                                                   Make the sauce by combining all of the
                                                              dish and add the brandy. Then brown the
                           better than others. when I make                                                   ingredients down to and including the basil
                                                              carrots and the onions in the same pan,
                         fresh pasta, these are some of my                                                   in a bowl. Bring a large pot of heavily salted
                                                              adding butter and oil if necessary. Add
                             favourite ways to showcase it.                                                  water to the boil and cook the linguine
                                                              these to the meat. Boil the wine in the
                                                              browning pan until it's reduced by half.       --- this should only take about two minutes.
                                                              Add to the casserole dish and then add         Drain it and toss through the dressing.
                                                              enough stock to almost cover the meat.         Serve with the extra parmesan.
                                                              Add the bouquet garni and season well.
                                                                    Cook in a 150˚C oven for about four      Some favourite pasta
                                                                     hours, or until the meat is meltingly   combinations
                                                                     tender. remove bouquet garni, cool
                                                                               and refrigerate overnight.    smoked tuna or salmon, red onion, baby capers, finely
                                                                                                             diced lemon flesh, olive oil and freshly ground black
                                                                            remove the solidified fat and    pepper
                                                                       add the parsnips to the casserole.
                                                                                                             crushed garlic, extra virgin olive oil, rocket leaves or
                                                                     Cook for about an hour to cook the      finely chopped parsley and best quality parmesan
                                                                         parsnips through and to reheat
                                                                                                             slices of black olives, chilli, herbs, capers, extra virgin
                                                                          the braise. Strip the meat from
                                                                                                             olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper
                                                                     the bones, returning it to the sauce.
                                                                                                             with butter, cream, best parmesan and freshly ground
                                                                   Fold through cooked pappardelle and       black pepper
                                                               serve sprinkled with the chopped parsley.

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