homemade pasta

for starters, let me apologize that this has nothing to do with weddings, but i felt moved to post this because of the dinner i'm making tonight. just a clarification: i'm not a chef or even a cook, i'm a recipe-follower. so let's begin. 

for fresh pasta i use the recipe from the joy of cooking (p. 213 in the 1975 edition). the joy of cooking is a very serious book and so they don't tell you things you really need to know when making fresh pasta, hence this post.

before you start: cut your fingernails. TAKE OFF ALL RINGS (and bracelets)! push sleeves up really high and make sure they stay there. pull hair back from face and make sure it stays there. wash your hands. put on apron and take a sip of wine!

now, put aside maybe 1/2 cup of flour in a small bowl. you'll need this later when you knead the dough. if you don't do it now, your hands will be covered in sticky dough and you'll get it all over everything. trust me, do it now.  

  • on a large pastry board (yeah, right) or marbe tabletop (um...formica?) make a well of 2/3 cup (if you're making this for one person or really light eaters or as a side dish) all-purpose flour (make well very wide and deep - you'll thank me later for this one). 
  • drop into it 1 egg (if your well isn't deep and wide the egg will go everywhere!)
  • barely combined (i don't even know what that means) with 1/2 teaspoon salt (i use coarse sea salt); 1 teaspoon oil (i use safflower); 1 tablesppon water (i use tap)
  • work the mixture with your hands (which is why you took your rings off!), folding the flour over the egg (and popping the yolk) until the dough can be rolled into a ball and comes "clean" (sarcastic quotes added by me) from the hands. 
  • knead the dough for about 10 minutes (are you f-ing kidding me?! but seriously, do it cuz it makes the pasta SO much better) (yes, your arms will get really tired, if you're out of shape, like me) (now is when you need the flour you set aside: as you knead the dough it will get sticky, dust your surface with a bit of flour and continue kneading; do this as many times as you knead need to)
  • (roll into a ball, put it in a bowl) and let stand, covered (with an upside down small plate) for about 1 hour
  • (flour the surface of your counter) now roll the dough, stretching it a little more with each roll (try not to fold the dough or make bubbles in it)
  • continue to sprinkle dough with flour to keep it from sticking to the pin or the surface (aren't you glad i had you set aside flour?!)
  • do this about 10 times or until dough is paper-thin (we're talking cardstock here)
  • let it dry about 30 minutes by hanging it like laundry with foil underneath it (i've never let mine dry, and it tastes just as good)
  • (start large pot of salted water to boil)
  • before it becomes brittle, roll it into a scroll and cut it into strips in any width you like (if i did let mine dry this step would be so much easier, read that as "dough wouldn't stick together and make it impossible to unroll, why the heck didn't i let it dry first?!")
  • (unroll strips and cut in 1/2 if they're too long)
  • cook in raipidly boiling salted water for about (8-)10 minutes
  • drain (slather with pesto) and enjoy!

good luck! let me know how your pasta turns out.