I am always amazed at how dinner came together every night before 10 minutes in a store would yield everything you needed to make a complete meal. To many it seems almost unthinkable to not have a store nearby, but it has only been about 100 years since a majority of us made almost all of our foods from basic staples and did not make weekly pilgrimages to our local grocery store to pick up “a few things”.
While I understand that the “everything from scratch” lifestyle is not realistic for many of us now, I have my moments where I like to get in the kitchen and really DIY good food. This generally happens during the weekend when all my people are around to pitch in and we have nowhere to go and nothing to do. My absolute favorite family style DIY is pasta, which is at it’s most basic flour and water. The process is long, can require special equipment and is not practical for a busy night dinner, but it is an experience that is worth every minute to have, not to mention the taste of the finished product! Watching something as simple as flour and water go from a mess in a bowl to a thin noodle boiled to perfection and topped with amazing fixings is magic. This is magic I love to perform in my house when I can and I hope you will give it a try and see how good food can be with a little effort.
Prep Time: 45 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours (including rest) Serves: 8
- 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Prepare a flat work surface and lightly dust with flour
- Place flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center of the flour with your hand
- Add salt and slowly pour water into well
- Using a fork or spoon, gently incorporate the flour and the water by pushing the flour into the well of water and mixing gently to combine
- When the flour and water are mixed well, use your hands and begin to knead the mixture in the bowl. Once you have all flour and water mixed and few flour pockets remain, gently remove the dough from the bowl and move to work surface
- Using strong back and forth motions, knead the flour for 8-10 minutes. The dough should become softer to the touch as you knead and should have a light spring when a finger is gently pressed on the dough
- Divide the dough into two balls and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to rest for 1 hour
- While dough is resting, set up pasta drying rack to hang cut pasta
- Remove the plastic wrap from one ball and gently pull and shape into a flat, long rectangle. Using a pasta maker per the instructions, roll out the dough until it is flat and smooth. You may have to roll the dough through the machine multiple times to achieve desired thickness and should cut the dough in half if it becomes to long to handle in the rolling out process
- Attach the setting for the type of pasta you are making per the pasta maker instructions (we made spaghetti) and slowly roll each part of the flattened dough through the machine, ensuring that you or a friend grab the spaghetti and guide it out of the machine and ensure no dough remains stuck in the machine
- Hang each piece of spaghetti onto the drying rack and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough
- Once all dough has been rolled and cut, generously salt a large pot of water and bring to a boil
- Add desired amount of spaghetti to pot and cook, stirring frequently and ensuring that the pasta does not clump, for 2-3 minutes
- Top with desired sauces, vegetables, or proteins and enjoy!
- This recipe is for a basic dough, so feel free to shape and cut this how you see fit. Whip up thick fettuccine, skinny angel hair, large lasagna sheets or whatever other shape you desire your pasta to be!
- This is one of a very few recipes where I recommend and almost urge you to have the kitchen gadget to make this. But if you are unsure if investing in a pasta machine and drying rack are really how you want to spend your cash, it’s still very much doable without it. After all, I’m guessing most kitchens of the past turned out amazing pasta without the help of a dough roller:) In step 10, use a well floured work surface and a rolling pin to roll the dough to the desired thickness. Rotate the dough so the bottom becomes the top to ensure your dough is not sticking to the work surface or rolling pin, and add a bit of flour as needed. Once you have your dough rolled out, use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut the dough into thin strips that look like spaghetti. Then dry the pasta on large cookie sheets covered with parchment paper and a light dusting of flour and proceed per the instructions above.
- The 2-3 minute cook time is important to note, as most boxed and dried pasta from the stores takes between 8-14 minutes to cook. My rule of thumb is to just stay with the pasta for the whole cook time because fresh made pasta tends to stick together a bit more and you will need to be there there to mix and pull the pieces apart.
- From scratch pasta can be used exactly how you would boxed pasta and I have actually found that a bit of good quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and sautéed onion and garlic make for a wonderful meal with fresh pasta. With a big loaf of French bread of course:)
- Fresh pasta has a shorter shelf life than boxed so I would aim to use this pasta up within 3-4 days. I store mine in large zip-top bags in the refrigerator as I have tried to store it in the pantry in the past with some pretty gross results. So keep this one cold and get it all eaten up. Which I would think would not be a problem at all!