Do you know what I love about pasta? It’s incredibly versatile. You can dress it up with heavy sauces and hearty meats for winter, or dress it down with crisp veggies and light sauces for warmer months. Pasta is loved by all, and an easy dish to put together in a pinch.
As an Italian, pasta is a staple in my home. I usually eat anywhere from 3-4 pasta dishes a week! Sometimes it’s as simple as rigatoni with a light pesto sauce or as glamorous as Shrimp Scampi.
A couple of years ago I was given the pasta maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. I find myself pulling it out of the box every spring, and turning my weekends into pasta-making events. My pasta maker gets a workout rolling and pressing the thick dough – transforming it into long, flowing linguine, short, stubby rigatoni, and sheets of lasagna.
When I first began my love affair with pasta making, I was surprised by how incredibly easy it actually is. All it takes is three simple ingredients that most people have on hand: flour, eggs, and salt.
I like to experiment with different flours. My favorite is Semolina. A traditional Italian flour, Semolina is much coarser than your standard unbleached white flour, but it produces a sturdier dough (thanks gluten!) that can be manipulated into a variety of different shapes. Unbleached white flour can produce a thin, delicate dough that can tear easily. When I learned to make pasta, my mother suggested using 1-part Semolina flour to 4-parts unbleached flour. The results were amazing. The dough was much easier to work with and I wasn’t cursing the heavens because my sheets kept tearing.
There are many ways to roll out your dough. You can use your Kitchen Aid mixer attachment, a hand-crank pasta roller, or a trusty rolling pin. Each method works and produces delicious results. What’s nice about pasta rollers and attachments is that it helps keep your pasta uniform in thickness and length.
This weekend will be my first pasta-making weekend of the season. I’m planning on making some spinach linguine and lemon pasta. I can’t think of a better way to welcome the season. So, who’s ready to welcome spring with some freshly made pasta?
(The directions below are for those who do not have a pasta roller.)
· 1 1/2 cups of unbleached flour
· 1/4 cup semolina flour
· 1 tsp salt
· 1 tsp olive oil
· 2 eggs
Place flour and salt in a mixing bowl or on a floured surface. Make a well in the center; add eggs and olive oil.
Mix until well blended; gather mixture into a ball. Turn onto a floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes. Divide into thirds.
Roll out each portion of dough into a paper-thin rectangle. Lightly dust both sides with flour; roll up jelly-roll style. Cut into 1/4-in. slices.
Unroll noodles on paper towels to dry for at least 1 hour. Proceed with recipe as directed.
Fresh pasta can last for up to three days in the fridge and up to three months in the freeze. If you want to get the most out of your pasta, it’s best to dry it and store in a cool, dry place.
Here are a few delicious recipes you can make with your freshly made pasta:
Get this recipe: Creamy Pasta Primavera
Get this recipe: Makeover Rigatoni with Bacon & Asparagus
Get this recipe: His Favorite Ravioli
Get this recipe: Lemon Chicken Tortellini
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