Last Wednesday I got home from work and just wanted to veg. I was agitated, annoyed, and frustrated with everything that’s been happening. To sum up, life at work has been absolutely nutty for the past six weeks, and I have a few things that I am working on outside of work that are adding pressure faster than I could have imagined. The perfect storm for a night to wallow…but then I got an idea – I kneaded to work out the stress. (Sorry, couldn’t help it, the pun was staring me in the face.)
All you need are eggs and flour to make delicious pasta, and here’s something I wasn’t quite ready to admit to the Interwebs just yet: after almost a year, I have finally figured out how to use my pasta press properly! I know where the little latch goes to lock it down on my countertop! Imagine that!
from Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio, which is an amazing book. I’ll talk about that more later.
- 9 oz. all-purpose flour or fancy flour if you have some (I do not. I shouldn’t be trusted around excessive amounts of carbs.)
- 6 oz. eggs (I try to add more yolks than whole eggs – i.e. 3 yolks + 2 eggs is roughly 6 oz.)
Add flour in a medium or large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and toss in eggs. Stir together to form a dough, using a spatula or a fork. Once dough comes together (it doesn’t always all come together into one ball – that’s OK), dump onto a well-floured surface and try to continue integrating the dough and the little stubborn crumbs, and start kneading. Kneading, to me, means pushing the dough away with the heel of your hand, folding, turning 90 degrees, repeat. Continue this for 5-10 minutes (closer to 10) while imagining your stress being beaten up in that dough – it really helps! You’ll know when you’re done by looking at and touching the dough. It should feel smooth and velvet-like, almost. Form into a ball, seam side down if you have seams, and cover with the mixing bowl. Let rest on floured surface for at least 10-15 minutes.
When the dough is ready to be rolled out, divide into 4 parts for easier handling. Cover the dough you’re not using with the bowl. You can roll the pasta out thinly with a rolling pin if you don’t have a pasta press. Make sure if you’re doing so, that you flour everything well and continue rotating the dough as you roll it so it doesn’t stick. Get it as thin as you can, then flour the top well, roll it up gently, and slice into noodle widths with a sharp knife.
With a pasta press, I always find it easier to pass my dough through the flat lasagne press first to get it to my desired thinness, before pressing through the noodle cutters to get the noodle sizes. Again, flouring well is important, as is the patience of slowly working your press. You’ll find that the dough takes on a bit of an attitude in that the pressing process can’t be rushed, so enjoy it. It can be therapeutic to watch your stress get shredded into yummy, thin, delicate noodles!
I topped mine with the tomato sauce with onion butter from Deb at smittenkitchen, and some homemade meatballs that I conjured up, but am too lazy to type up the recipe right now. I will soon though – they’re gluten-and-carb-free, which makes over-indulging in pasta a little more justified!
Oh, and an update on the way things have been since last week’s kneading session? Let me just say, at the rate things are going, I think I’m going to have a freezer full of Ziploc bags of pasta soon – and that, my friends, is also known as making lemonade when life gives you lemons.