Here’s an easy, versatile and fun way to get the kids involved in the kitchen– making homemade pasta. It’s a lot easier than you think. You do need a few things but they aren’t expensive and if you don’t want to invest in a pasta maker then you can just you a rolling pin, and to cut the pasta a simple pizza cutter will work. But for me the pasta maker is the way to go and can be bought almost anywhere for around $35.
Most all pasta recipes are the same but I decided to use one I found on the internet that happened to be Mario Batali’s recipe. It worked really well – simple and without a lot of rest time.
To make the recipe here’s what you’ll need.
3 ½ cups flour
4 large eggs
½ tsp olive oil
Clean countertop or wooden board
Bench scraper or spatula
Pasta machine if using
Rolling pin, pizza cutter if not using pasta machine
Put the flour (having extra to dust the board with) into a mound on the cutting board or counter. Make a well inside the flour and then add the eggs and the olive oil. With a fork break up the eggs and mix it into the flour, taking it from the edge to the inside, trying to keep the well intact as much as possible. Once you have about half the flour incorporated into the eggs then you can use your hands to work in the flour. When the flour is completely incorporated into the eggs it’s time to knead the dough. With a bench scraper or a spatula clean off the board. Sprinkle the board with flour then take the ball of dough and using the heel of your hand push the dough forward and then pull it back adding flour when needed. Trust me when making pasta dough, flour is your friend. Kneading is where kids can really get involved. Let them push and pull the dough, let them get a feel for it. They can’t do it wrong.
The dough should be kneaded for about 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Now it’s time for the dough to rest for about 30 minutes, just enough time to clean up and decide what type of sauce you’re going to use. You can wrap it in plastic wrap or waxed paper.
While the dough is resting let’s put a large pot of water onto boil and decide what we are going to use to top our homemade pasta. The simplest way is to use olive oil, butter and some fresh herbs and maybe some grated cheese. But why not let your imagination run? Whatever you top your pasta with please don’t use a canned or jarred sauce! You took the time to make your own pasta give it some love!
After the pasta has rested for 30 minutes then it’s time to break out the pasta machine. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Starting at it’s lowest setting run the pasta through. It will come out as a sheet. Run the pasta through, moving the setting up each time. Like I said before when making pasta –FLOUR IS YOUR FRIEND- so be sure to dust the pasta with flour so it doesn’t stick to the machine. Once the pasta is the desired thickness and length then it’s time to cut it. Most pasta machines have at least two different cutters. Pick which ones you want, usually a thin and a thicker one, then insert the pasta and turn the crank. Be sure to have a cookie sheet or plate to catch it. The pasta dough should have sufficient flour on it so that it doesn’t stick.
Now since your water is boiling and your sauce is ready, drop your pasta in the water, that has been salted. Stir it so it doesn’t stick together. Once it’s floating (it takes just a few minutes) then add it to the sauce. DONE!
Here’s an idea for a simple sauce. In a frying pan melt 2 Tablespoons butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Once they have melted then add minced garlic, a few hot pepper flakes, fresh herbs (like basil) and salt and pepper. When the pasta is cooked, drain and toss it with the sauce.
Enjoy it with a salad and bread.
So get your kids in the kitchen this weekend and make some pasta. It’s messy, it’s fun and it’s delicious!!
Have a pasta sauce recipe that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it!