Friday, August 26, 2011

Fresh Pasta Dough

Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides.
 Break the eggs into the well.  At this point, you also have the option to flavor the pasta..use spinach, tomato paste, or fresh herbs.
 Add the salt, and olive oil to the hollow center and gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.
 With your hands or a bench scraper continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little flour.

Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.

Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, your rolling pin, your hands, and the work surface.

Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval disk with your hands. Flour a baking sheet for the rolled out finished pasta. Place the oval dough disk on a floured work surface, and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin working from the center of the dough outwards, constantly moving the dough and lifting it to make sure it's not sticking.
Either use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into strips, or flour the dough generously and roll into a tube.  Using a knife or bench scraper cut the dough into thin sections.  If making ravioli, cut into squares, fill, and seal with the prongs of a fork.  Or cut into thick strips for lasagna.
Unroll each section and place on floured cookie sheet.  Bring a large pot of water, oil, and salt to a boil.  Add fresh pasta, return to boil, and cook 7 minutes.
Pour into a strainer and enjoy with your favorite spaghetti sauce.
Grandma H's spaghetti sauce:
1/2 c onion slices
2 T olive oil
1 lb ground beef
2 cloves garlic
1 3 oz can mushrooms (I usually don't add this, not a huge mushroom fan)
4 cups canned tomatoes
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 t sage or oregano
1/2 t accent
1/4 t thyme
1 dash pepper
1 cup water
1 bay leaf
1/8-1/4 cup brown sugar

In a large skillet cook onion in hot oil until almost tender, but not brown.  Add garlic and ground beef, brown lightly.  add sliced mushrooms with liquid.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Simmer uncovered 2 hours or until thick, remove bay leaf.  (I put the lid halfway on while simmering)  Serve on hot spaghetti.

I hope you guys enjoyed it.  Sorry we ended up eating so late!!