Homemade Pasta

One of the easiest things to make from scratch at home is pasta. The ingredient list is similar to pie crust - flour, fat and a little liquid - but unlike pie crust, pasta is forgiving, which gives you a lot of room to play around. And fresh pasta is infinitely superior to the dried stuff in the cardboard box, but also quite a step up from the stuff in the dairy case.

The basic recipe that my counterpart uses is the egg noddle recipe that came with the pasta attachment to our Kitchen-Aid mixer. He's committed it to memory, so he no longer bothers with the recipe. Or the Kitchen-Aid for that matter.

Start with a couple of handfuls of flour and a couple of eggs and mix vigorously by hand on a large cutting board. Incidentally, he uses the same board for pasta that I use for pie crust. Basic all-purpose flour is a good choice. You can add a little of another variety for a different texture. My counterpart has included whole wheat, buckwheat and oat at various times.

Add some oil, a little at a time, and continue kneading the dough.

You should have a little water nearby. Add the water until the dough is firm yet elastic and not sticky. At this point, you can also add some herbs and seasoning.

Roll it into a ball and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then roll and cut.

Now here's a secret. You don't really need any fancy equipment. You can roll it out on your cutting board and cut it with your chef's knife.

My counterpart was making orzo to go with my birthday venison on this occasion. The device he is using below is another quality find from Warehouse Restaurant Equipment in Green Bay.

Remove from the cutting board and boil.

Note that the fresh pasta will cook quicker that the dried stuff in the cardboard box. It will also hold a sauce better. If you have leftovers, you need to eat them within a couple of days.