How to Make Pasta from Scratch!
When I went to Tuscany last month, I took a lovely little cooking class in the hills of Tuscany and loved every second of it. We learned how to make pasta from scratch and it was surprisingly SUPER easy. This is coming from someone who doesn't generally cook! x) I memorized the recipe and decided to recreate it using the best organic extra virgin olive oil I could find. The brand is Flora Health, a leading manufacturer and distributor of organically produced goods. When it comes to Italian food, extra virgin olive oil isn't just an ingredient; it's an absolute necessity. The chef joked that they don't use olive oil as much as they abuse it (LOL) and I can honestly vouch that's what it really seems like. So, for this recipe, the most defining ingredient you can use is neither the flour nor the eggs, but the extra virgin olive oil. I'll link it below.
Ingredients (to feed two people):
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (as much as your heart desires)
Organic rotisserie chicken
Fresh basil leaves
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Roasted or raw pine nuts
3 cloves of garlic
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Create Your Volcano
Mix the salt and flour before pouring it out on a clean, flat surface. Using your fingers, create a well in the middle of the flour and crack open your eggs. I wanted to make this dish for a large party; hence, I doubled my ingredients.
2. Whisk your eggs with a fork
That's right - the "real" Italian way is to just whisk your eggs with a fork. Is it the most efficient way to do this? Nope. But will you enjoy the satisfaction from seeing it actually work? Perhaps.
3. Bring in the flour
When your eggs have been whisked, start pushing the flour in from all sides and mix it with the eggs as you go. Use the back of your fork to do this (as shown below). Mix as much as you can until it becomes extremely difficult to mix the flour and eggs with the fork. At that point, it's time to knead your dough.
4. Knead like your life depends on it
The kneading process should be the funnest part, but since I stupidly decided to make pasta for 20 people, I ran out of energy by the time my first ball of dough was done x). To knead it correctly, simply fold your dough in half, smash it with your palm, turn it 90 degrees, fold it again, smash it with your palm, repeat. Every time you smash it with your palm, you should sprinkle a bit of flour on the sticky parts of the dough ball. Do this until your ball is no longer sticky, but tacky. It should have the consistency and texture of smooth Playdough.
5. Roll the dough
If you're looking for an easy and pleasant pasta-making experience, just use a pasta machine. It'll save you time and energy. But I wasn't looking for smooth and easy, I was looking for an unnecessary challenge. Get a rolling pin if you want to gain some tougher muscles and a newfound sense of accomplishment. Either way, cover your table with flour so your dough won't stick to it when you start rolling, and roll until you get to a reasonable level of thinness. Thinner is better in this case.
6. Fold and cut
Once you've achieved the level of thinness you want, sprinkle flour generously on your dough and fold it into a little deflated burrito (about 1 1/2 inches). After that, you can start cutting your noodles! Cut it as thick or thin as you'd like. I went with the 1/2 inch size.
7. Unroll the noodles
Your noodles should unroll easily :) set it aside and start working on the pesto!
8. Mix it all in
Again, why use a food processor when you can just spend an hour taking your stress out on these poor ingredients with a good ol' mortar and pestle? :D This old school way also adds character to your pesto because you'll get these yummy chunks you won't necessarily get with a food processor.
Simply add a handful of pine nuts, basil leaves, freshly grated Parmesan, garlic cloves, and salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to eyeball this part because homemade pesto is supposed to be tailored to your taste. There's no right or wrong way to do this!
9. Add the key ingredient
Once you're happy with the base pesto mixture, pour in a relentless amount of extra virgin olive oil.
10. The finishing touches
Boil the noodles for 3-4 minutes, drain and mix in the pesto. Optional: add shredded rotisserie chicken, garnish with basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Not optional: slather the final product with more extra virgin olive oil.
Flora Health has more than just culinary cooking oils, they have organic teas, natural foods, organic pet care products, and soo much more. I love shopping at ethical places I can trust - especially if it's online, well-priced, and delivers quickly. I hope you'll find your next favorite health secret on the Flora Health site!