Book of the Month: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
There are two foods that are essential to watching each Eagles game, according to Patrick “Pat” Solitano: crabby snacks, a combination of crab meat and spray cheese, and homemades, which is egg pasta. One of those things I can definitely get behind. It almost makes me like sports.
The first time I tried to make pasta at home was a disaster. I had seen my mom making it when I was little but remember next to nothing about how it was actually done. I was also under a lot of pressure: it was my boyfriend’s birthday. It was our first big celebration together and I wanted it to be really special.
As if that wasn’t enough pressure, I was planning on making the sauce and bread from scratch as well. Eh, I was in love.
Not long after, I was found in the kitchen, covered in flour and swearing as I tried to knead the dough until it achieved “an elastic consistency.” It was not going well. When I tried to crank it through the pasta roller, it gunked up and I was in tears.
Eventually, we were able to clean up the mess and make enough pasta for a small army. But I vowed I would not enter into battle with fresh pasta again.
Recently, I’ve had a change of heart. I stumbled across several recipes which called for starting the dough in a food processor. When I found one with a Martha seal of approval, I knew I had to give it a go.
In an empty house, with no one else to disappoint, I put together this simple dough and was wow-ed by the results.
I encourage you all who are nervous about making fresh pasta to try. If you use whole-wheat or gluten-free flour, let me know how this recipe works out for you!
300 g or 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until ingredients come together and form a dough. Sometimes the dough will not come together. It will just form a sandy dough which squashes together. Don’t worry. It will all work out. If the dough does come together in the food processor, process it for a minute or so to make the dough smoother.
Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead very very hard for 10 full minutes. Set a timer and don’t stop.
Wrap in plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will allow the dough time to hydrate and rest.
Take the dough out of the fridge. Cut off a chunk and re-wrap the rest. Roll out the dough as thinly possible as you can on a lightly floured surface. Or use a pasta machine if you have one. Check that the dough isn’t sticking.
Cut into wide strips, about 1 inch wide. Spread the strips out and let them dry slightly. A cooling rack works well or a laundry drying rack. Don’t let them stick to each other. Otherwise you will end up with a knot of pasta and you will have to re-roll it out.
You can leave it to dry for several hours. When you are ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Drop in the pasta gently and boil for no more than a 1 minute.
Test it by removing a strand and tasting it. Drain and serve with your sauce of choice.