Strega Nona

I don’t know if anyone else remembers the children’s book, Strega Nona, about the witch with the magic pasta pot. Her assistant plays with the pot while she is away and ends up flooding the town with pasta! YUM!

strands of pasta

This was always one of my favorite stories as a kid. I never wanted a pony, but I really wanted that magic pasta pot. Hot fresh pasta anytime I wanted it. Hell, I wouldn’t have minded helping “Big Anthony” clean up the town.

My favorite new toy isn’t a magic pasta pot, but it is the next best thing.

pasta machine

I finally got to use my shiny new pasta machine this weekend. Now, I must confess, this is not the first time I have made homemade pasta. I tried before a couple years ago but just could not roll it out flat enough by hand. It tasted okay, but it wasn’t great. The results this time were very different.

I knew the recipe I had was gonna make a lot of pasta but this was just awesome, and so much fun. After mixing the dough I let it rest a few minutes, turned on some good music and … got rollin’ 😉

It took me about four hours start to finish but oh man was it worth the effort. Beautiful, silky, very tasty pasta. And the fact that I made it from scratch just makes it that much better.

pasta

Homemade Pasta

500g Bread Flour (you can substitute all-purpose flour, but bread flour works better)
4 eggs
Corn starch for dusting

Make a mound with the flour on your work surface and scoop out a well in the middle. Pour the eggs into the hole and work the eggs and the flour together with a fork till you have a smooth dough, adding just a little water if necessary.

Knead the dough for ten to fifteen minutes, until it is smooth, firm, and elastic. Cover with saran wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes. 

Separate the dough into four pieces and cover up three with a damp paper towel while you work with the other. Sprinkle the corn starch on your work surface and smush the ball of dough to make it just a little flat, then feed into the pasta machine at the largest setting. Fold the dough in thirds and feed it through again. Repeat 6-8 times to knead the dough. Cover and allow the dough to rest for 10-15 minutes.

If the dough starts to get the least bit sticky while rolling, dust both sides of the dough and the pasta machine with the corn starch.

Turn the pasta machine to the next smallest setting then feed it through again. Flip the dough over so the top is facing down and feed it through again. Turn the machine to the next smallest setting and repeat. Continue till you reach the desired thickness, then cover with saran wrap and repeat with the other balls of dough. Remember to dust the dough with corn starch if it gets sticky.

The dough will get really long as you work with it, so if you need to, cut it to keep it to a workable length.

Once all of the dough has been flattened, allow it to rest covered for 10-15 minutes then feed it through the cutter attachment of your choice and hang your fresh pasta to dry.

Prepare a pot of salted water. Once it has begun boiling, drop the pasta by handfuls, stirring occasionally. Homemade pasta will cook fast, so test it as soon as the water starts boiling again.

Serve and enjoy

I have new sauce recipes I want to try, but I really wanted to get the taste of the pasta itself, so this time I had it with just some browned butter, garlic and parmesan 🙂

A few notes:

1. The first few times you feed your dough through the machine it will probably look a little rough and weird. Just keep folding and feeding it through till it looks good, then do it a couple more times before adjusting the settings.

2. You probably won’t need the smallest, or even the next to smallest setting to get it thin enough. Keep an eye on it and keep in mind that the thinner it is, the faster it will dry, and cook.

3 Keep flouring the dough if you need to. It’s gonna get hard to work with if it gets sticky and the extra flour won’t hurt anything. 

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2 Responses to Strega Nona

  1. Michelle says:

    Oooh, I’m going to follow in your footsteps here. I’ve got all the right attachments for my Kitchen Aid, but haven’t used them yet. I just don’t have that pasta-drying-thingie yet. What’s the point anyway?

  2. lcsa99 says:

    Not much of a point if you’re going to cook it right away. It is good to let it dry a little, and this really helps separating all the strands, but the fresher it is when you cook and/or freeze it, the better it will be.

    Good luck! Let me know how it turns out for you! 🙂

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