Fresh pasta

Fresh pasta

By
From
Leiths How to Cook
Serves
4
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

We use whole eggs in our pasta for general purpose use. For a richer flavour, silky smooth texture and more vibrant colour, use only egg yolks or a combination of whole eggs and yolks (2 yolks for 1 whole egg). No salt is added to pasta as it absorbs moisture and can give the pasta a speckled appearance. Salt added to the cooking water will be absorbed by the pasta as it cooks.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
400g ‘00’ pasta flour, plus extra to dust
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre.
  2. Break the eggs into the well and add the olive oil; the well will hold the eggs and oil.
  3. Using the fingers of one hand, combine the eggs and oil, gradually drawing in the flour.
  4. Continue until you have a firm, rather than wet and sticky, dough; you will not need to incorporate all the flour. Scrape aside any leftover flour to prevent it from making the dough stiffer.
  5. Lightly flour a clean surface. Turn the dough onto it and start to knead it.
  6. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Wrap the dough well in cling film and leave it to relax in a cool spot in the kitchen (not the fridge) for at least 45 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Note

  • The longer the pasta rests the easier it will be to roll out. It is possible to make a quick pasta that only rests for 15 minutes, but the texture will not be quite as silky. It can be rested overnight in the fridge, but needs to be transferred to a cool room temperature 20 minutes before rolling out.

A note on ‘00’ pasta flour…

  • Type ‘00’ pasta flour is a high gluten/high protein flour that is milled to a much finer texture than most flours (the fine milling is indicated by the ‘00’), resulting in a silky, smooth pasta texture.

Making pasta in a food processor

  • Put the flour, eggs and olive oil in the food processor bowl and switch the machine on. The ingredients will create a coarse crumb as the flour absorbs the eggs and oil. Switch off, take a little of the crumb between your fingertips and work it into a dough. If the crumb comes together quite easily, is firm and a little tacky, not too dry and stiff and not sticky, then tip it onto a lightly floured surface and knead into a dough.

    If the dough is very stiff and dry looking, then add more beaten egg, about a quarter of an egg at a time, pulsing the mixture and checking the consistency after each addition.

    If the dough is very soft and sticky, add about 1 tablespoon flour at a time until you achieve the correct consistency.

Variations

  • Spinach pasta: Blanch 250 g spinach, refresh, squeeze to remove as much water as possible, then purée and pass through a sieve to give a fairly dry paste; you might need to add a little egg yolk to achieve this. Follow the fresh pasta recipe but use 3 rather than 4 eggs, adding the spinach to the flour well with the eggs.

    Tomato pasta: Add about 2 teaspoons tomato purée to the flour well with the eggs.

    Herb pasta: Add 1–2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs to taste, such as parsley, thyme or tarragon, with the eggs.

    Beetroot pasta: Add 1 small cooked, peeled and puréed beetroot with the eggs.

    Cracked black pepper pasta: Mix 1–1½ tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper into the flour before adding the eggs and oil. Best cut into tagliatelle. Drain well after cooking and toss in olive oil. Serve drizzled with a little truffle oil and sprinkled with Parmesan shavings and basil leaves.

    Saffron pasta: Toast ½ teaspoon saffron strands in a hot, dry frying pan for 30 seconds, then tip into a small bowl, cover with 2 teaspoons boiling water and leave to infuse and cool. Add the saffron and soaking water to the eggs and oil when making the pasta. Excellent cut into tagliatelle, well drained after cooking and tossed with flakes of hot-smoked salmon, or finely sliced gravadlax, and some crème fraîche and dill sprigs.
Tags:
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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