Egg pasta

Egg pasta

By
From
Modern Italian Food
Serves
6
Photographer
Earl Carter

Flour combined with eggs is one of the most successful culinary combinations. In a savoury sense, you get pasta. Add a little sugar and you get simple cakes, such as my favourite sponge cake. A sponge cake, flavoured with chocolate or dressed up with passionfruit or some fresh strawberries, served with a cup of tea or coffee, must be one treat that will never go out of fashion. The Italian tradition includes many simple treats based on eggs and flour, particularly in the biscotti family.

Egg-based pastas are easy to prepare and provide an endless source of simple pleasures. Making your own pasta fills you with a sense of achievement; preparing the filling or the sauce is equally rewarding. Traditionalists might well suggest classic fillings and sauces, but your imagination can take you to very special places. The main thing is to be familiar with pasta-making. It is easy as long as you do not give up at the first attempt. Like learning to ride a bike, you don’t give up at the first fall!

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g plain flour
5 large eggs

Method

  1. This is a basic recipe, and like all basic recipes it may require adjustments here and there – a little more flour or a little more egg yolk may be needed, depending on the quality of the flour and the size of your eggs. Put the ingredients in a large bowl and start by mixing with a fork until roughly combined. Tip the dough out onto your work surface and continue to work by hand. In the good old days, Italian mammas had a special pasta board – really, just a simple board made out of a few slats of timber, but used specially for pasta-making. (A handyperson could knock something like this up in a few minutes.) The main thing to remember is never to wash the board.
  2. Knead the dough vigorously until the flour and eggs are well combined to a smooth paste. It should be neither too hard or stiff, nor too soft. As you practise the art of pasta-making, your hands will learn how the dough is progressing and whether adjustments to the proportions are needed. After kneading, place the dough in a plastic bag for an hour to give it time to rest and relax at room temperature.
  3. After the dough has rested you can roll it out to the required shapes. My advice is to buy a special pasta machine that makes light work of the job. (Of course you can roll it out with a rolling pin, but this is really quite tricky.) Another useful little tool is the small gadget used to cut out ravioli – it has a small wooden handle with a round crenulated wheel attachment that you roll across to the dough to cut out ravioli shapes. It is NOT the fancier contraption that you can buy to make six ravioli at a time.
  4. Home-made pasta is perfect for making filled pasta to cook in a broth; popular varieties include tor tellini and cappellacci. Then there are lovely little pasta butter flies to serve with delicate chicken rissoles.
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