THESE ARE THE NOODLES that I made to accompany the boeuf bourguignon earlier this week. This is my own recipe: as far as I know, Julia Child never gave a recipe for fresh pasta or homemade noodles.
THIS RECIPE requires a pasta maker.
- 1 cup Durum semolina (see Tips and Techniques, below)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (or another cup of semolina and additional liquid)
- 3 whole eggs, beaten lightly
- 1 TB olive oil
- pinch of salt
- a spoonful or two of water, if necessary
TURN the dough onto a counter and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and silky. Semolina dough is rather stiff.
NOTE: You will learn the feel by experience: luckily, if your first sheet doesn't turn out you can re-mix the batch, adding a drop more water if it's too dry and breakable or a spoonful more flour if it's too wet and sticky, and letting it rest again. It's not like pie dough: you can't ruin it by handling it!
DIVIDE the dough into 8 equal parts, flatten them a bit, put them on a floured tray and cover them with plastic while they rest, for about half an hour. (This will relax the gluten.)
INSTALL the pasta machine and follow its directions for sheeting and cutting the pasta. (I put it through No. 1 seven times, through 2 to 5 just once; I leave it at No. 5 for cutting into fettucine.)
Let the sheets dry a bit on a floured cloth before putting them through the cutter; they will stick less that way. If the room is too warm, cool the dough before cutting it.
Coat the noodles with lots of flour or corn starch to prevent them from sticking. Shake off the excess before plunging into boiling water.
(You don't have to make noodles with the whole batch. Lasagna and ravioli are just two of the other dishes you can make with your own fresh pasta.)
COOKING THE PASTA. Even though many recipes say that fresh pasta only requires seconds to cook, I find that it needs the same amount of time as regular pasta from the store – i.e., about 15 minutes. I'm probably doing something wrong, but I've been doing the same wrong thing with the same great results for about thirty years!
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TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
DURUM SEMOLINA. Durum semolina (and Durum flour) come from a special variety of high-protein wheat by that name; it's mostly grown in Canada. Durum flour is just finely ground semolina.
I use Durum semolina for all my pastas. They taste better and don't fall apart.
I buy it at the bulk store, but it's usually available at health food stores and gourmet grocery stores.
I prefer the semolina over the flour because it keeps a little longer, but basically they're interchangeable. Both are sometimes called for in other Italian recipes, such as pizza and bread. Once you start stocking it you'll be looking for other ways of using it because you will love the distinct flavour it imparts!
In Italy, all pastas are made from 100% Durum semolina – just read any imported pasta label.
Semolina is more expensive than regular wheat flour: I have found that adding all-purpose flour in the proportion indicated in this recipe retains the quality while keeping down the cost.
If you use Durum flour instead of semolina, you may need to adjust the liquid.
Durum semolina and Durum flour should be kept in the refrigerator, as they tend to go rancid otherwise.