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The Fresh Pasta Topic

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#1 Scott -- DFW

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 09:23 AM

Some of these questions may be answered in the upcoming eGCI pasta session. But, to get a head start, here are some questions that have arisen as I've made my first attempts at making fresh pasta. Any help is appreciated.

1) I've been using Hazan's recipe of 1 cup of flour (unbleached all purpose) to 2 large eggs. Doing so leaves me with a very sticky dough. I end up having to work in a lot more flour to get it to a rollable texture. So far, this has been a very time consuming process. Is there a faster or easier way to combine the eggs and flour? Or is a half-hour hand workout what I can expect every time?

2) I'm having trouble producing sheets of pasta, rather than long 1.5" to 2" strips. (I'm using the Kitchenaid rolling attachment, widest setting, low speed.) While the strips taste fine when cut and cooked, they pose some problems. First, they're very unwieldy (as in 5 to 6 feet long). Second, when fed through the cutters, because they're so thin they result in a lot more waste (because of the long irregular edges). And, third, their narrow width makes them unsuitable for lasagna, pappardelle, and all but the smallest ravioli. How can I produce wider sheets of pasta?

3) I've tried forming the "nests" that Hazan recommends for drying pasta. But, when I cook the nests, parts of them tend to stick together (and, therefore, remain undercooked and unattractive). I've tried letting the pasta dry a little longer before forming it into the nests, but tend to get the same result. Suggestions?

4) What about refrigerating unrolled dough for later use? Are there any problems (health or taste) with that? Should it be refrigerated before or after kneading? Would it need to be kneaded again before being rolled? How long will it keep in the refrigerator? Any info along those lines would be great.

Thanks!

Scott

#2 Oreganought

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 11:14 AM

Hi Scott,

Don't know about your recipe,but I'll give you mine and the dough generally
comes out on the drier side but a little more elbow grease might be neaded. :wink:

1&1/4 lbs of AP flour
4 whole large eggs
6 yolks
2 tbsp of olive oil
pinch of salt or 2

Combine in a processor and let it form a ball,remove and work the dough
for 10 to 15 minutes by hand.

It's important that you only use a piece the size a large egg each time you
put it through the machine.Using the 1st setting run the dough through and fold
upon itself and repeat at least 10 times this will also allow the dough to
reach the maximum width with of your roller.Now just increase the number each time after that.For my homemade ravioli I go to 7.
Why your dough is not reaching the maximum width is a total mistery,it has nowhere else to go.

This recipe will give you a dry sheet,easy to work with and the extra yolks will give the pasta exceptional mouth feel,more like a dry pasta,not doughy or
chewy.

You can freeze any dough you're not using.

#3 Dryden

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 05:40 PM

The most important thing to keep in mind about fresh pasta is that it is very malleable. If you have lots of waste, grab a ball that hasn't gone through the rollers yet, stick it on, and pass it through a few times. This should all but eliminate your waste problems.

As for the width issues, you may find that by pre-rolling your dough a bit with a rolling pin or wooden dowel, you can get a good width to begin. Each machine has its own quirks as to whether or not it stretches the dough wider while lengthening it. It sounds like your setup does not do this as much, so make sure you are feeding in dough that is as wide as possible to begin.

As for the nests sticking together, FLOUR! Lots of it, to prevent sticking. Also, cooking in batches helps - as each bit of pasta is ready, cook it, and make the next while it cooks. Then fish it out with a spider or something similar, and go on to the next batch. If you pile too much pasta on top of itself, it will eventually stick no matter what you do.

Finally, on the question of how much flour/egg/water, I find that every time I make dough it varies a bit, due to the age/moisture in the flour, the size of the eggs, whatever. The best way to go is to get a feel for what good dough feels like, and shoot for that. It should have a slightly moist feeling to touch, but should definitely not be sticky. Don't be afraid to use more flour if your dough feels way too moist. Also, make sure it is kneaded enough - it's amazing how much the moisture can redistribute. If it seems like certain parts are staying dry and others are staying wet, try ripping the dough ball in half and putting those parts together. It may take a bit longer to work, but you will end up with a more uniform dough in the end.

Hope this helps.
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#4 robyn

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:19 PM

I live in Florida (high humidity) - where making pasta is a sticky proposition (in more ways than one). I find that some semolina pasta flour sprinkled on top of the nests (I use Antoine's - which I can get in my local grocery store) helps a lot. Robyn

#5 robyn

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 07:33 PM

P.S. It's hard to tell without being there - but I use the Kitchenaid pasta attachments too. If your strips are too long and too narrow - perhaps you're starting with balls of dough that are too large - or your roller setttings are too small. We start with a ball of dough that's smaller than a baseball (hard ball - not softball) - with the largest possible setting. Get a sheet that's kind of thick and not very wide. Turn the machine down to the next thinner setting. The sheet is thinner and wider. We usually go through this about 4-5 times - getting down to one of the smaller settings. Note that the first few times we did this - we wound up throwing a way of lot of our early results. So keep experimenting. Robyn

#6 slkinsey

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Posted 25 March 2004 - 08:05 PM

Scott:

1. Use more flour until you get a stiffer texure. It's not an exact science. The dough can be a lot stiffer than you think.

2. When you are rolling the pasta, roll each batch through the rollers several times at the widest setting. Every time you send it through, fold it in half. Sometimes, if the chunk of dough is the right length, turn it sideways and run it through that way. Eventually, the dough will widen out so it takes up the entire width of the roller attachment. Only at this point should you start thinning the dough. The sheet of dough will narrow a little as it is stretched, but nowhere near the 1.5 - 2" you are reporting.

The folding and re-rolling adds extra strength to the dough. I also like to do the folding/re-rolling/sizing stage for all of my pieces of dough right at the beginning and give them a short rest before moving on to the thinning stage. The rest allows the gluten to relax a little, and I also like the texture that results from the slight surface drying before the pasta is thinned.

In re to the cutting: first, I encourage you to expermient with cutting the dough by hand. Just dust the pasta with some flour, roll it up into a jellyroll and cut to the desired width. Any time the pasta gets so long that it is unweildly, just cut in half and put one piece aside while you work on the other piece. Next time, start with a smaller hunk of pasta.

3. See #1 above. If your dough is stiffer, you won't have the problem of your nests sticking together. A little dusting of flour (wheat, semolina or, better yet, rice) helps too.

4. Unrolled dough may be kept several hours in a closed container or covered with a damp cloth. My personal experiences with keeping dough overnight in the refrigerator is that I don't like what it does to the texture of the dough. You can definitely tell the difference between a fresh piece of dough and a day old piece of dough from the fridge. The better thing to do is make the pasta and freeze the unused nests.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#7 MobyP

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Posted 26 March 2004 - 01:43 AM

1)  I've been using Hazan's recipe of 1 cup of flour (unbleached all purpose) to 2 large eggs.  Doing so leaves me with a very sticky dough.  I end up having to work in a lot more flour to get it to a rollable texture.  So far, this has been a very time consuming process.  Is there a faster or easier way to combine the eggs and flour?  Or is a half-hour hand workout what I can expect every time?

2)  I'm having trouble producing sheets of pasta, rather than long 1.5" to 2" strips.  (I'm using the Kitchenaid rolling attachment, widest setting, low speed.)  While the strips taste fine when cut and cooked, they pose some problems.  First, they're very unwieldy (as in 5 to 6 feet long).  Second, when fed through the cutters, because they're so thin they result in a lot more waste (because of the long irregular edges).  And, third, their narrow width makes them unsuitable for lasagna, pappardelle, and all but the smallest ravioli.  How can I produce wider sheets of pasta?

3)  I've tried forming the "nests" that Hazan recommends for drying pasta.  But, when I cook the nests, parts of them tend to stick together (and, therefore, remain undercooked and unattractive).  I've tried letting the pasta dry a little longer before forming it into the nests, but tend to get the same result.  Suggestions?

4)  What about refrigerating unrolled dough for later use?  Are there any problems (health or taste) with that?  Should it be refrigerated before or after kneading?  Would it need to be kneaded again before being rolled?  How long will it keep in the refrigerator?  Any info along those lines would be great.

Thanks!

Scott

The eGCI course starts today (it's in 3 parts). Come over if anyone would like some help. Plenty of pictures of man kneading dough (all dough was of consenting age).

1. The essential problem is what Hazan means by 1 cup of flour. In weight terms, it can mean anything between 100g to 150g, depending on how firmly packed, mounded, piled etc the flour is.

150g per 2 eggs will give you a slightly over-soft dough. But 100g per 2 eggs will give you what you describe - a sticky mess. The answer? Buy some scales! (people singing and dancing in the street). Depending on the weather (but not much), it's roughly 100g per large egg for a moderately flexible dough useful for any of the straight cuts - papardelle, taglietelle, tagliolini etc.

For stuffed pastas, you want something slightly more flexible - 400g to 5 eggs plus a small splash of oil. Or 250g to 3 eggs for a 'half' recipe.

2. As Sam notes, you should run your pasta up to 10 times through the fattest setting, each time folding the piece in 2, or more effectively in 3 (10 to the power of 3 gives you something like 59,000 layers). You'll find by doing this not only that the dough relaxes, and becomes more cohesive, but you'll understand how to moderate the width of the sheet to get the distance you want.

3. Yes - I've had the same problem. The trick - especially with taglietelle, paprdelle etc, is to let the sheet of pasta dry for about 30 minutes before you cut it - you'll feel it become increasingly leathery. With experience, you'll find the point where you can cut it, and still fold it up without it sticking to itself, or cracking and breaking. Also, plenty of semolina flour will help prevent the sticking as it dries.

4. You always need to 'rest' the dough for at least 30 minutes, and preferably a couple of hours after kneading, and before rolling. I have left the in the dough fridge overnight - for one reason or another - rolling it out the next day, and it was basically ok. Slightly less - and here I have to use the most horrible word in gastronomy - 'toothsome.' I wouldn't leave it past a day though.
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#8 Scott -- DFW

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 09:32 AM

Thanks for the replies! I made another batch last night, achieved the right consistency more easily, and got it to roll out wider. I cooked it all, so I didn't get to try the nest-making tips. I'm loving this! And thanks for putting on the great stuffed pastas class, Moby.

Scott

#9 mklynch

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 01:27 PM

Here's a tip that helps when rolling. When I get to about the third setting on the roller, I make a loop with the dough by rolling the ends together, then use my arm to hold the loop apart. When you get to where you attatched it, then change the setting and just keep rolling. Goes alot faster.

#10 MobyP

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 01:48 PM

That's quite scary. I sense the first Pulitzer for Pasta.
"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

#11 robyn

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 04:25 PM

Here's a tip that helps when rolling. When I get to about the third setting on the roller, I make a loop with the dough by rolling the ends together, then use my arm to hold the loop apart. When you get to where you attatched it, then change the setting and just keep rolling. Goes alot faster.

When my husband gets to the third rolling (fresh pasta is his project) - he just calls me and asks me to stand still with my arms held out :smile: . We are not very experienced preparing foods like this - and - even with the Kitchenaid attachments - fresh pasta seems to be a 2 person project. Robyn

#12 peppyre

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 02:21 PM

I would like to make use of my Kitchen aid mixer that I got for Christmas and the pasta maker that I bought a year ago. I'm thinking pasta is on the menu for this evenings dinner. Does anyone have a recipe that works everytime. The last time I made fresh pasta I wasn't that impressed with the recipe, although it could have been the technique. All help appreciated.

#13 DaleJ

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 02:43 PM

I make pasta virtually every weekend. And I have it mastered.

Put about a half to three quarters of a cup (I never measure) of cake flour in a food processor. Add twice as much unbleached flour. Crack two eggs into the FP. Whiz it and while operating add (very carefully) perhaps a teaspoon or so of water. When it forms a ball turn it off. Dump on a floured counter, form into a ball and cover for a twenty minutes or so.

Cut the ball into four pieces and process each in a hand cranked pasta machine on the widest setting a half dozen or so times. You may have to drag each strip in flour to keep from clogging the machine. Lay each strip down and diminish the setting by one notch. Run each strip through twice and set the rotors to the next smallest setting, etc., etc., stopping at the second to last setting (if making ravioli) or the last if making fettucini, etc.

Drape the strips over coat hangers or other horizontal surface (I use the back of a laddrerback chair) so they can dry. Allow to dry for a half hour or so (depending on the ambient humidity). Place the cutting rollers on the machine and process. Scatter the strands on a dusting of corn meal so they do not cling to each other. When sufficiently dry package in a ziplock bag and freeze.

#14 Suzanne F

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 02:48 PM

I like a variation of the version that comes in the KitchenAid Pastamaker (extruder)booklet in every language EXCEPT English. :rolleyes:

250 grams all-purpose flour
250 grams semolina flour
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix everything with the paddle on Speed 2 for 30 seconds; change to dough hook and knead on Speed 2 for 2 minutes. Hand knead for a minute or 2, let rest covered for about 15 minutes, then divide and roll.

#15 melkor

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 02:50 PM

For egg based fresh pasta I always use 100g semolina, 1 egg, and a pinch of salt. That makes enough for two people, double/triple/etc works fine. Mix in a bowl and run through the rollers (I use a hand-crank machine).

#16 peppyre

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Posted 10 January 2005 - 02:53 PM

This is why I love eGullet :wub: Two great versions in less than half an hour.

DaleJ, does it really need to dry that long before cutting? I get home after 5 and I'm hoping to eat around 8pm, do you think this is reasonable for an afterwork dinner?

**make that 3 versions, and mine is a hand crank machine as well. I'm just hoping to mix up the dough in the kitchenaid.**

Edited by peppyre, 10 January 2005 - 02:54 PM.


#17 MobyP

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 05:09 AM

If you're cutting by hand - i.e. folding up and slicing - then it usually takes 15-30 mins to take on that leathery feel. Otherwise it tends to stick together.

The two other issues are developing the gluten, and resting. I have a kitchen aid, and it's pretty useless at kneading dough for quantities under a pound of flour (450g) - and even then, it often gets caught up in the paddle, and is still almost always easier to do by hand in a large bowl, or on a flat surface.

In the kitchen aid, or on a surface, you should knead the dough for at least 8 minutes. I heard that Batali - doing a huge amount of dough at a time - did it for up to an hour.

If you're interested, I did an eGCI course here, though with a recipe more suited to ravioli.

For basic pasta, the simplest ratio is 100g flour (a little under 1 cup) to 1 large egg. I find that this is approximately enough for one good eater.

The resting is important because it gives the grains of flour time to expand as they absorb the moisture. Also, I'm told, it allows the gluten to develop further. I usually leave it for between 1-3 hours, wrapped, in the fridge.

Edited by MobyP, 11 January 2005 - 05:29 AM.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

#18 bleudauvergne

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 06:24 AM

I recommend Moby's pasta class, it is fabulous.

You can incorporate herbs in the dough - I was making lots of whole wheat pasta using only whole wheat flour and whole semoulina. Recipe here for whole wheat pasta using basil

#19 fatmat

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 06:47 AM

Just a tip.

When I first made pasta by hand, i didn't know that the dough was meant to be quite dry, and would be very difficult to knead and get smooth. I made the mistake of adding more liquid and ended up with dough that was to soft to work in the machine.

#20 DaleJ

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 08:39 AM

peppyre: I think, front to back, two hours should do it (again, depending on your ambient humidity).

#21 iriee

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 10:30 PM

for a nice light pasta for an open ravioli try this:: in a food processer mix 20 ounces all purpose flour,,,5 whole eggs,,,5 yolks,,1/4 cup parmason cheese and 3 oz. melted butter. we call them silk hankerchiefs. roll real thin and cut into 4 by 4 squares.
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#22 Chufi

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 08:09 AM

well, this thread inspired me to read Moby's course and that inpsired me to dig up my 10-year old, not much used pasta machine. I decided to spend the afternoon making tortelli.
It took me about 2 hours to make the whole batch (400 grams flour). For the filling I mashed frozen peas with fresh mint, pecorino and ricotta. I froze almost the whole batch but ofcourse I had to try a couple:

Posted Image

they are GREAT. the sweetness of the peas, the saltiness of the cheese, and the soft chewy firmness of the pasta... mmm..
(one thing though.. be prepared to take out the vacuumcleaner when you're done.. I had semolina everywhere)

#23 MobyP

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 08:48 AM

Man - they look great.... (Homer gurgling sound)
"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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#24 slkinsey

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 09:31 AM

I'm always interested to see how many American fresh pasta recipes include some form of strong wheat (durum, semolina, bread flour, etc.). When I'm making fresh pasta I like it to be silky and soft -- not gummy, but also without having a firm bite. So I like to use AP flour at the strongest, although I prefer 00 and am not above cutting the AP with some lower gluten flour like cake or pastry. Unless I'm making one of the Southern Italian fresh pastas, like orechiette, that need semolina. This isn't really a "better or worse" thing, more that I prefer the Emilia-Romana style when I'm making fresh pasta.

Anyway, like just about everything I do in cooking, I never measure. I just plan on about one egg (or two egg yolks if making egg yolk pasta) per person, toss it in either the food processor or KA depending on how much I am making, and mix in enough flour to form a very firm dough. That gets kneaded by machine until it starts to look glossy and uniform, rested for at least 30 minutes at room temperature and then formed into noodles.

If I am making pasta alla chitarra, I just flatten it out with a rolling pin and roll it through the chitarra. If I'm making tagliatelle, papardelle, etc. I use the roller attachment for my KA, rolling/folding/reinserting each piece of pasta until it looks smooth and uniform, then resting it while I do the same with the rest of the dough, then thinning the dough with progressively narrower runs through the rollers, then rolling the dough into a cylinder and cutting it to the width I want (pasta machine cutters never seem to work very well, and this allows me to get the exact width I want).

Then I turn this:

Posted Image


Into this:

Posted Image


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#25 Chufi

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 09:42 AM

thanks Moby!
one other thing.. I used your recipe for the fava bean stuffing, only replaced the fava beans with peas (and added some mint). The great thing was, that after I had rerolled all the dough scraps for more tortelli, I had exactly used up all the filling! Usually when making recipes that require stuffing of any kind, I always end up having too much stuffing (or not enough). So I thought this was pretty amazing.

#26 peppyre

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 12:23 PM

I didn't get around to making pasta the night I wanted to and have determined that for an after work dinner, it may be too much. Especially since I am easily distracted lately. But, after seeing these results and reading the instructions, I think this weekend I may be freezing some pasta.

#27 Jensen

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 01:20 PM

I definitely second the recommendation on Moby's eGCI course (link up there ^). I quit trying different pasta recipes after I tried his.

#28 M. Lucia

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 02:14 PM

I just tried making pasta for the first time and I found my pasta came out too chewy. Not smooth, silky, or light.
Making the dough was fine (I used about 2 1/2 cups flour and 3 eggs), rested, and I rolled it by hand. Cut out strips and hung to dry on a broomhandle for about 20 mins. Cooked for 3 mins.
I think the problem may have been in either the dough consistency or my rolling it out. The dough was rolled out quite thin but I don't know if it was as dry as some others describe.
Perhaps someone could offer some advice?

#29 bleudauvergne

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 03:00 PM

well, this thread inspired me to read Moby's course and that inpsired me ...

Posted Image

they are GREAT. the sweetness of the peas, the saltiness of the cheese, and the soft chewy firmness of the pasta... mmm..
(one thing though.. be prepared to take out the vacuumcleaner when you're done.. I had semolina everywhere)

View Post


Chufi - WOW! Gorgeoous and delicious too I'm sure!

#30 bleudauvergne

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Posted 12 January 2005 - 03:03 PM

I just tried making pasta for the first time and I found my pasta came out too chewy. Not smooth, silky, or light.
Making the dough was fine (I used about 2 1/2 cups flour and 3 eggs), rested, and I rolled it by hand. Cut out strips and hung to dry on a broomhandle for about 20 mins. Cooked for 3 mins.
I think the problem may have been in either the dough consistency or my rolling it out. The dough was rolled out quite thin but I don't know if it was as dry as some others describe.
Perhaps someone could offer some advice?

View Post


M. Lucia, how did you mix the dough? describe the process. How long did you knead it? :rolleyes:





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