Pasta. I love pasta. I just think it’s good with anything and everything. Simply with butter and parmesan, or with red sauce, pesto, carbonara, etc. It is very versatile, you can make a simple dish or you can make it very sophisticated.
While pasta is not considered a Spanish dish, we do eat our fair share of it. There are plenty of traditional pasta dishes in Spain. Macarrones is a typical dish, consisting of pasta, tomato sauce, cheese, and a veal and pork mixture. And then there is Canelones, which is eaten the day after Christmas. It is a baked pasta with a bechamel sauce and a veal and pork mixture. One day, I’ll post the recipes for these. Today, we’ll keep it a little more basic.
Nowadays at the supermarket, you can find many varieties of pasta. Vegetable pasta, whole wheat pasta, semolina, etc. And don’t get me started talking about the different shapes and sizes. It looks like there is a new shape every time you visit the supermarket.
The real question you should ask yourself is… store bought pasta or homemade pasta? Oooh! Homemade!! Definitely!
I know. It’s so easy to just go to the store, buy it and boil it. There are many good store bought pastas, and I do use them from time to time. But once you try homemade pasta you will never want to go back! Plus, it’s fun to make and you can flavor it any way you want and color it with a variety of natural ingredients.
The best thing is how simple it is to make. All you need are flour, egg, salt and olive oil. And once it´s made, it just takes 2 to 4 minutes to cook.
You might think that you can not make homemade pasta because you don’t have the tools, but that’s not true. When I first tried to make pasta, I didn’t have any tools. All I had were a rolling pin and a knife. That’s it, and that’s enough. Now I use a KitchenAid mixer and a pasta maker with a hand crank. I like having my pasta tools, because it makes life easier. While I do usually make the dough in my KitchenAid, this time I made it by hand to show you how easy it is.
Let’s do it!
Ingredients for 4 servings:
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 3 medium eggs
– a generous pinch of salt
– 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
Put the flour in a large bowl. Make a depression or well in the center of the flour. Crack the 3 eggs into the well and add the olive oil and salt.
Using a fork, beat the eggs and start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. You will continue to add more flour to the eggs until you will not be able to use the fork anymore and you will start have to start using your hands.
Once you’ve finished using the fork, knead the dough with your hands until its firm and dry. Once you have a dough ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
After the dough has rested, divide it into 4 pieces.
With some flour on your surface, start rolling the dough with the rolling pin until the dough is very thin.(If you are using a pasta machine: roll the dough with a rolling pin a few times and then continue in the pasta maker until the dough is very thin.)
Set the pasta sheet aside and sprinkle with flour.
Once you have rolled out the four separate balls of dough, now is the time to cut it. (If you are using a pasta maker, just use whichever shape you want.)
If you are shaping by hand, roll the dough lengthwise, then cut it to your desired width, as thin or as thick as you want.
Now you can let the dough dry, or boil it immediately. Do not let the finished pasta sit together. I’ve made this mistake. It will recombine into a big sticky ball and be very difficult to separate. If you are storing it for a while, you need to flour it and leave it separated on your preparation surface, or “hang” it. They make past hangers separately, but you can improvise here as well.
To cook, bring water and 3 tablespoons salt to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water for approximately 2 minutes. It doesn’t take long!
Sauce: (I made a traditional red sauce. This should be prepared before you boil the pasta.)
– 1 Ib, 12 oz (big size) canned whole tomatoes
– 1 tablespoon butter
– olive oil
– salt and pepper
– herbs (optional)
– Heat the tomatoes and butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce on low temperature for at least 20 minutes. I like to add some extra virgin olive oil and some herbs such as a rosemary, oregano, or basil. Stir.
This next step is important. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir gently. This will incorporate the pasta with the sauce and fully coat the pasta.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese and…