Homemade Pasta 201
For those on the board who helped me last time--a million thank yous.
I bought a pasta maker a few months back and, with the help of the new best recipe cookbook and the folks here, have essentially mastered the art of basic flour/egg spaghetti and angel hair. It still clumps a bit (that's probably because I don't separate the strands when I dry it before cooking, aka lazyness), and the dough is quite rich (anyone know what I'm talking about?), but I think that I've got the technique down.
I'm now looking for the 201 course--having taken the intro and enjoyed it, I'd love to take it to the next level. Does anyone have suggestions for appropriate next-level recipes (different doughs, flavors, or usages for a machine that rolls and cuts into the two thicknesses above?). Thought maybe spinach pasta, but then maybe not. Looking for suggestions.
I think putting fresh herbs between two layers of rolled out pasta is pretty cool. (you keep rolling it after making the sandwich) I tried it once; will have to try that one again. For this you probably want to cut the rolled sheet by hand into fairly thick strips, or use in ravioli as the link below does.
adding spinach is something you do in 101.
finely chop spinach with knives or food processor, add to your egg well. or tomato paste, easy peasy.
if it's too rich, you can use less eggs and replace your liquid with water.
your next step would be to keep the pasta in sheets and make stuffed pastas, like ravioli, agnolotti, tortellini, or cutting your noodles by hand.
If you want to try ravioli, get the Norpro ravioli maker from Wms_Sonoma (I had to return the other brand I got at Sur La Tabla.) I enjoyed reading the book: The lost ravioli recipes of Hoboken.
201 is when you throw away the machine and do it all by hand. But I take it that's not going to happen :-) BTW I agree spinach is 101. So use the machine to roll the dough, then make shapes.
So start making ravioli. Do NOT buy a new gadget for ravioli, however. Roll out your sheet and cut a neat rectangle. Lay it out in front of you horizontally and on half the sheet place well-spaced little piles of filling. Fold over the other half of the sheet and press the dough between the heaps. Then cut the ravioli apart with a wheel-type cutter. You can also cut circles of dough with a cookie cutter or inverted glass, put filling on top of each, and fold them into half-moon shapes. Or cut large squares and fold them over into triangles. When you're ready for 301, move on to tortellini.
When you say flour and egg spaghetti, I assume you are talking about a cut, hence square, pasta. That's not spaghetti, which is extruded, it's tonnarelli. Spaghetti has no eggs.
201 is also perfecting your sfoglia, your sheet, getting it more and more tender and thin. Then roll your sheet gently and cut the noodles with a knife to any width you like.
The main reason not to get one is that it is not the best way to make ravioli. Folding dough over little piles of filling then pressing with fingers is more effective and doesn't require finding storage space in your kitchen. I confess I don't know the brand mentioned above. I have a Raviolamp taking up space. I tried to use it once and went screaming to the inverted-glass method.