Yesterday students from our school had a unique opportunity to learn how to make different kinds of the most authentic fresh egg pasta. Our schoolmaster skillfully revealed the secrets of “pasta fresca” and led students gradually in the process of preparing it. We all had great fun and succeeded in preparing various types of coloured pasta.
Simple ingredients and little bit of love is all you need to make your own perfect pasta dough. You need 1 egg per 100g of flour for each person.
Here we share the method of preparation:
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with your finger until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together. Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente.
There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap or a plastic bag.
If using a machine to roll your pasta, make sure it’s clamped firmly to a clean work surface before you start. Dust your work surface with some flour, take a lump of pasta dough and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Fold the pasta in half and roll the pasta through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Once you’ve rolled your pasta the way you want it, you need to shape or cut it straight away. Pasta dries much quicker than you think, so whatever recipe you’re doing, don’t leave it more than a minute or two before cutting or shaping it!
If you want to prepare coloured pasta you do it by adding natural colour extracts to the dough before drying.
The following colours are generally used:
- Black pasta (pasta nera) is coloured with squid or cuttlefish ink, which turns it black.
- Green pasta (pasta verde) is coloured with spinach.
- Purple pasta (pasta viola) is coloured with beets.
- Red pasta (pasta rossa) is coloured with tomatoes.
- Orange pasta (pasta arancione) is coloured with pumpkin or carrots.