Despite having had this pasta maker for over a decade, I’ve never made good pasta. Most of my rolled pieces looked like they’d been made love to by a small dog. As is often the case, we attribute this to some innate personal failing. This deficit could have been transferred as a credit to some kind of projected perfect noodly deity who for some reason is deservedly punishing me. The enlightened solution is that there are problems because I was doing it wrong. Michelle the sous chef, gave me a new task at work , asking if I could make pasta and I gave my standard response to these kinds of questions which is “erm ahm yes but I’m pretty crap so could you show me”. My main problem was not enough flour on the dough. Any wet spots should be dusted throughout the rolling process. Also remember to dust the pasta roller and NEVER WASH IT EVER. A few finessing points like folding the pasta up the arm and a quick flick of the pile and clumsy, clumsy, success. No magic, just technique. I try and repeat whatever I learn on the weekend, so pasta it was last night, with beetroot for a bit of colour.
I found some “00″ rated flour at the Boatshed Markets in Cottesloe. You can use plain flour. From here it’s just making a circular dam of flour and breaking the eggs in the middle. Work the flour into the centre with a fork until it’s combined and then start kneading, adding flour to keep it from being sticky. Knead, turn, knead, turn, for about five minutes until it’s smooth, shiny, and bounces back when you poke it. At some stage you should have remembered to add the beetroot you finely grated. A bit of a thought about this. You could run it through a juicer or just grate it and then press it through a seive. I used a plastic oroshi grater. It’s usually used for daikon or ginger but it gets a nice fine consistency with beetroot and leaves only one thing to wash up.
It’s one of those read somewhere and can’t verify things is you wrap the dough in glad wrap and put it in the fridge for half an hour. Is this necessary. Anyway you can keep it in the fridge or freeze it until you’re ready. Rolling it just before the meal is a nice trick.
I cut the dough in half. Squashed it a little, dusted it with flour and ran it through the widest “1″ setting twice. Then up to “3″ and then one run at each setting up to “6″, dusting as necessary. You cann fold the roll and rest it on your forearm, unfolding it as you go along. Then slice into appropriate lengths and run through the fettucine cutter. If you’ve used enough, there’s no need to leave it hanging over chair backs, it’ll sit happily in a pile and separate when put in boiling water. And there they are there.
The sauce was a simple cheese and cream sauce that used gorgonzola and cream. Slice up chicken breast and marinate in a few cloves of chopped garlic and half a red chilli, with some salt, pepper, chopped parsley and EVOO. Cook the chicken in a pan, set aside and keep warm, and deglaze the pan with a little chicken stock and white wine. Add a cup of cream and allow it to heat before adding a handful of cubed gorgonzola and strirring at a simmer for five minutes. Toss in a tablespoon of finely sliced basil and season and stir it in.
The pasta will only take a few minutes to cook in boiling salted water so keep a close eye on it. It’s important to remember that it’ll keep cooking after it’s drained. Plate the pasta, pour the sauce over, and top with the chicken.
Sadly the pasta looks like it’s drowning here, something to be careful of. The pasta isn’t colourfast so it settled to a pale pink and the taste was very mild. You may wish to up the amount of beetroot from about a third of a cup to a half, if pastel is less your thing. The sauce was so rich it had a large country manor, a discreet but expensive watch, and a yacht that it would use to entertain clients on sunny days. Use moderation in serving size. Anyhoo, home made pasta-good, and as always, if I can do it you can do it. Impress your friends and yourself.