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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Homemade Pasta with White Sauce

I always was under the impression that making Pasta at home required a lot of effort. It goes way back to my childhood, when I first read a recipe for making pasta, and decided it was too much work for me. And that it would take a long time.

Then came Master Chef, and I saw people making beautiful pasta and then the whole dish with handmade pasta in an hour or so. But they were using machines to roll out the dough and cut pasta. How would I do that at home?

Yesterday, I decided to check some recipes to make pasta and reached Jamie Oliver's pasta recipe and it wasn't too hard. Actually it would be hard for my childhood self, but it is pretty easy for me now. I scaled the recipe down for a trial and it turned out pretty good. Back when Cable operators in Pakistan used to put up BBC Food, Jamie Oliver's show was my favorite for his easy to make recipes.

This recipe yields a pretty resilient pasta. It does not start to disintegrate if slightly over cooked, opposed to the store bought ones. The store bought pasts starts to dissolve and break if it is cooked beyond the time written on the pack.

Home made pasta is tastier than the packaged ones. And wholesome too. The amount of recipe I used, resulted in enough pasta for one to two persons. It was slightly thicker than I would like, but it is all a matter of rolling out the dough, so you can get a thinner noodle too.

I used my fondant cutter to cut equal width pasta. You can use a sharp knife as well. Please forgive the poor quality picture, as the pasta was made and photographed at night, hence the yellow tint.


Recipe

Ingredients

100 gm flour
1 egg

Method

Put flour in a dish. Make a well and break the egg in the well. Whisk the egg in the well. Then slowly drawing in flour start mixing the two together. Make sure that there are no lumps.

When all flour is incorporated in the eggs, knead well. I like to pick the dough and bang it on a hard surface. Knead until the dough is soft and elastic. Make ball and wrap with cling wrap. Set aside to rest for at least half an hour.

Sprinkle flour on the rolling surface. Start rolling the dough with a rolling pin. Try to roll it in an elongated shape. When rolled out to a thickness of around 3 - 4 mm, leave for a couple of minutes. Then start rolling again. Move the dough while rolling so that it does not stick to the rolling surface.

If the dough sticks to the rolling pin or surface, lightly dust with flour. Roll out the dough until you can see your hand when placed underneath the dough. It does not have to be paper thin. Just thin enough to your liking. Cut pasta as you like.

Pick up a few strands of pasta and make a nest. Set aside. If the pasts is cut into very thin strips, hang on the back of a chair to dry.

At this point, pasta can be completely dried to store. Otherwise, allow it to dry for 10 - 15 minutes. Then cook. Freshly made and cooked pasta is heavenly.

Boil some water with a little salt and oil. Add the pasta and boil for 5 minutes. Taste to see if it is aldente. Cook more if it doesn't seem done enough. Drain the water and cool down by pouring some cool water over pasta.

Put the pasta in a bowl. Pour white sauce and mix. Serve pasta hot in a wide platter.

White Sauce

I make white sauce by eye-balling the quantities. Melt a little bit of butter in a pan on low heat, sprinkle almost an equal quantity of flour. Sprinkle a little a more. cook the two to make a roux. Add some milk and whisk to make a thick paste. Add milk in small quantities and cook it before adding more milk. Keep a check on the consistency. Stop adding milk when the desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper. Add some white pepper if you like. I also added a cheddar slice to make it creamy and cheesy. Add the pasta and serve hot.

If you want a bayleaf infused white sauce, follow the recipe from Creamed Spinach.

Happy Cooking!!!