Monday, May 28, 2012

Prepare Today Homemade- Making Spaghetti From Scratch

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Taking preparedness classes at Honeyville Grain has really expanded my knowledge on cooking with storage.  Learning how to make pasta is one area that I have always been intimidated of, but I have taken several classes at Honeyville and I feel semi-confident that it can be done.  I say semi-confident because I need to practice quite a bit more before I could say I am an expert at pasta making.  

My first experience with making pasta was trying to make ravioli. My kids LOVE ravioli and I wanted to be able to make it from all shelf stable items, including the ricotta filling.  So I set out to make the ricotta, which I have done many times but I used a different recipe, and it took forever, and it didn't want to set up.  
Ricotta filling...NOT working!!
 Next I tried making a pasta for the first time and it just wasn't working.  The dough was too wet and it broke while I tried to roll it out, so I kept adding more flour to it and that didn't help at all. I had a dry, crumbly mess. Once I got the dough rolled out I placed the filling on top and I tried to roll it out with my ravioli rolling pin and that is when the four letter words and frustration hit the fan.  The children were asked to leave mommy alone for awhile.  The little pockets of ravioli were bursting and the filling was popping out, and a lot of the dough was sticking to the rolling pin.  I needed a breather.  It took almost 4 hours to get all this done and I had to throw most of it out.  
I gave up on the ravioli and my girls got to play kitchen with the ruined dough.
 So I was really reluctant to try this again, but after going through a class at Honeyville my confidence was back.  I started simply with homemade spaghetti, which is where I should have started before the ravioli incident.

Lisa Barker, the Honeyville manager, taught the hands on pasta class.  It was so helpful to feel the dough and know when it had enough flour. She took us step by step through the whole process and I was amazed that it really only takes about 30 minutes to have fresh spaghetti for dinner.  After the class I went straight home and tried it again and I am happy to say it worked.  My kids even helped!

The recipe contains simple ingredients and is pretty simple to put together, especially if you have a pasta roller.

This is is my 8 year old learning how to make pasta.  He thought it was really cool to turn the handle and make the dough grow.

Fresh Pasta Recipe from Honeyville Grain
1 1/4 C unbleached flour
1/4 t salt
1 T olive oil
2 eggs

Place the flour and salt in a mound on your workspace.  Create a well in the middle with your finger.  Place eggs and olive oil in the middle of your well.  Using a fork, gradually and gently whisk the eggs, eventually incorporating your flour until all ingredients are stiff but still moist and a dough is formed.  Knead until smooth, but  not sticky or tacky (about 10 min) and then cover with a damp cloth or put in plastic wrap to rest for 20 minutes.  Roll in pasta machine to desired shape.  

I divide my dough into thirds and using one section at a time, start rolling it in my pasta roller.  It will grow quite a bit as it thins out and you will want a manageable piece of dough to work with.  My pasta roller (Imperia) starts out at a number 6 as the widest setting.  I roll the dough once through, fold the dough into thirds in on itself, and roll through the #6 notch again.  Roll through 2 more times without folding.  I move the number notch to 5 and roll the dough 3 more times. (no need to fold the dough in on itself anymore, just roll it)  I do the same all the way to number 1.  Other pasta rollers may have a different number system so check your instructions before beginning.  You want to start rolling the dough through the widest setting down to the narrowest setting. The dough should be thin but workable.  If you get holes or tears just start over at number 6 and fold the dough again into thirds.  Then roll through the machine clicking down a notch every 3rd roll.  I try to have the dough go through 3 times for every notch I turn the dial. 
  It really did help to have the kids working with me.  It was easier if one person turned the handle while another fed the dough through the pasta machine.  
 After rolling the dough, now it is time to make it into spaghetti.  This part was my favorite because it was so simple and yet came out so perfectly!  The spaghetti attachment was already attached to my pasta machine and we only had to move the handle over to the other slot to make it work.  Just turn the handle while feeding the dough through the spaghetti slot, and voila, you have spaghetti.  Once the noodles are cut, sprinkle them with a little flour to keep them from sticking.  You can cook them right away (that's what we did) or hang them to dry and use them at a later time.
My 4 year old was making this batch.  It really is a great way to have your children help in the kitchen.  If you are cooking your pasta right away you only need to boil it for about 2-3 minutes and it's done!  We cooked it for lunch and everyone loved it!

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