I love pasta! You can make endless variations of sauces to go with it and combine it with so many nice vegetables. It is necessary to say I’m a bit of a pasta freak. Although I am crazy about most foods, so maybe I am a food freak? Anyway, one of my favorite things to do is make my own pasta, it is a simple process and if you get the hang of it it’s quite effortless.
When I make fresh pasta I usually use my pasta machine, because otherwise it just kind of stands there in the kitchen. But what if you do not have such a device? That could mean you could never enjoy the taste of real fresh pasta at home. What a waste. This is precisely the reason we left the pasta maker in the cupboard last week and looked if it is possible (yes) and easy (yes) to create a pasta without a machine. Viva la revolution!
We took the challenge a bit too serious and used a wine bottle to roll out the pasta dough! So, next time you are in the kitchen and are thinking; I do not have the tools to create a pasta from scratch, think again! Side note: the pasta can be rolled out with any other glass bottle and of course a rolling pin works wonders too. For this pasta we used spelt flour because we are rebels and live far enough away from Italy to get away with that (we hope).
Homemade spelt pasta
For 2 portions
200 gr spelt flour
You start by placing the flour on your countertop and making a small well in it to crack the eggs into. Start beating the eggs with a fork and incorporate the flour little by little. Make sure it does not pour down the sides and go on until you feel comfortable enough to get your hands dirty. Then start kneading the dough together. It takes a bit of time but you should end up with a nice, not sticky dough (add more flour if it is sticky, it can really depend on the size of your eggs). Now the fun part starts! We used a little baking paper to keep our table from getting dirty, but this is not necessary.
Take ⅓ of the dough and put the rest of the dough under a moist tablecloth, which prevents it from drying out. Keep kneading the little piece of dough and start rolling it out with your bottle of wine/rolling pin (if you do have a pasta machine, feel free to use it of course!). If the dough is not elastic enough, just fold it and roll it out again. I mostly roll and fold about 7 times before starting to roll out for real. Add flour to the dough if it gets too sticky. Make sure your pasta is rolled out thin, it expends quite a bit when cooking, so try to make it thinner then you want it eventually.
Dust the pasta with some flour and cut into the shape you want to (we chose fat tagliatelle). Hang to dry if possible (otherwise just lay the pasta on your countertop to dry). While your pasta is drying you can start the rest of the dough and create beautiful fresh pasta from scratch!
When you are ready to cook the pasta, bring a pot of water to the boil and add the pasta. Boil for about 3-4 minutes, depending on how thick they have become (always try before you drain the pasta!). After draining, toss in some olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other.
Serve with your favorite sauce! We decided to turn some spring ingredients into a pesto for the fresh pasta, definitely recommended!
Fresh pasta with mint & pea pesto
1 batch fresh pasta (recipe above)
1/2 cup mint & pea pesto (recipe below)
handful of fresh peas
dried chilli flakes
Mix the fresh pasta with the pesto and mix with peas, dried chilli flakes and grated parmesan cheese. Delicious warm and cold!
Mint & pea pesto
for 1 cup
handful fresh mint handful fresh green peas (or frozen; make sure to defrost them first!)
Combine everything in a food processor (or in a bowl and blend with a hand blender) and add some olive oil to blend. Continue to add olive oil when blending until you have a nice pesto. Add salt and pepper to taste.