Homemade Pasta 101

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Soft, delicate, and delicious, homemade pasta is really worth the effort to make. Plus it feels really good on your hands when you’re kneading the eggs and flour together.

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When I was a boy my siblings and I use to watch my Grandmother make pasta and there isn’t one of us that can’t whip up pasta in no time. My Grandmother, who was from Italy, could cut them so thin they did in fact look like Angel Hair, not that I had ever seen an Angel before or their hair, but I’d like to though.

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Grandma was the master pasta maker and no one in my family has yet to surpass her pasta making skills.

When the pasta was ready she’d line a gift box with wax paper and fill it up with her homemade pasta. There were many Saturday afternoons when I’d walk up the big hill  to my parent’s house holding one of those boxes so my family and I could indulge the next day for Sunday lunch.

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This is how I did it:
I put four cups of flour in the middle of my pasta board and made a well. I cracked six eggs inside and added a teaspoon of olive oil and salt. I beat the eggs with a fork and brought flour into the eggs until it started to form into a dough. I then started using my hands bringing more flour in as needed and kneaded the dough until it was smooth while being careful not to over-use the flour because the pasta will come out tough and chewy.
I divided the dough into two balls and rolled it out into an enormous circle, turning and dusting it with flour so it wouldn’t stick to the board. When it is almost translucent you’re supposed to let the dough dry after you roll it out and after you cut it. I didn’t tonight. I started making them at 6:00pm and by 7:30pm we were eating.  -Don’t let it dry for too long because the dough will crack.

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When the dough is dry fold it up into a two inch flat tube. Then slice it as thin as you can  from one of the ends and unravel. Sometimes sprinkling flour helps them unravel and unstick.

Allow the pasta to dry out.

When ready add them to salted boiling water and cook them until soft. Drain and toss with the sauce of your choosing.

The sauce I made tonight was simple: One large can of tomato puree, a few basil leaves, two minced garlic cloves and a dash of balsamic vinegar and I let it simmer and reduce.

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About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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14 Responses to Homemade Pasta 101

  1. I definitely need to learn a few things about italian cooking from you! Beautiful and inspiring post!

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  2. This is the first time I have seen pasta instructions presented so well. You really gave me a sense that I can do this! I love pasta and do eat it every week but have yet to make it. Thank you! I am going to try it now, your way.

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  3. I had to Google “pasta board”. There seems to be more than one style. O.o

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  4. jensine says:

    good simple pasta is the best … don’t get carbs-haters

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  5. Hi John, 🙂 I love that your grandmother passed on the tradition of pasta making to you! Great post … there is a lot to be said sometimes about sticking to tradition and doing things “the old fashioned way”.

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  6. Thanks for following my blog! I have to ask about this post: so you don’t need a pasta machine to flatten and roll the dough? It’s really this easy? Is “almost translucent” a description of how thin you roll the dough?

    I’m half Italian, but didn’t have the benefit of growing up with an Italian cook. I really need an Italian grandmother to show me some of this stuff.

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    • johncpicardi says:

      Yes just roll it out and keep dusting it with flour as thin as you can, be careful not to tear the dough, keep moving it around…. we never used machines here…Thank for following my blog!

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  7. mary says:

    looks really good.

    Like

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