“Simple is not Easy”, this sentence flyes on my mind every day since the first time I heard it. Making fresh homemade Pasta is definitely simple, but there are many variables to remind and to respect. Each has its say about making pasta from scratch; when I was studying at the Italian Chef Academy, in Florence, some teachers recommended to add the salt, others to use a mix made by white flour and semolina, others to add milk if it was too dry and oil to keep it elastic.
Making Fresh Pasta by scratch
Well, I learned making Pasta when I was child, looking at my grandmother whit great amazement, enraptured by her experience; that’s to tell you that I didn’t get confused when I discovered, at school, that making the perfect Pasta is not a science, it isn’t something to study but…as everything simple…you have to find your way by doing and doing again.
This is exactly what I try to teach to my guests and descents during our Private Cookery Courses in Tuscany, the cooking class is maybe the first occasion to learn by doing, then you need to practice at home.
Maybe it’ll be necessary to add oil, milk, salt, semolina, maybe not because you obtained a perfect dough just with basic ingredients: Whole Eggs and 00 Flour. Anyway, all you need it’s kneading until obtaining a smooth and elastic ball of dough. You can use an electric tool, but making it by hands will help you a lot to develop gluten, that’s a crucial variable in making a smooth pasta; then you can roll it with a rolling pin, anyway I often use a rolling machine and it’s definitely easier and even better if you’re not a skilled pasta maker. Here’s my recipe for making fresh pasta from scratch. I know it’s difficult to find 00 flour out of Italy, anyway I tested the all-purpose one and it’s ok, you can definitely use it; but please, don’t use flour with yeast inside or anything else.
Pasta Coloring Basics
In the last few years more and more people ask me how making “colored” pasta, you know that “colored” is not “flavored”; it deals with a fresh and natural way to make pasta, adding some ingredients to the eggs giving to the dough a particular color.
ORANGE PASTA: Tomato Paste; click here for the recipe
GREEN PASTA: Mashed Spinach
BLACK PASTA: Squid Ink (below recipe)
PINK PASTA: Mashed Beetroot
BROWN PASTA: Cocoa powder; click here for the recipe
Cooking Classes in Tuscany
I then finally decided to introduce the possibility to make “colored” pasta during our Cookery Course in Tuscany, with my company CuocheinVacanza. Yes, because is not at all difficult, there’s just one more step to follow, nothing else; everyone can make it and each “color” has its suitable sauces.
Our most requested cooking classes are about “Tortelli Maremmani” (huge ravioli) or “Tortellini” (small ravioli), well, I’m glad to inform you that you can obtain an amazing stuffed colored pasta as well; just remind to fill it with the right ingredients.
Let’s start with the recipe of Black Pasta, that’s fantastic with sea fruits, mussels and all the ingredients recalling the taste of the “sea”.
Here some recipes to find some Risotto Sauces suitable for black Tagliatelle as well!
- 00 Flour (or All purpose flour) - 2 cups
- Whole Eggs - 3
- Squid Ink - 4 Tbsp
- Pour flour in a mound on a clean work surface or in a bowl -
- Make a well in the center -
- Pour in the eggs and the ink squid -
- Beat thoroughly using a fork -
- Once combined incorporate flour to the eggs, from outside to inside -
- When you obtained a wet, sticky dough, use your hands and start kneading -
- Press the ball of dough with the heel of your hand and push forward and down, until obtaining a smooth and elastic texture -
- Wrap your ball of dough with film or cover it with a cotton cloth -
- Let it rest for about 30 mins -
- Dust a work surface with flour -
- Unwrap the ball and cut it in quarters, preferably using a bench knife -
- Set one quarter on the work surface and start rolling with a rolling pin (or a pasta machine) until obtaining a very thin pasta sheet -
- using a pasta machine: flatten the quarter of dough into about ½ inch thickness and put it inside the machine -
- Roll it:
- to number 1 (of the machine): 1 time
- to number 3: 2 times
- to number 5: 1 time
- Continue with other quarters previously wrapped -
- Cutting Pasta:
- Feed dough through the pasta machine cutter -
- or you can Cut pasta (as I do) with a chef knife: first rolling up gently your stripe of pasta around a large knife, then sliding the knife and cutting the rolled stripe of pasta using the chef knife (about 1 cm distance) -
- Unroll by hands to obtain your black tagliatelle! -
- Cooking directions -
- Bring a large pot of salted (1 handful of rock salt or 2 tsp fine salt) water to boil -
- Pour in the pasta and wait about 3 mins -
- Drain pasta, toss with sauce and immediately serve it -
- Buon Appetito!