Making pasta is so therapeutic
Making homemade pasta is soo therapeutic, isn’t it? The idea of creating something like pasta from scratch is very exciting.
In fact, did you know that at the height of lockdown, pasta was one of the most sought-after foods across UK? In the UK significantly, bread making and pasta making were very popular activities. Listen to our friends in Kazakhstan talk about their experience and how they love to cook and eat pasta.
There are three main ways pasta is generally made – factories, restaurants and home kitchens. Making pasta in small batches is one of the freshest ways you can eat pasta. With this in mind you won’t be surprised that Greenwich Pantry supports making your own homemade pasta!
Making Pasta like The Italians
First off, let’s discuss pasta making in the way our Italian friends love to make it.
As one would expect, Italians have a special bond for pasta. Not only is pasta easy to cook, it is super delicious when freshly made.
Also, fresh pasta made with the right sauce could easily transport you to “food heaven”.
Although pasta is basically kneaded dough, Italians make pasta come to life in so many different ways across all their regions. For example in northern Italy they love to make pasta with eggs while in the south they tend to make pasta without eggs.
Pasta making is a family tradition taken seriously and children are taught pasta making from an early age. Children and adults learn to make pasta with love by hand!
Making pasta by hand helps to get a feel for the texture of the dough. When you can feel the dough is dry, you can add more water. However, while making pasta dough in a machine, is possibly less messy, it might be easier to get the texture wrong.
Another interesting fact about pasta in Italy is that there’s a sauce for each type of pasta. A twisty pasta like fusilli goes with thick creamy sauces that get into the pasta groves. Find out more about Italian cooking in our podcast.
Are you hungry for freshly made pasta?
If you’re hungry for pasta, let’s get some facts out of the way by sharing some of the things to look out for when making your homemade pasta. To enjoy great food, the ingredients we cook with are usually a good place to start.
Although pasta making requires only a few ingredients, it is advisable that they should be of good quality. Good quality ingredients are important for making delicious homemade pasta. One essential ingredient is the flour used in making pasta dough.
Pasta making Ingredient one: flour
Traditionally in Italy, pasta is made using a very fine flour known as 00 flour although it is possible to make pasta with what we call “strong flour” in the UK. Strong flour, also used for bread making, is more accessible and often less costly than 00 flour. The thing to note here is that strong flour can make the dough a bit harder so investing in 00 flour for your homemade pasta will pay off.
Also, if you’re wondering about gluten free options, there’s plenty of choice too. For example, polenta made from corn is a great choice for gluten free flour and makes delicious pasta.
Pasta making Ingredient two: Oil
Oil is the second important ingredient.
Italians love olive oil and use it endlessly in many recipes. The one for pasta making is the extra virgin variety.
As the name “extra virgin” implies it is a pure variety of olive oil, the closest you can get to eating olives! Seasoned cooks will know that oil is an important pantry item so it is advisable to keep a good stock of it in the pantry at all times. When making pasta from scratch, you’ll need a good amount to make your dough.
Pasta making ingredient three: eggs
The quality and type of eggs used in pasta making is often overlooked. However, the importance of eggs in pasta making is definitely worth mentioning.
Eggs act as the binding agent in pasta dough. Since pasta dough contains raw eggs, it is not advisable to eat the dough until it is cooked!
We strongly suggest that eggs used for pasta dough should be either organic or free range.
To tell if eggs are good to use, check out this link from the soil association https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/what-is-organic/organic-eggs/.
Pasta making Ingredient four: Semolina
When making pasta you’ll need semolina. Semolina, sometimes referred to as durum wheat is high in protein that makes gluten in pasta dough. Semolina flour has the additional benefit of being easily available in local shops too.
As well as using semolina to make pasta, it helps to keep some on hand to keep your freshly made pasta from sticking together.
In this way, semolina is considered as the essential “assistant”flour when making pasta.
Now that all your ingredients are ready, you’ll want to get to make your own.
There are several key steps to making delicious pasta including dough making, kneading, forming and rolling the dough, shaping and drying.
Have a look at our guide here or come and join one of our pasta making workshops and learn to make delicious pasta from scratch!