I love to cook. But I feel there is still a lot to learn! It's the old adage, "the more you learn, you learn how much more there is to learn." And the more I blog, the more I find great ideas and recipes I should try. There are so many things I have yet to try or attempt. One of these is making my own homemade pasta. I do not have a machine which is one reason I never made it. The other is that somehow, somewhere I got the idea that I needed semolina flour. Semolina flour is not easy to find at most markets. So a month or two ago when I saw semolina flour at Claro's Italian Market, I picked it up.
Now it has been just sitting there in my cupboard for a little while and I finally decided to try out a pasta recipe. I found a simple recipe using the semolina on Melissa's blog, bitchincamero. It was my first time on her blog and everything looked just amazing. Melissa's recipe called for either all semolina flour or 1/2 semolina flour and 1/2 cake flour. I chose the latter as she mentioned the pasta would be a bit more delicate.
After combining the ingredients, kneading and coming up with a firm ball of dough, I followed Melissa's instructions and wrapped it "tightly in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour."
Now I followed Melissa's instructions to make the ear-shaped orecchiette but let the kids have their way with some of the dough too. It was very soft and easy to manipulate into shapes just like Playdough! Talk about fun for the kids!
They made little worms and balls and a few little twisted type shapes. If you haven't involved the kids in the kitchen yet, this is a great way to do it. It isn't even that messy like cookies can be. We all had fun and who cares if the pasta in funny shapes. This meal was just for our family.
We were busy having fun and not working really fast so we kept much of the shapes under a cloth to keep them from drying out too too much.
My ear shapes along with some of the kids' funny shapes!
When you are finished with the formations, put into your boiling pot of water for a few minutes. Melissa's directions say 2-5 minutes. I think with the semolina and our possibly bigger or fatter shapes, it was more like 5-10 minutes for al dente.
The finished product was a bit more dense and rugged than I prefer. Maybe it would have been better with Melissa's hearty lamb ragu. All her food and recipes look just amazingly good. I did a light sauce of parsley, garlic, creme fraiche and a squeeze of lemon with parmesan. Perhaps it was not a good match for the dense hand formed pasta?
I think the heavy consistency was primarily due to the semolina flour. Afterward I ran across a few articles that mentioned using all purpose flour or "oo" flour for hand made pasta without a machine. Do you know what is best? What is "oo" flour and where do I get that? Does anyone have a good recipe for hand made pasta?
If you do have one or find a good one, let me know straight away and then go into the kitchen with your kids and make it. It is so fun and combines both play time and dinner prep in one fell swoop.