Sometimes when you buy food from the store, it can be as good as making it fresh… this is not typically the case with pasta. Fresh pasta has a texture and a taste that is not found in most dried commercial pastas. It is more textured and flavorful. Making fresh pasta at home is easy and satisfying. It actually requires fairly little effort with the right tools. However, there are definitely some things that can go wrong in attempting the perfect homemade pasta, so hopefully you will be able to find some assistance with the advice below. Here are five tips that will hopefully help anyone to make the best pasta at home every time.
Measure Ingredients by Weight
The right balance of ingredients for pasta can change depending on many factors. Making perfect pasta every time means measuring ingredients by weight and not by volume. The most basic recipe involves three parts of flour mixed with two parts of egg by weight.
Use a Mixer to Shorten Prep Time
Prep time for making pasta can be cut down dramatically with a mixer. The ingredients can be mixed together with the beater paddle or dough hook. This will bring the flour and eggs together in a few seconds on medium speed. Running the mixer for another two to five minutes on low will also cut down on the amount of hand kneading that is required afterward. Look to the resources available with your mixer, such as KitchenAid’s 6 quart service manual, for specific help with selecting the right hook or using the right settings.
Resting Pasta Is Key
Resting pasta is the key to a good texture. Resting allows the gluten to create a complex and resilient network. The pasta should be rested for at least 30 to 45 minutes. It should be wrapped in plastic wrap or a towel during this time. It is best to rest the pasta in a warm area like the top of an oven or refrigerator.
Run Pasta through the Thickest Settings Several Times
Never skip settings on a pasta maker. Start with the largest and work down one step at a time. It will help to fold the sheets of pasta over and run them through the two thickest settings two to three times each. This will prevent the pasta from cracking or breaking up on the thinnest settings. This is easiest with a mixer that has a motorized pasta maker attachment.
Dry the Pasta before Cooking
Pasta is better after being allowed to dry a little before cooking. Cooking the pasta right away will create a gummy and unpleasant texture. The pasta should be hung on a rack or chair for 45 minutes to a few hours. Sprinkling flour over the cut pasta will make it easier to separate later.
Everyone has a slightly different preference when it comes to fresh pasta. Some people prefer lighter pastas while others prefer a denser product. It is always a good idea to experiment with different balances of ingredients and different cooking times to find the best recipe for homemade pasta that matches the sauces or other ingredients you use. Following this advice will hopefully help you make pasta vastly superior to that purchased at a grocery store.