By: Deanna Linder
This post has been a long time coming. Religiously, about every six months, since we started the blog, I’ve wanted to post a recipe for fresh pasta, and somehow haven’t gotten around to doing it. The culprit is usually not enough time at the end of a day’s shoot. This time we got it right and scheduled the pasta to be the first dish shot.
Knowing how to make fresh pasta is a very liberating experience. With the help of a machine and some very basic ingredients, you are able to create pasta which is worlds away from the stuff you buy at the supermarket.
There are two major components which go into making really good homemade pasta. The first is the type of flour you use. Some fresh pasta recipes call for regular all-purpose flour. In our opinion it’s like trying to a make a cake with cornstarch. Just don’t do it. The best types of flours to use are Italian typo ‘00’ or Semolina flour. We made this recipe with both, and the Semolina flour (DeCecco) yielded very comfortable and durable dough to work with.
The second component is patience. Homemade pasta is not hard to make, but if you don’t have the time and patience, I can assure you it won’t come out as you wish. Put on some background music, pour yourself a good cup of wine, and enjoy the process.
Some tips before you get started:
-If you are making fresh pasta, you might as well make a good amount. We like to make about 500 grams/¼ lb. pasta- we used half for this recipe and put the rest in the freezer. You can keep it covered in the freezer for up to 3 months.
-If the dough is dry and crumbly, add another egg yolk until the dough comes together. You can also slightly wet your hands with water while working the dough.
-We rolled out the dough until number 7 on the machine, which is pretty thin. Essentially you can make fresh pasta without a machine, but keep in mind that you probably won’t be able to get the desired thinness using a rolling pin.
Ricotta and Honey Tortellini
This dish is meant to be served as a dessert-but the dough can be used to make regular pasta as well.
Ingredients for about 6 servings (10 tortellini per serving):
Ingredients for pasta:
4½ cups pasta flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon water
Ingredients for filling:
200 grams/7 oz. fresh ricotta cheese (unsalted)
125 grams/4.5 oz. mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Ingredients for sauce:
100 grams/3.5 oz. unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
½ fresh vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
- Prepare the pasta dough: Place the flour in large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the eggs in the well and with your hands, or a fork, begin to bring them together with the flour. Add the olive oil, water and salt and work until dough is formed. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and place in the fridge until the past is ready.
- Remove pasta dough from fridge and cut into 4 equal parts. Wrap two in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or freezer. Cover one of the remaining quarters with a kitchen towel and begin working with the remaining piece. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough just so that it can fit into the machine. Starting with number 1 on the machine, roll out the dough. Repeat on number one, and then continue until number 7, rolling through each number only once. Repeat with the remaining pasta dough. If the pasta gets sticky throughout this process, sprinkle on some flour.
- Using a 3-inch circle cookie cutter, cut circles out of the pasta. Place a ¼ teaspoon filling into the center of each circle. Using your finger, slightly wet the edges of the dough. Fold the dough in half, making sure that the dough is pinched tight. Bring the two corners together and pinch together.
- Prepare a large pot of boiling water (unsalted). Prepare the sauce: heat a skillet on high heat and add the butter and cook until browned, 1-2 minutes. Add the honey and vanilla, lower heat and allow to cook on very low heat until pasta is ready.
- Add the tortellini to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the pasta floats to the top. Add the tortellini directly to the skillet with the sauce and sauté until the pasta is slightly crispy.
- Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, crème fraiche or whipped cream.