Hello, world! It’s good to be back. For the past week, my computer has been undergoing some repairs. Just two weeks ago, I tried turning it on without success. There was the familiar boot-up chime and the soft clicking communication with my external hard drive, but the screen stayed dark. My initial worry was that all of my data had been lost: all the pictures, the music, the writing, the entire Bread+Bourbon website. In saying this, I am of course revealing to you just how irresponsible and lazy I am. Aside from a few songs and a hundred or so pictures, nothing was backed up. A quick check-up revealed a faulty video card, a $180 fix for parts and labor. This was a relief, as I worried that the monitor had gone kaput and that I’d be down $700.Just to be clear: I’m not under the illusion that you find my technological woes at all interesting. After all, that’s not why you’ve come to visit Bread+Bourbon. My techno-lament was simply a necessary prelude to pasta. But how? you ask. Is there some connection I have missed? you wonder. No. I don’t expect for you to know that when I find myself worried that I immediately turn to the joys of food. But after dropping off the computer for repair, I came home and pulled up a recipe for fresh pasta. If you’re a human being, you understand well the warmth and simple comfort of a bowl of buttered noodles. With no more than a few eggs and some flour, the pasta came together beautifully.
For the uninitiated, fresh pasta might seem like an ordeal, a labor that yields something no better than what you’d find in a box. And sure, when cooked and dressed correctly, boxed pasta is delicious. But fresh pasta, made with good local orange-yolked eggs, is something altogether different. The flavor is richer, the texture is at once springy and tender, and the starchiness makes for a more luxuriously creamy sauce. If the benefits in flavor and texture aren’t convincing enough, fresh pasta also allows for infinite variations. With little practice, you can experiment with different blends of flour, you can flavor your pasta dough with fresh herbs, you can shape it any way you like. In no time, you’ll be making your own whole-wheat ravioli with sage-brown butter, roasted pumpkin, and fresh goat cheese. Your significant other will love you more, your close friends will hold you in higher esteem, you might even become a local hero.
400 grams flour(or 14 oz)
4 eggs, room temperature
If you have a stand mixer, pour the flour into the bowl and, using the paddle attachment, pour in one egg at a time while the machine is on low. Let the machine run just until the dough comes together. Otherwise, measure the flour and pour it onto a clean surface. In the center of the flour, make a well. Beat all four eggs and pour them into the center of the well. Little by little, use your hands to incorporate the flour into the eggs. The dough will be very shaggy and may not want to come together. Despite this, do your best to work in all of the flour.
Once the dough has come together, knead the dough with the heel of your hands for minutes. As you continue to knead, the dough will become smoother and more elastic. If the dough does not come together,wet your hands and continue working it for another minute.
After kneading, place the dough in plastic and let it sit at room temperature for one hour. This wait time is essential. The dough continues to hydrate and it eventually relaxes. Without this, it would be impossible to roll it out.
At this point, you’re ready to shape the pasta however you desire. All you need to know is that fresh pasta (more than boxed) swells dramatically. That means that whether you use a pasta machine or simply roll it by hand, you must try to roll it out as thinly as possible. If you’re using a pasta maker, consider yourself far more privileged than I. As a means to express my jealousy, I’ll allow you to look up how to use it on your own. But if you’re like me, your “pasta machine” is one part rolling pin/one part brute strength.
Place the dough on a lightly-floured work surface. Roll it out little by little, bearing down with your full weight. This could also double as a workout, and if you’re so inclined, you can place a large cutting board on the ground and go into a plank pose while holding the rolling pin in your hand. When the dough is very thin, you can cut and shape it as you please. When you’re ready to boil it, remember that fresh pasta takes just about 3minutes in boiling water.
The bowl of pasta you see above couldn’t have been easier. Once cooked, I threw it together with peas blanched in the pasta water, torn basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and some hot chilies.