Tuesday, December 2, 2008
It's So Easy to Make Your Own Pasta! Plus Wonton Noodle Soup
This wanton noodles soup in chicken broth is not the star of the show today. But for those of you who are interested, it is so easy to put a comforting warm bowl of noodle soup dish like this together. Boil several cups of chicken broth (made from scratch, please), throw in some store-bought pork and shrimp dumplings, add some green veggie of your choice (this time I added chopped napa cabbage), season to taste, add the noodles and serve piping hot. It is truly a comforting dish this time of the year :)
The star of the show today is my new toy -- my newest baby -- my very own pasta maker!!! Can you hear the happy shrieks of this proud mama? :)
Hubby gifted me with a pasta maker. This is not surprising of course, because this family eats pasta every week if not twice or thrice a week or as much as we can! He figured making our own pasta would be healthier because it would not contain any preservatives of the store-bought ones. And we can be creative and add more healthy ingredients to our pasta. My head is already brimming with possibilities, I can add carrots, or basil, or spinach...
See the first picture? the noodles used in the wonton soup? Those are made from half plain flour and half whole wheat flour. Now, isn't that healthy?
The pictures below were taken the first time I made pasta. Since it was the first time, I followed the exact recipe written with the instruction manual of the pasta maker. I used plain flour and halved the recipe.
On a clean surface, measure 2 cups of flour. Make a well in the center and add in 2 eggs (room temperature). The proportion is one egg for every cup of flour. Whisk the eggs with a fork. Then slowly incorporate some flour while beating. Keep incorporating more flour until you cannot whisk anymore. Using a dough cutter or your hands, knead the dough until it comes together into a smooth ball.
At this point, it was hard for me to keep the dough together. The flour just would not stick together! I cheated and added 2 tablespoons of cold water ( I figured 1 tablespoon for every cup of flour) and it worked! :) I just took the idea of adding cold water from making a basic pate brisee pie crust :) And it worked! The dough formed easier...
Divide the dough into smaller balls. Let rest, covered for at least 30 minutes. I did not get this part of the instruction from the manual. I got this from the internet. The purpose of this resting is to allow the gluten to relax. Actually, another site said that we should allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator. But somehow, I forgot the refrigerator part and just left the balls on the kitchen counter. I didn't think any harm was done. We have cooler weather nowadays. :)
The dough should not be sticky. Otherwise it will stick to the rollers. Add more flour if the dough sticks to your fingers. It should not be too dry that it is falling apart either.
Set up the pasta maker. Set up the two smooth rollers at position one. Cut the balls into half (or smaller parts) and with 1 piece at a time, pass the dough into the two smooth rollers while turning the handle. Repeat this several times. When the dough has taken a regular shape, pass this dough over at position 2, several times, then on to position 3 and so on until your desired thickness.
Insert the already thin and long dough into the cutters. I have 2 sizes of cutters included in my pasta maker. One for fettucine (wider noodles) and one for spaghetti (though the noodles came out flat and not round). Slowly turn the handle while letting the dough be "cut" and catch the resulting pasta with your other hand.
In my case, the kids were so eager to turn the handle, which they call "cranking up" the machine, so I let them do the turning while I have both hands on the dough. :)
The instruction manual says to lay these noodles on a clean table cloth and leave it to dry for at least an hour. I hanged the noodles on a clean clothes hanger instead. An hour after, it is ready to cook!
Nothing beats the taste of homemade pasta. You'll never go back to eating store-bought pasta again. (Though I have to finish the stocks I have left in my pantry :) It is easy to cook (ours took only two minutes!), it is cheaper, it is definitely nutritious and it has the al-dente quality that we are looking for in a good pasta.
Tomorrow, I will share another wonderful dish I made using homemade pasta. So, stay tuned!
Sharing this pasta making experience with the Presto Pasta Nights community headed and hosted this week by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. To see last week's delicious dishes, please check out the round-up wonderfully written by Daphne of More Than Words.