Tuesday, August 14, 2012

FRESH PASTA

'Old School Style Fettucini'                                                                                                                                                         Mans
For me, pasta is the definitive Italian chow. Only when I spent time with my Italian mate The  E-Man, did I start to check out the loving and simple approach Italians have towards food.

Here I go on another tangent...
My dad loved food more than just about anybody I know. He would love eating just about anything, anything but Italian food, which he would eat, but he didn’t love eating it, coz he didn’t like Italians. My Pop was the most kind natured and non-judgemental person ever, but I’m sure that was coz he saved all his horriblenss for the Italians. Maybe he was just grumpy that he didn’t win a medal for yachting at the Rome Olympics. He was the only person I knew, who would get a long face at the suggestion of a quick bite at a Pizzeria and this was, coz it was Italian (I mean, wotz not to love about Pizza). Anyhow, I think I have gone a long way to restoring a respectable relationship between the Standing’s and the Italian Nation. I love their simple and unpretentious food. From the way I’m going on you might think that I know an awful lot about all that is Italian, sadly this is not so. Most of what I know comes from Eugenio, aka The E-Man. Again, how he got his name, is a storey for another day.

Ian Ian, 'The Pasta Processing Unit'                                                           Mans
Making fresh pasta is not as big a mission as you may think. Nearly all kitchens have what you’ll need, and that is, flour, eggs and a pinch of salt. There are more complicated recipes around, but this one works just fine, for me. Ok, a pasta machine might be helpful, but lets face it, most middle class western kitchens have one proudly displayed somewhere on their shelves. My culinary mate Ian Ian, had one displayed in pride of place in his kitchen for about 2 years before he actually used it, but once he did, there has been no stopping him. He is now a pasta processing unit. Anyway, you don't even need a machine. If you are making it for only 2 people, I think it’s quicker to make it by hand and way more impressive. Usually when there are just 2 of you, being IMPRESSIVE is rather important.  All you need is a flat surface and a rolling pin, but a wine bottle will do just fine. 'Come on, go try make some right now. I DARE YOU."


Ingredients
- 1 egg per 2 people
- about 2 handfuls (more or less 100g of flour, duppio 00 is best, but white bread flour will do just fine)
- 1 pinch of salt.
How to make the dough
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the flour a bit at a time while stirring until you have loose dough. Now its time to get stuck with your hands. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and get kneading, this is my favourite part. You may want to add a bit more flour if it’s too sticky, or a bit of water if it is too dry. Give the dough a solid working over, until its soft, shiny and pliable. Cover it with a damp cloth or cling film and pop it in the fridge to rest for about 20 mins. Now it’s ready for rolling, or you can save it for another day. It’ll keep in the fridge for few days
Fettuccine, the ‘old school way
Making Fettuccine 'old School'.                               Mans
Chop about an inch thick slice off your dough, and cover the rest til you need it. This'll stop it from drying out. Dust the surface and your slice with flour to stop it sticking to everything - don't hold back with the dusting. Now, roll it out with your 'rolling pin', keep lifting and turning it, to stop the 'dreaded stick'. When you dough sheet is as thin as you patience allows, dust the top of it and fold in half, repeat this til your folded pasta is a manageable size to slice into 1/4 inch pieces. Give the little sliced pasta nuggets a joyful jiggle to separate them. Cook them straight away, or if you want to cook them later, hang them up, so they don't stick together. When it's time, chuck them into boiling water for about 5 mins, or til they are just tender.






'New School Style' getz it a lot thinner. Old school or New School? It'z your choice.                                                Mans



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