To celebrate Columbus Day we are giving you a fast and easy way to make pasta dough at home with some help from Laurent Gras and the skills he developed in his early twenties while working in Florence and Tuscany.
While many people associate the invention of pasta with the Italians or even the Chinese, new studies are showing that it had actually come to Sicily in the 8th century during Arab invasions which brought a dried noodle-like product made from flour and durum wheat to the small island where wheat crops flourished as a main commodity. Its long shelf life, delicious taste and fairly low cost made it ideal for long ship voyages. By 15th century, pasta was making its way to the Americas in the pantries of ships from all over Europe, today it is one of the most popular global food with Italians eating an estimated sixty pounds per person a year. Check out this time-tested recipe from Laurent Gras and use it to make a basic pasta dough that can be used for ravioli, cannelloni , or any other recipe that calls for fresh pasta. Here's what you will need:
- Small mixing bowl
- Large mixing bowl
- Plastic wrap
- Rolling pin or pasta machine
For the Pasta Dough
- 5 large (250 g) eggs
- 3 large (60 g) egg yolks
- 1 ½ cups (200 g) semolina or durum wheat flour
- 2 ½ cups (300 g) Italian “00” pasta flour, or all-purpose flour
Yield: 1 ¾ pounds (800 g), enough for 6 to 8 servings
In a small mixing bowl combine the eggs and egg yolks and beat lightly. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and make a well in the center. Pour the eggs into the well. Using a fork, mix the flour with the eggs together until the mixture forms a stiff dough. Don’t worry if not all the flour is incorporated. Turn out the dough and the flour onto a work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Divide the dough into quarters. Keep covered. Either by hand with a long wooden dowel rolling pin or using a pasta machine, roll out one quarter of the dough at a time into a very thin, rectangular sheet, and then use as called for in the recipe.
Here's some delicious recipes using fresh pasta dough