|Homemade whole wheat and semolina saffron noodles.|
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Making your own Pasta
I love the taste and texture of homemade pasta but I never tried making it myself until my son bought me a pasta machine for my birthday. You don't really need one because you can roll out the dough and cut each individual noodle with a knife, but the pasta maker makes the job easier, faster and, more importantly, creates a more consistent noodle. If each noodle is a different thickness and width, which happens when you are doing it by hand, they won't cook evenly.
A pasta maker is not only a nice gift, but it's a good investment. Gourmet pasta is now selling for $6.00 or more a pound (kind of crazy since we're just talking water and flour here!). So it pays for itself pretty quickly.
|Marcato Stainless Steel Pasta Machine|
The other fun thing about making your own pasta is you can select your ingredients. I like to mix semolina with King Arthur's white whole wheat flour. To make it even more fun, I like adding other things like turmeric to give it some anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer properties. Today I'm going to add saffron to the noodles. I was dying to try matcha green tea powder but Doug wasn't that into it so I will save that for another day.
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Saffron Fettuccine with Semolina and White Whole Wheat Flour
[makes 6 or more servings]
Requires Food Processor with a dough blade and a Pasta Maker (optional)
1 cup boiling water
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (or more, to taste)*
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
* For plain fettuccine, omit the saffron
Crush the saffron threads until they are powder.
Add boiling water and olive oil. Stir and set aside.
Place white whole wheat, semolina flour and salt into a food processor with a dough blade. (I forgot to change the blade and it worked ok with the S-blade, but if you have a dough blade, it's best to use it.) Pulse until the flours and salt are well mixed.
With the food processor on, slowly add the saffron liquid to the flour until it forms a ball. You might have to stop and scrape down the sides. The ball should still be moist but not too sticky. If it's too dry, add more hot water, a tablespoon at a time. It it's too moist, add a touch of flour.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface (pastry mats work really well) and knead until smooth, a few minutes.
Cut into 8 pieces.
Roll each into a ball, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Once rested, you can either roll these out by hand or with a pasta maker.
To roll out by hand, place on a lightly floured pastry mat or flat surface and roll out until thin. With a sharp knife, slice into individual noodles.
To use a pasta maker, dust each ball of dough with some flour. Roll through the first section of the pasta maker and make a long noodle. Do this twice for delicate, thin noodles.
You can use the long noodles as is to make lasagne. To make fettuccine noodles, run them through the next slot set for fettuccine-sized noodles (or set for spaghetti if you want thinner ones.) Have someone there to catch them!
You can cook them right away or dry them for cooking later. The first time I did this, I used several coat hangers and hung noodles all over the house.
Once I got more serious about making pasta, I bought a pasta drying rack. It's less than $20 and worth the money.
|Fante's Grandma Nadia's Pasta Drying Rack|
Once they dry, if you are not using them right away, place them in a ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
To cook, place in a pot of boiling, salted water and cook until they reach the desired texture. The time will vary depending on how long you dried the noodles and how thin they are. Thin fresh noodles can cook in just a few minutes so taste them often.
Drain and serve with a sauce, tossed in some veggies, or in a noodle soup.
I made the rest of the noodles for lunch in a simple veggie broth with carrots, onions, and celery.