I’m sure many of you have had problems with making pasta from recipes alone. I hopefully can dispel some of the problems you may come across.
1) I always find the amounts listed in recipes never works. So I use 100g strong flour(at least 13g/100g protein) to 2 egg yolks. Plus a little of the reserved egg whites. Put this in a processor and pulse with a pinch of salt until it resembles largish damp breadcrumbs.(packet couscous appearance) If too fine still add some more egg white or water. It should then look like picture number 1.
2) Something i have found absent from a few recipes was the importance of kneading the dough. Once you have your mix at breadcrumb level, pour onto worktop and press together. If the mixture is correct you barely need any flour for kneading. If it sticks you need to add some flour. This then should be kneaded for a good 10 mins. This doesn’t seem to do a lot, but pays dividends when it comes to rolling out. The dough is correct when you can happily knead it without having to use flour to stop if sticking. Picture no 2.
3) Wrap dough in clingfilm and leave to rest in fridge for minimum 30mins, up to a day. Now the fun/annoying bit. I’m only going to talk about using a pasta machine. If you don’t have one I wouldn’t even attempt making your own pasta. Firstly roll ball to about 5-8mm thickness with a rolling pin. Then put the dough through the press no1 a couple of times to ensure the dough is pliable and in a good shape. Continue rolling the pasta all the way down to no 6 press. No 6 is good for basic raviolis, no 5 for spaghetti or tagliatelle. No 7 is best for tortellinis or any folded pasta.(As above) Depending on how much bite you like in your pasta.
4) Once you have a long thin layer of pasta you are ready to fill it. I have found that making a filling that is not too complicated or watery is best. Ricotta is an excellent carrier of flavours, otherwise just use whatever you fancy, but moisten it a little with a spponful of cream or pesto. In the above I used a tin of crab meat, chilli sauce and a coriander pesto I had kicking about.
5) I then used a 9cm chefs ring to cut circles in the pasta. It then only needs 2/3 of a tsp of filling. Otherwise it all seeps out of the sides and bursts. The pasta then needs to be dampened, not soaked, with egg white or water to help pasta stick. If making ravioli, its good to get to picture no 3, then just place another layer of pasta over the top. Press carefully around the filling to remove any air. Then use the chefs ring to press out the ravioli again and seal the edges.
6) For tortellinis, get to picture no 3, then fold each circle of pasta in half. Make sure its well sealed, i then pick it up off the counter, fold both ends into the middle, then push the top down. It should then look like the collection of photo no 4.
To store these, lightly flour a plate, put pasta on then loosely cover with cling film. Put in fridge until ready. To cook have a pan of simmering water. DO NOT BOIL. If youbehave boiling water it may split the stuffed pastas, a more gentle simmering water will be fine. Just add pasta until it rises to the surface, then drain on kitchen paper. Serve with your favourite sauce.