August 26, 2016

Pasta: its good for the soul Part 1

Proof Miami

(Proof Miami: Tagliatelle w/ Lamb, Mint, Pecorino)



There is something so gratifying about taking the first bite into a really good bowl of pasta. There are plenty of incredible restaurants that serve some of the best in South Florida, to name a few: Proof, Macchialina, MC Kitchen, Scarpetta, Salumeria 104, Anacapri and the list goes on but there is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment of making your own. Where do you even start? Lets start at the beginning... the dough.

Disclaimer: If you have an issue with variables, pasta making might not be for you, perhaps think about being the taste tester (You're Welcome)

Whether you are a fan of thick noodles, skinny noodles, stuffed, layered, long, short, curly, even star shaped... there is one thing for certain. You cannot deny that quality is a key factor. Using the right blends of flours, eggs, oils and not to mention temperature of water can make or break your dreams of making the perfect pasta from scratch.

Breakdown of a basic dough:

Flour- could be "00", All Purpose, Semolina, Duram are the most popular but if you are making gluten free versions you can check out nut flours (aka coconut flour)

Oils- could be EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), canola, peanut or avocado or vegetable

Egg- Chicken is most popular, usually a combination of whole egg and some extra yolks for fat content

Water- filtered, temperature specific, warm is best

Hand kneading is the way to go. If you overwork the dough be prepared for chewy and dense pasta. Once all the ingredients are incorporated, let rest for 1 hour, then use a rolling pin to get the dough flat and thin enough to push through the pasta roller, hand crank is a favorite while any mixer should have a pasta attachment. If you need some inspiration, The Geometry of Pasta book is highly recommended.

Mind you, pasta is not a willy nilly thing. There are certain sauces, accompaniments and ingredients for each pasta shape, here's where the book comes in handy, they actually go in detail the specifics of each pasta shape.

So you now have your pretty pasta, get a pot of boiling salted water, yes make it salty like the sea and cook it for no more than 1-2 minutes.

You already had your sauce ready right? Did you choose red sauce (or gravy if you are in the know), alfredo, brown butter, bolognese, vodka, pesto or some blurry line of any of the previous combined? It all comes down to preference really. Sauce is a whole new conversation and for another day, we can call it part 2.

Feel accomplished, you did the impossible and have something to show for it. Manga!

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