UPDATE (July 24, 2014): It’s that time of year again when the garden is producing more basil and tomatoes than one can possibly eat! This week we received a bag of fresh basil in our CSA and I wanted to try an experiment. If I added basil to my Cuisinart when I was mixing my pasta dough together, could I make delicious basil pasta? The results of my experiment were a resounding success. If you add about 1 cup (mine was actually 1 sandwich baggie worth) of basil in with the flour and salt before you add your eggs, then the flour helps keep the basil from mushing up while its being chopped. One your basil is chopped and incorporated into your flour, then add your eggs. Because of the extra moisture in the basil, I did not need to add any additional water after my eggs. We served our basil pasta with fresh tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Simple. Easy. Perfect dinner during these hot summer months!
There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies, Kung Fu Panda, “Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” I spent years trying to making fresh pasta by hand in our tiny apartment kitchen in Davis, California. It was a really small studio apartment and the things I choose to cook were beyond the capability of our kitchenette. There’s a famous Italian proverb, “La cucina piccola fal la casa grande (A small kitchen makes the house big)”. It’s amazing the things we were able to create in our kitchen.
I love pasta and once you’ve had fresh pasta everything else tastes nasty. I decided that I had to learn to make noodles effectively in my tiny kitchen that didn’t involve buying a ton of kitchen equipment. Our apartment was already cramped enough. I tried futzing with the recipe. Failed. I tried making dough in our KitchenAid mixer. Really failed. I don’t know why or how I decided to make dough in our Cuisinart. Success.
The only kitchen equipment I finally broke down and purchased was the KitchenAid pasta roller and spaghetti and fettucine cutters. In reality, I didn’t have enough kitchen counter space to actually roll out the dough. Our KitchenAid actually sat in our living room. Yup, our kitchen was that small. The KitchenAid pasta roller and cutters have been by far one of the best kitchen purchases I’ve ever made. Now when I don’t feel like cooking or when it’s a 1000 degrees outside and I don’t want to turn on my stove, I can whip up a recipe of fresh pasta and it cooks in no time flat. If you have fresh or canned tomatoes around, bacon, and herbs, you’ve got yourself a really lovely dinner.
- 240 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Add flour and salt to food processor with chop / mix blade and turn on the motor.
- Slowly add the eggs.
- Allow the food processor to work for 30 – 60 sec.
- Add 1 – 3 tablespoons of water to get the dough moist enough, the dough will begin to stick to the sides when it’s moist enough.
- When done, turn the dough out, gather it together, and knead until smooth.
- Wrap and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into fourths.
- Flatten each ball of dough with your hands.
- Open your machine to the widest setting and feed the dough through once.
- Fold the dough into thirds (like folding a letter) and run it through again with the open edges (not the folded edges) going through first.
- Fold and roll two more times so the dough is soft and silky.
- Go to the next notch on your machine and run the dough through without folding.
- Turn the gear to the next notch and run the dough through once.
- Continue going through each notch until the dough is as thin / thick as desired (on KitchenAid roller I go to the 6th setting).
- The dough can now be cut into noodles. Cut the noodles by hand on use your machine’s cutting attachment.
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- Add a good pinch of salt and 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the water.
- When the water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook for a few minutes.
- Drain the pasta.