When I saw the fresh pasta from neighbor Superior Pasta at Greensgrow last weekend, I got a bit nostalgic for my cooking class at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. In Week 4 of the class, we spent the two and a half hours amidst floured counter-tops and hands, carefully working fresh dough to create a stretchy-smooth ball to then flatten and cut for a boiling pot of water. The process was quite soothing, actually – perhaps I was channeling my Italian heritage or sorting my thoughts from the long work day. While the process was therapeutic, I remember my uneasiness as I wrapped up my disc of dough for refrigeration – am I going to end up with pasta or an inedible mush?
I ended up with pasta. Delicious pasta that was tender, light and delicate; not typical adjectives for the big bowls of spaghetti that start with dried pasta found at supermarkets. The primary difference is in the ingredients. Store-bought dried pasta is typically made of water and durum wheat to help make the pasta firm, while fresh pasta contains eggs, lending a light texture and flavor. Fresh pasta is typically more porous so it absorbs more of its sauce.
We cooked the CSA-acquired pasta this week. Two minutes in a boiling pot of water and it was ready to be topped with some Greensgrow homemade tomato sauce, shredded Romano cheese from Mr. Mancuso’s in South Philadelphia, and fresh basil from Herban Farm in West Chester. I added a bed of micro greens from Arc Greenhouses for added color and nutrition.
If you’re looking for more resources on making your own fresh pasta, I enjoyed Jamie Oliver’s explanation and The Pioneer Woman’s step-by-step tutorial. The recipe I’m sharing with you on this Post may not be Superior Pasta’s recipe that we enjoyed this week, but it worked for me in my Introduction to Culinary Arts class. Sadly, Week 6, the last class of the series, was postponed and then canceled due to snow, yet another indicator of an unforgiving mother nature that visited the East coast this winter. On a positive note, J insists I pick another class in light of the $55 credit he received. And it’s not even my birthday.
Fresh Egg Pasta
From “Introduction to Culinary Arts Community Education” course book, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- Pinch salt
- 1 oz water; or as needed
- 1 oz olive oil
- Combine flour and salt in bowl and make a well in the center. Place eggs, water, and oil in well. Working rapidly as possible, gradually pull flour into the liquid ingredients and stir with a fork or your fingers until a loose mass forms. As the dough is mixed, adjust consistency with more flour or water, until it is a soft yellow color; smooth in texture, and has no signs of flour in the mass.
- Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until the texture becomes smooth and elastic. Gather and smooth the kneaded dough into the shape of a hockey puck, cover or wrap with plastic wrap, and let the dough relax, refrigerated for 20 minutes.
- Roll the pasta dough into thin sheets and cut into desired shapes or using a pasta machine. Cook in boiling water for 30-45 second, or until al dente.
- To store, this dough may be held under refrigeration for up to 2 days.