AB and JoC both suggested mounding the flour and creating a well in the center for the wet ingredients to be poured into. The benefit of doing it this way is you never use more flour than you need -- you just use as much flour as necessary to soak up the wet ingredients and form the dough. That's brilliant! And so simple! So I tried it.
First I mounded my dough. Then I made a well...
Then I added the wet ingredients...
Waahh!! My well! My beautiful well. Actually it was a stupid sissy well that couldn't even hold some eggs and water in place...arrghh. At this point I almost gave up, but the bf offered some moral support, so I continued...
Ahh..eventually, I got a dough! And it didn't suck. Yay! I actually didn't use up all the flour that the recipe called for, so I think it is a good idea to incorporate the dough and the wet ingredients slowly instead of all at once.
After the dough rested in the fridge for about an hour, we rolled it out into thin sheets...And if you're wondering, no those are not my hands -- I put the bf to work for this recipe. Sometimes moral support just isn't enough.
The next step was to cut the sheets into strips. Using a pizza cutter made it really easy.
The final step was to use a handy dandy pasta dryer and allow the pasta to dry for at least 2 hours...
This is what happens when you're living on a grad student stipend and therefore don't have a handy dandy pasta dryer. You make one! We scrubbed down a yard stick until it was nice and clean, propped it up with two chairs, and hung the pasta strips off of it. Drying the pasta this way was so simple, I don't think I even need a pasta dryer.
Once the pasta dries, it is ready to be boiled. The boiling time is much less than for store bought pasta. We boiled ours for about 6 minutes.
I made a simple tomato sauce with fresh mushrooms and onions, topped it with some Parmigiano Reggiano (yes, I splurged and bought the real stuff) and...Tah Dah!
This pasta was SOOO good and the taste/texture was just so much better than the store bought stuff. Now I'm not saying that I'll never use store-bought pasta, because, well, it's still really good and so quick to prepare, but whenever I have the time, I will definitely be making this again. It does take some effort and patience, but the end result is sooo worth it.
Whole Wheat Pasta (adapted from Joy of Cooking and Alton Brown)
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 1 Tb water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2. Combine the eggs, water, salt, and oil.
3. Make a large well* (see note below) in the center of the mound and slowly pour in the egg mixture a little bit at a time. Mix the flour with the wet ingredients until all of the wet ingredients are absorbed. Do not force the dough to use all the flour, just take as much as needed to incorporate all the wet ingredients.
4. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes.
5. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
6. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. On a well-floured surface, roll out each piece into a thin sheet, one at a time. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick, thin enough to detect the outline of your hand.
7. Cut the dough into strips of desired thickness.
8. Let the strips dry on a pasta dryer (or a homemade pasta dryer!) for at least 2 hours.
9. Note: Fresh pasta takes much less time to cook. Check the pasta as soon as 4 minutes of boiling.
*I think the reason my well didn't work out so well (hah!) is that I poured too much of the the wet ingredients in too quickly. The wet ingredients should be poured into the well in small batches, one at a time. Also, the well should be deep enough to hold a good amount of liquid (mine was not).
After making this, I decided to submit it to Presto Pasta Nights, a great group of food bloggers who challenge themselves by making interesting pasta dishes. This week's host is Ruth from Once Upon a Feast -- her blog has some great recipe ideas!