Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Pasta Making

I've been wanting to make pasta for ages, but as I haven't got a pasta machine I was put off. I am not a huge fan of fresh pasta unless it's filled, but as ravioli, cappeletti and tortelloni require a really thin sheet of pasta, I decided to crack on regardless and make a noodle shape.

It wasn't an easy job. The pasta dough was well and truly kneaded by The Beast, but in rolling it out it just kept springing right on back at me. It didn't seem like I was getting very far at all. I worked the biceps harder and eventually it started to get thinner. It took over my work top.

When I thought it was thin enough, I cut ribbons out of it and hung it up on the oven door handle to hang around until I was ready to cook it. These were well dusted with flour to make sure they didn't stick together.

When it came to cooking it, I dumped all the noodles in a huge pan of salty boiling water. As soon as I did I realised I didn't roll it nearly thin enough. It was going to be a filling dinner.

As thick and rustic as the pasta was, it was actually really good, especially with the slow-cooked oxtail ragu. Perhaps it was the sense of achievement for my rolling efforts, or because I love a stodgy carb-fest - the pasta was chewy and toothsome. Completely unrefined but ultimately very satisfying.


Per person

110gr pasta flour
1 egg

Make a well in the flour and crack the egg into it. Mix it well and then knead it for 10 minutes until it is a smooth elastic ball. Leave to rest for half an hour. Roll the hell out of it as thinly as possible on a floured work surface. When you think you've got it thin enough, think again and carry on rolling. Cut into your desired thickness and hang on a rack to dry for 5 or 10 minutes.

Cook in boiling salted water for just a minute or so and serve with a meaty, rich ragu.

Oxtail Ragu

Serves 3 greedy girls

1 small whole oxtail, chopped into pieces
2 carrots
3 sticks of celery
1 large onion
4 cloves of garlic
A few sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary (optional)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 tin of tomatoes
Half a bottle of red wine
1 tsp Marmite
1/2 a star anise
A handful of mushrooms
A big squirt of tomato puree
Salt & pepper

To remove the fat easier, make this the day before to let the fat cool and solidify.

In a frying pan, brown the oxtail pieces and set aside. Dice the onion, carrots and celery and mince the garlic. In a large saucepan, add some oil and then add these in there. Fry slowly for about 20 mins. Add the browned oxtail and the red wine and simmer briskly until reduced by half. Add the tinned tomatoes, a tin's worth of water, the tomato puree, Marmite and the herbs. Simmer for 3 hours. Add more water if it's looking dry.

Lift out the oxtail and remove the meat from the bones. Add the meat back to the sauce, add the mushrooms and star anise and simmer for a further hour. By this time the sauce should be thick and rich. Taste, season and serve with pasta.


LexEat! said...

I love making pasta but now I feel I've cheated by using a machine to roll it! V impressed you even attempted this!

Melanie Seasons said...

My flatmate has a pasta maker that we've been telling ourselves we'll use one day (possibly to have a go at the very ambitious task of making egg yolk ravioli). I just know I'm going to mess it up. Your dish looks lovely though.

Graphic Foodie said...

Love your use of the cooker handle!

Yeah the pasta does puff up in the water, it's amazing how thin it has to be - and then how flipping tricky it is to handle! Did you use type 00 grade flour?

The oxtail ragu looks amazing - will have to serve that up for sure.

Harrow Plumbing said...

The pasta might have been a bit thick but your dish looks devine so well done and a very good effort

Jackie Dyer said...

Well, that's encouraging as like you, I've been put off by making pasta without a machine but will have a go now. Love the look of the sauce.

Beth said...

I've never made fresh pasta - I like the rustic look!! Looks delish

Ino said...

When I decided to make my own, I did soft egg ravioli. It wasn't easy, especially without a pasta machine. The first one was waaaay too thick, the rest were almost acceptable. The egg yolk was perfectly runny, which kind of cheered me up after 4 hours in the kitchen.
The next day it felt like I had been doing a weight session. I've never tried it again but if I start making my own regularly I don't think I'll need to ever go to the gym!
I think I might give the simple(r) shape you made a go next! The sauce looks amazing by the way. :)

Su-Lin said...

Love the idea of the Marmite in the oxtail stew... I wasn't entirely happy with mine and might try that addition next time.

But rolling with a pasta machine is quite fun - they seem quite affordable if you buy one through Amazon or the like.

Helen said...

Exactly! I warned you about the rolling! I expect you to have biceps like popeye the next time I see you.

Helen said...

Arse. Didn't finish my comment. Wanted to say it still looks delish and loving the oxtail. There is something about really thick pasta though - even more deliciously naughty than usual.

Monkey Gland said...

Marmite, star anise plus all that oxtail. Umami madness! Looks good.

Fig and Cherry said...

It looks beautiful Lizzie! I'm so impressed by your idea to hang it over the oven handle, very clever! ;)

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mathildescuisine said...

Since I received that Silver Spoon pasta book, I have been dreaming of making fresh pasta but i don't have a pasta maker. I should try your way though.
Your sauce recipe looks absolutely delicious. Will go very well with mash potatoes or for a pie

Paunchos said...

Amazingly thick pasta - making up for the girly salads. Nice. Your oxtail ragu sounds wonderful. I've heard a square or two of dark chocolate can work well.

ginandcrumpets said...

Love the picture of the pasta hanging over the oven door. That's how I imagine kitchens should look, along with garlic and chillies hanging every and jars of things preserving on the shelves.

Oxtail rgau sounds like heaven.

catty said...

Hehe the big fat pasta noodles are actually really cute :) I like fat pasta.

Anne said...

I've always been tempted to make fresh pasta but don't have a machine either, so glad you managed to make it succesfully without, am sure my boyfriend would probably prefer chunky pasta anyway! Love the look of the oxtail ragu too, mmm meaty goodness!