How to cook pasta at home

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Joined Sep 21, 2020
As a result of the lockdown we got into our kitchen more often and tried new things, didn't it? With the easy option of going out from us, it made us interesting dishes for our families. Pasta has always been a crowd-pleaser. How many times did you order it when you went out for a meal? Or get those readymade sauces and prepared pasta just to heat and eat? Okay, what would you tell yourself to make pasta and make a MasterChef worthy dish for your loved ones?

Basic Pasta Recipe:

Preparation Time:
8-10 minutes
Resting Time: 30 minutes.
Serves: 2

Ingredients
100g flour
100g Durum wheat flour
Two eggs
1 tsp Olive Oil

Method
  • Knead the flours and egg together and make into a dough as per pasta type of your choice. Different kinds of dough make different types of pasta.
  • If the dough is too hard, add water and if it is soft and sticky add flour.
  • Brush the dough with olive oil and cling wrap it and let it rest.
  • Use the rolling pin to roll the pasta.
  • The thickness of the pasta depends on the type of pasta you want to make.
  • For cutting the pasta, you could use the tip of a knife or a pizza cutter.

Marinara Sauce:

Preparation Time:
10 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves: 2 cups

Ingredients
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
One onion, finely chopped
Two cloves garlic, minced
¼ tbsp celery stalk, finely chopped
¼ tbsp carrots, finely chopped
¼ cup red wine, Chianti
½ cup tomatoes, blanched and finely chopped
1 cup tomato puree
Two bay leaves
Sea Salt to taste
¼ tsp black peppercorn, freshly ground

Method:
  • Heat oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and sauté till the onions are translucent.
  • Add the celery, carrots, salt and pepper, sauté till the vegetables are tender.
  • Add red wine, cook on a high flame.
  • Add the chopped and pureed tomatoes, bay leaves and simmer uncovered for at least an hour.
  • Discard the bay leaves from the sauce, adjust seasoning if required. Use as required.
Source: Femina
 
1,134
693
Joined Mar 1, 2017
Hi and welcome to CT.

It may surprise you, but, most professional chefs typically do not order pasta in the rare times we get to go out to eat. This is because dishes like pasta are typically the most overpriced and least interesting dishes on the menu. For me, I prepped and served pasta 6 days a week for over 40 years. If Im going out to eat, the last thing I want in front of me is a plate of pasta. ;-)

But, setting that fun fact aside, let's talk first about your pasta dough.

The ingredients are fine. Salt is an option and some people leave it out because they think it cuts down on their salt intake. I find that rather interesting considering the water they typically use to cook the pasta is often as salty as the ocean. But, I digress. So, to salt or not to salt? That is the question. You decide.

The dough should rest in the fridge tightly wrapped for an hour, not at room temp. A knife or pizza cutter could be used to cut the pasta but, you'll be there all day, especially if you're making pasta for a large group. You can buy a manual pasta roller/cutter that mounts to your counter top for under $20. An electric roller/cutter will cost a little more.

So, other than that, I think your pasta recipe/method is good to go.

As for the marinara sauce, leave out the celery. The bitterness of celery will compete with the sweetness of your tomatoes, which is not ideal. You can use a carrot but, because carrots are high in natural sugars, they're typically used to sweeten the sauce only when the tomatoes quality isn't good.

Use butter, not oil to saute' the onion and garlic. In the end, the oil will just end up floating on top of your marinara and serve no real purpose.

Next, high flame and marinara should never meet. Use only gentle heat. You're creating a symphony, not Norwegian death metal. Let the onions, garlic and tomatoes get to know each other gently. When the mixture begins to gently bubble, then, add your wine. Remember, if you won't drink the wine, don't cook with it.

Chopped and pureed tomatoes? No. A can of whole, peeled plum tomatoes crushed by hand in a bowl is all you need. If you want a less chunky marinara, which is more traditional, use an immersion blender or food processor to puree the tomatoes. Canned pureed tomatoes often contain added salt and/or sugar or other flavors you probably don't want in your sauce.

If you are using fresh tomatoes, use plum tomatoes. They're more meaty and sweeter. To prep, give each a shallow cut that just pierces the skin and blanch them in boiling water for a couple minutes. Transfer them immediately to an ice bath. This will make peeling them very easy. Remove the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Seeds will add extra acidity to the sauce and the pulp will add more water, neither of which you want.

There's no need to cook marinara for more than 30 to 45 minutes. By that time, the tomatoes will reach their peak in flavor. There's no such thing as "cooking out the acidity" in tomatoes by letting them cook for an hour or longer. Prolonged cooking actually makes tomato sauce more acidic, not less.

When the pasta is just al dente, remove from the water and reserve 1 - 2 cups of the pasta water.
Transfer 2 or 3 ladles of the tomato sauce to a skillet over medium heat. Add a serving or two of the pasta to the skillet and toss in the sauce. Add the pasta water in small increments, about 1/2 ladle at a time. Toss until the pasta reaches the desired firmness and texture.

Cheers. :)
 
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Joined Sep 14, 2020
I have always to try homemade fresh pasta. I mainly cook South and East Asian cuisine but Italian has always intrigued me, the use of tomatoes is very familiar. The Marinara sauce I will try this weekend I hope, just going through the list of ingredients is building a vision of flavour :emoji_yum:
 
1,134
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
Let us know how your marinara turns out. :)

We would love it if you would share some of your Asian recipes with us in a another thread.
 
36
11
Joined Sep 14, 2020
I have a YouTube channel but most videos are not translated yet! Some are, some I have shared already, more I translate more I will post :emoji_hugging:
 
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630
Joined May 5, 2010
I used to run a pasta station for Sunday Brunch and we made Spinach, Egg, and Tomato pasta to offer the guests. At home I found an authentic hand cranked pasta machine from Italy for $5.00 at a garage sale. The lady at the sale told me she watched her grandmother using that machine when she was a little girl.
 
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