D and I are on a pasta making kick. It's the antithesis of the meals we would have when he was in grad school and I would run home and pop something in the oven and then we would eat and catch up for 15 minutes and then he would run back to the studio for the rest of the night. Pasta takes time and commitment and it's nice to have someone to keep you company while you roll it out. Especially if they'll take a turn with the rolling pin.
My pasta recipe is from The Silver Spoon, which apparently is The Joy of Cooking of Italy. I'm certainly not an expert, but this is the sort of skill I consider worth perfecting. You need about one egg per cup of flour. I use semolina flour, and it absorbs a lot more liquid than all purpose flour. We spend about two hours in the kitchen, total. We're getting a good rhythm going, where D gets the sauce started while I start the dough and then we work on shaping the pasta together. It's a nice, slow afternoon.
Basic pasta dough (serves 4)
1 3/4 cups flour (preferably type 00) plus extra for dusting
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Salt, to taste (at least a teaspoon, in my experience)
:: Whisk together the flour and the salt. Stir the eggs in and then knead for about 10 minutes. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit of water (I usually have to). If it's too wet, add some more flour.
:: Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
:: Roll out on a lightly floured surface or use a pasta machine. (I do this in four parts, because it's easier to work with a smaller amount of dough at one time. It takes a lot of upper arm work to really get it thin, and it does make me long for a pasta machine sometimes.)
:: Cook in boiling, salted water. Cooking time will depend on the pasta shape you choose. For our ravioli, we filled them with a bit of ricotta and basil and then boiled them in small batches for about 12 minutes.
I'm still looking to master the technique. Any genius pasta makers out there that have tips to share?