By Larraine Roulston:
If you are searching for recipes that are both inexpensive and delicious, you might try making your own homemade pasta. Personally, I do not have a pasta machine but with flour, salt, eggs from cage-free poultry, as well as some garden herbs and olive oil on hand, I was anxious to try a gourmet pasta dinner.
Making pasta involves approximately 2 cups of flour with a pinch of salt forming a well in the center. Preferably do this on a flat surface like your counter or, alternatively, use a large bowl. Add a tablespoon of olive oil with two or three slightly beaten eggs that have been set out to room temperature. Place in the flour’s well. If you do not have sufficient flour, just add more to the perimeter. If you use only the yolks, your pasta will have a stronger yellow appearance. With more flour and eggs, you can make your own lasagna noodles. It may take some experimentation before you decide on the amount flour and eggs that is right for you.
Using a fork, whisk in a circular motion to gather the dry ingredients a little bit at at time into the wet mixture until all are together. If you are on a vegan diet, just mix flour and salt; then add warm water and stir to make a stiff dough.
Once you have a nice mound, place the dough on a floured board and knead until no more flour can be added. While you knead, you may wish to include an herb or other seasonings. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes or more until the ball reaches the point where no more flour can be added, the dough feels elastic, and you have eliminated any small air bubbles within.
Form into a ball, smooth over a little olive oil, then cover and let it sit for 1/2 hour. You may store it in the fridge for a day, but allow dough to return to room temperature before continuing.
Separate into two or four sections, lightly flour them, and cover with a clean dish towel.
Now you are ready to roll out each section with a rolling pin until you reach the desired thickness.
For noodles, cut into strips. To cook, place in boiling water with little salt until done. To dry, lay the pasta over the back of a chair, on a clothes drying rack or use coat hangers. Allow the pasta to hang until it is brittle. To freeze, lay flat or arrange in the shape of a nest on a cookie sheet, then transfer to an airtight container.
If you wish to make pasta stuffed with a filling that includes herbs, use a drinking glass or a cookie cutter to form your shapes. Once finished, it is easier to roll each one even thinner. Wet the rims and pinch top and bottom together. To cook, drop into boiling water and allow them to float for several minutes or so, depending on size, then remove. Be sure to view the links that demonstrate the technique. The last link offers thirteen interesting recipes for ravioli fillings that are sure to whet your appetite.