The first time I tried to make homemade pasta, I failed. Miserably. I was too ambitious. I thought my KitchenAid mixer would take care of everything, and I was confident that I could make the best whole wheat spinach pasta in the world! But for some reason, I made the worst pasta. My dough was horrible -- hard, thick, dry. Just gross. So instead of pasta, I ended up with a Halloween mask.
That experience was a let down, and since then I've been using store-bought dry noodles. But when I saw all of the beautiful arugula in my CSA share from this week, I decided that I should give the pasta making another go so I'd have something for my arugula pesto to hold on to.
I found this great fresh pasta recipe from The Kitchn, and after reading through it a few times I realized how simple it could really be. (I tend to complicate things.) It only takes three ingredients to make enough fresh pasta to feed four hungry adults:
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
That's it. Seriously.
I combined all the ingredients and used my KitchenAid mixer to form the pasta dough, which I hand rolled into a ball. And while I let the ball of dough sit for 30 minutes on my countertop, wrapped up in plastic wrap, I made my arugula pesto.
So arugula pesto... It's just like basil pesto, but what I like about arugula pesto is that it has a bit of a kick to it. Arugula has some spice, a hint of heat if you will, that's sort of similar to the heat you get with spicy mustard.
To make the pesto, all you need is a bunch of arugula, garlic, walnuts or pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. (Simply Recipes has a great arugula pesto recipe. ) For my pesto, I used walnuts because I'm a cheapskate. I like pine nuts, but walnuts will do just fine, and they cost much less.
Basically all you have to do is combine the ingredients in a food processor, and after a few minutes of pulsing them all together, you have fresh pesto!
Once the pesto was made, I set it aside while I worked on making the noodles. The most fun part of making pasta!
I took the dough ball and cut it into four wedges. Then I took a wedge and flattened it out by hand, making a long, rectangular, flat piece of dough that I could pass through the pasta roller.
I passed the pasta through the roller on the widest setting first, and then I would fold the pasta into thirds and pass it through again -- each time bringing the rollers closer and closer together so I could get the pasta nice and thin.
After passing the pieces through the roller, I took each one and put them through the noodle-making attachment (I don't know the proper name for the tool). Then I dusted the noodles in flour and let them sit on a baking sheet for a few minutes to ensure that they were dry before dropping them in boiling water.
Once the noodles were ready, I cooked them in salted, boiling water for a few minutes. And the noodles were perfectly al dente in less than five minutes. Can you believe that?
And there you have it. Homemade pasta. Fresh arugula pesto. All of this in under an hour. I'm no Italian grandmother, but if I can do this, anyone can!