HOMEMADE LEMON PASTA
In the “olden” days, I made homemade pasta…because I wanted to learn the technique and because “there is nothing like it” for many recipes. Trust me, it is well worth the effort and the kids loved to pitch in and help. They were amazed that you could roll the ingredients into a ball and extrude from the pasta maker strings of feathery dough, oh so fun to play with and much more fun than Play-Doh!
I was living in Charlotte, North Carolina at the time and a shop opened up in my neighborhood called Pasta & Provisions and they made a multitude of fresh, flavored pastas. I was surely spoiled and put up my pasta maker, unless I felt the need to impress.
My home now is in Mount Pleasant, SC. I recently dug out my favorite Spring Pasta recipe which calls for FRESH LEMON PASTA. To my dismay, I was unable to find the item, so I had no choice but to drag out my deserted pasta maker. Almost as easy as before, like you don’t “forget how to ride a bike”, I found that “I still got skills”! I was amazed the dough cooperated, rolled out perfectly, and into the machine for some awesome fettucine noodles. If you would like to try at home, here are some instructions that might help.
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
The “nonnas” of the world would make a well of the flour and put the rest of the ingredients in the center and gradually work the liquid into the flour with a fork until incorporated. Then, roll into a ball and cover with a towel (or plastic wrap). Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes or 5 or so minutes in the refrigerator. Then they would roll out the dough with a rolling pin until desired thickness and cut into strips with a knife.
This “nonna” cleans off the Kitchen Aid mixer and dough hook. I put the flour into the mixer bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients together and pour into the bowl. With the machine on low (you don’t want the flour to escape) the mixture will slowly form a ball. You can speed up the machine as the ball comes together. Remove to a lightly floured counter, marble slab, etc. and knead for about two minutes or until the ball becomes smooth before letting it rest covered for 30 minutes or in refrigerator for about 5 minutes.
Cut the ball into 5 pieces.
I keep the remaining pieces in the refrigerator while I roll out one until the thickness will go in into the widest setting of the pasta machine.
Continue to roll through thinner settings. I stop at #5 out of 6 before cutting the dough into fettuccine noodles.
Then run the dough through the fettuccine cutting roll. Gently separate the strands of pasta with your fingers and sprinkle with a little flour to keep from sticking together. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
In a 6 quart pot (preferably a pasta pot with strainer) let water come to a boil. Cook pasta for 60-90 seconds testing for doneness. It needs to be slightly al dente because it will continue to cook. Sauce with your favorite recipe and save some of the pasta water to keep the dish moist. BUON APPETITO!
* For lemon pepper pasta, add 1 teaspoon or more of freshly cracked pepper