I almost always have a box of whole wheat pasta in my cupboard. Whole wheat has been my pasta of choice ever since I had a mini-medical meltdown at 39 and spent three days in the hospital trying to stave off an infection. The non-doctor part of my brain (i.e. all of it) chalked it up to binging on Good n' Plenty's. I'm just glad that I had a real doctor to put that fear to rest. I was encouraged, however, to make better dietary choices for myself. That sounds so sterile - better dietary choices. Eat fresh, eat real, eat true. That's what I try to do.
I think that's why it wasn't such a crisis when I opened the cupboard a few nights ago and found just about everything but the pasta that I was looking for. If I wanted pasta, I was going to have to make it myself from scratch. I had good, fresh ingredients on hand and it made me look forward to dinner that much more.
Please know that I am a certified wimp. I'd like to think my wimp to pioneer ratio is about 60/40 but it may really be 70/30. I have a hard time rating myself. I say that because even though the following pasta dough recipe can easily be made by hand, it's a breeze with a stand mixer.
I use a stand mixer for lots of things, including masa for tamales. The Aunties are probably rolling in their graves right now but I'm a modern woman and I require modern appliances. I probably wouldn't make any kind of dough if I didn't have the KitchenAid. Go ahead and roll, Grandma Ghost, but I think we both know that you'd be crawling all over the web if you were here today.
I am also very fortunate to have a KitchenAid Pasta Maker and Food Grinder kit. It was given to us by a very kind hearted somebody many years ago. As far as I can tell, KitchenAid doesn't make it anymore. They've replaced it with my dream pasta attachment. If you already own it, please tell me about it. I'd love to roll pasta vicariously through you.
Here is the recipe I used last night. It is very simple and straighforward, no fancy-schmancy involved. I was out of whole wheat flour but happened to have Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour and all-purpose flour on hand so that is what I used. Also, I cut the following recipe in half because I was only making enough pasta for two people.
Basic Pasta Dough Recipe:
2 C. All Purpose Flour
2 C. Semolina Flour
*Pinch of Salt
6 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBSP Water
2 TBSP Olive Oil
Sift the dry ingredients - the flours and the salt - into the bowl of the stand mixer. I've always remained faithful to the sifter. I may be the last person on earth to own and use one. I'm sure your pasta dough will be perfectly fine without actually sifting.
Add the gently beaten eggs, the oil and the water and mix on the low or medium setting until ingredients come together.
Remove dough from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead dough until it becomes firm but elastic. The dough should only stick to itself. You should not have dough sticking to the countertop or your hands. If the dough is too dry and not holding together, add water a little at a time. You can even just wet your palms under the kitchen faucet and resume kneading. If the dough is too moist, add flour a little at a time. You'll want to knead the dough anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
Split the dough into smaller balls of dough, about the size of a lady fist. Wrap in saran and let sit for 30 minutes. Voila! That is the pasta dough recipe. It is now ready for the pasta maker.
Don't fret if you don't have a stand mixer. This recipe is easily made by hand. If you are making it by hand simply whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and then pour the mixture onto a clean work surface. Make a well into the peak with the back of a large spoon. Add the eggs, oil and water into the center of the well. The high edges of the well will keep the egg mixture from spreading over your work surface. Gently mix from the center outwards with a fork. Eventually you will have a mass of dough that you can begin kneading by hand. Make sure to wrap your dough in plastic and let it stand for 30 minutes.
*Do you know what a "pinch" of salt is? To pinch salt pour a good bit into the palm of your hand and pinch out as much as you can with the thumb, index and middle fingers of the other hand. That is a pinch!
The last thing I will say about making dough is that the dough you end up with will be unique. You may never be able to replicate it. When I was kneading my dough I had just peeled and minced garlic and stripped oregano leaves from the stems. The flavors were imparted into the dough as it was kneaded. The flour and oil that you use will give the dough the most flavor so make sure to use fine and fresh ingredients.