If you have ever had fresh, homemade pasta it is nothing like store bought pasta or even store bought "fresh" pasta. It is light and airy and so yummy! Tonight I made "rag" pasta, so called because after you roll it, all you do is tear it up into big pieces (rags) and boil it. I decided to add a bit of health so instead of all flour I added 1/4 cup of flax seed meal that I had on hand. Flax Seeds have tons of great nutrients and are another way to add omega-3's to your diet. It tasted fine in the pasta, although, with only 1/4 cup in the entire recipe, who knows how much nutrition we got from each serving, but some is better than none, right? Oh, and I love making homemade pasta, but I don't enjoy making it by hand. I use a food processor.
Homemade Rag Pasta
1 1/2 cup of flour*
1/2 cup flax seed meal
2 tbsp oil
about 1/4 cup of water
*You can play around with your flour. Use 2 cups of all purpose and no flax, use half all purpose and half wheat, or all semolina (which is more authentic.)
In a food processor blend all of the ingredients. Drizzle in water until dough starts to come together in a ball. Pulse for a bit longer. Dump dough on your counter and knead a couple of times to bring it together. It should look like this:
I have rolled pasta with a rolling pin, so it can be done! Cut the dough into small manageable balls and roll as thin as you can. Or, if you used your Christmas money on a pasta machine like I did, you get to pull it out of the pantry and use it again! Cut the dough in half and place on machine. Starting with the largest setting (1 on my machine) roll the dough through the opening 3 or 4 times on the same setting.
After 3 or 4 times on 1, set the machine to 2 and keep rolling. It should begin to look like this:
Between rolls, fold your dough in half. Work each setting at least twice before moving to the next setting. If your dough gets caught and all mangled, go back a setting or two and just keep going.
Keep working to until you get to the last setting, which will make the pasta very thin. Only run it through the last setting once. Get creative and find a space in your kitchen that you can hang your pasta to dry. You don't HAVE to do this step, but it does something to the pasta which really does seem to make it better some how. I cleared off a shelf unit, wiped it down and used it. I've seen people take a broom stick (clean it) and then lay it from their island to their counter and use it. Let the past dry for at least 20 minutes.
Bring a REALLY big pot to boil. Fresh pasta has a lot of starch and needs a big pot of water or it will all gum together. Believe me. I did this amount of pasta in about 4 batches in the largest pot I have. Don't forget to salt the water! When it comes to a boil, tear the pasta into pieces and boil for about 2-3 minutes. If you hand roll your pasta and it's a bit thicker it may take 4-5 minutes. This makes enough pasta for 4 people.
Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1/2 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper
Sautè onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion becomes translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Bring to a ripping boil and to reduce the sauce, stirring frequently about 15-20 minutes. Adjust seasonings as needed.