Easy DIY FETTUCCINE
I was brought up in a household where the men were treated like demi gods; my father couldn’t even boil water or make a drink for himself.
I swore to myself that my boys would not be like that. That they would be just as capable of doing any chore, without having to depend on their mother, girlfriend or wife to do things for them.
So my sons have no qualms experimenting in the kitchen or going for cooking classes. Probably programmes like the Masterchef series also help to reinforce the notion that it’s cool for men to be able to cook.
Sometimes, No. 3 invites his friends over to bake stuff and last weekend, I was a little tickled (and extremely proud) to see four boys getting together to make pasta. For a first attempt, it was a very admirable effort.
Not quite satisfied with the results, No. 3 made another batch of fettuccine by himself two days later (with his mum helping him roll out the dough – this was the fun part!). I was quite surprised that it was really that easy.
Frankly, it’s just about the type of flour that is used for the dough – there’s very little difference between “pasta” and Chinese “noodles”, save for the form it takes.
Homemade pasta has a different flavour and springiness to it. Now I understand why restaurants charge a premium price for handmade pasta even though it’s so simple to make and the ingredients don’t cost much.
But of course, we used a pasta machine – it was invented for a reason, so why the need to be a hero and roll everything out by hand!
Here’s the recipe from a cooking class J attended a while back which I tried out on my own.
115g wheat flour
110g suji (semolina) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
90ml water (add a little at a time if too dry)/ 6ml olive oil
Mix both types of flour and salt together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs. Beat them together while pulling the flour in.
Transfer to the board and knead into a dough, slowly adding a bit of water if it gets too dry. When the dough seems springy enough, wrap in cling wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
So here’s where it gets interesting. After you take out the dough, flatten it a bit and cut into four parts.
Put the dough through the pasta machine and roll out until it thins out, and then cut into fettucine.
The making of the dough I realise, is the easiest part. If you knead too long, the pasta becomes too brittle and dry, so it’s not recommended. There’s also a lot of trial and error in getting the texture just right. After cutting out the strands of fettuccine, let it hang on a rack if possible, to dry a bit. But DO NOT stack otherwise they will all clump together. And don’t not wait too long to cook the pasta, otherwise it loses its freshness.
The first time round, the dough was too wet, so we added more flour and kneaded it a bit more, and then it was OK. When I did it, I added about less than half the water in the recipe. Oh, and don’t forget to dust the machine with flour when rolling out the dough.
Achievement unlocked: I can make my own pasta now. But I confess most days, I would probably be too lazy to get the machine out to knead the dough and wash up after that, so yeah, store bought fettuccine is good too!