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When you have lemons, make pasta…

February 4, 2010

I have a new rainy day activity for Aidan and me. During recent storms, we spent an afternoon making homemade pasta, something I haven’t done in far too long and I have missed way too much. I credit Wade Moises at Pasta Bar for inspiring me to elevate my pasta efforts. There is just no comparison between store bought and handmade, and after a recent trip to Pasta Bar I have been joyfully ruined.

With the right equipment, handmade pasta is a relatively easy endeavor. The KitchenAid pasta rollers work well, but their food grinder attachment with smaller plates I think work the best for making thin spaghetti noodles. That, and it felt like a Play Dough maker to my seven-year-old sous chef.

Handmade pasta doesn’t need much to be wonderful, but I will say be very mindful of time. It will cook better and clump less if you make allowances to have it properly dry after you have rolled it, and then to allow it only minimal time in the boiling water. This isn’t the hard stuff that comes in a box, it only takes a minute or two to reach a proper al dente consistency.

This pasta also doesn’t need to be dressed up to fancy either. Simple is better. I usually do a pesto or simple tomato sauce when I make pasta, but this time I took advantage of all of the wonderful lemons we have available and made Aunt Pat’s Spaghetti al Lemone recipe to serve with it.

It was a little sunshine on an otherwise gray day. Enjoy!

Pasta Dough

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

2 eggs

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1-4 tablespoons water (less is better)

Place flour, eggs, olive oil and salt in a food processor. Process for 15 seconds, adding water a few drops at a time until a ball starts to form. Once the ball forms, run the machine for another 30-45 seconds.

Remove the dough and wrap in plastic and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. If you are using a KitchenAid mixer, cut pasta into small sections and push through the grinder, using the plate with the smaller holes for spaghetti. You can also use this pasta recipe with other pasta rollers for thicker noodles.

Cut the pasta at the desired length and allow to dry, either on a drying rack or spread out on parchment paper. The longer you allow the pasta to dry, the less like it will be to clump when you cook it. I would suggest you allow it to dry for at least an hour.

Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for no more than 2-3 minutes. Check the pasta as it cooks, it will cook very fast.

Spaghetti al Limone

1 1/2 freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup lemon juice

2/3 cups extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 cups firmly packed basil leaves

Combine the Parmesan and lemon juice. Combine the rest of the ingredients, except for the basil, mixing to “melt” the cheese in the oil. Toss sauce with pasta, top with basil leaves and serve.

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