Maybe it was the Italian arias or the romantic notion of being like an Italian mama making long threads of pasta from my kitchen that influenced my decision to purchase a pasta maker. Two years have passed and I haven't managed to get it out of its box. I decided to gift the Italian pasta maker to my friend Jan.
Imagine my delight when we walked into Jan's kitchen in Christchurch to witness the pasta making in progress and later enjoyed the fresh pasta full of the flavours of summer.
|Jan serving up the summer pasta dish featuring shelled prawns tomatoes and basil|
|The pasta has to be hung to set and to keep separated - Jan used a pole between two chairs|
|You can make pasta out of ordinary flour but to increase your chances of a successful pasta you need to use Italian flours. Jan used 50/50 Semola (which has the same texture as fine corn meal) with 00 grade very fine Italian flour.|
For every 100g of flours add one egg - Jan used 200 g of Semola and 200g of 00 Italian flour with four eggs - no salt required as the pasta is cooked in salty water. You can mix the Italian way on a large board or benchtop by hand but Jan used the Kenwood mixer with the dough hook and this saves time and mess. The eggs should be enough for the flours to form a soft dough - if not no more than a flick of extra water is required. You need to sit the dough for at least an hour before rolling. Jan stored the dough in the fridge overnight.
|Divide the dough into two and roll out like a thick short pastry|
|Next process is called booking - you fold over both ends of dough to centre - just like a book!|
|Set the roller dial at the highest number and wind the handle and roll oout of the dough|
|After each rolling turn the dial to a lower number|
|When the dough is thin enough you can move to the next stage|
|Thread the rolled pasta through the cutting blade turning the handle and if the pasta sticks sprinkle with extra semola to keep the threads separate|
|Pasta now hangs on a stick to dry and set and is ready for cooking. You can also use coat hangers to hang the pasta.|
|Cut up a packet of cherry tomatoes, add 1 Tbsp of chilli oil and 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic (if you don't have chilli oil just use a chopped chilli or chilli concentrate) with the zest and juice of two lemons.|
|Set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and heat another pan with olive oil|
|Add one pack of raw shelled prawns and stir|
|Add 1 tbsp of salt to boiling water and then gently add the pasta to ensure the water keeps to a rolling boil - the pasta only takes 2-3 minutes to cook. Strain and run over cold water to stop further cooking.|
|Add the tomato mix to the prawns|
|Cook a few minutes|
|Chop up a large handful of basil - this magnificent basil is growing in Jan's glasshouse|