A bit more of Italy yet not so simple! Pasta…

Homemade pasta – something I have wanted to try for a long, long time. So long, in fact, that the pasta machine I bought sat in my cupboard, wrapped, for two years until I finally got around to try it.

With my mother in law and three children, the task began!

Jamie Oliver is always a great reference; his basic pasta recipe did not disappoint but did alter it a bit as I added a little salt and olive oil to the dough.

My pasta machine however…never again! It would not stick to the table, kept over flowing etc etc….I have never laughed so much in my life and it took us over four hours to make dinner!!! Luckily the children thought it was hilarious and the end result was so tasty no-one seemed to care. I will make my own pasta again for sure…but without a machine!

Fresh Pasta

1 egg for every 100g type 00 flour (or pasta flour as it is sometimes called)
Bit of salt
Bit of olive oil
  • I was feeding three children and three adults so used 600g of flour and 6 eggs – I could have easily made more (they loved it and ate like they had never seen food!)
  • Place your flour in a nice mountain shape on your counter top
  • Make a well in the middle
  • Crack your eggs into the well
  • Sprinkle the salt on top
  • Add about 1/4 tsp olive oil per egg into the well
  • Using a fork, make the eggs smooth
  • Using your fingers, gently combine the flour and eggs until everything is mixed
  • Keep kneading the dough until you have a smooth lump – this takes time and patience is needed
  • Once combined, knead away until the consistency of your dough changes – it will look silky and smooth when ready. This can take up to 10 minutes depending on how strong you are! (If you have a good food mixer let a dough hook do the work for you) You are doing this to ensure you have springy pasta at the end – if you do not knead and develop the gluten in the flour, the pasta will turn out soft and soggy
  • Place in cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • Once cold, I placed small bits of dough into my pasta machine and fought the machine for four hours in order to create something that resembled tagliatelle….
  • If you have no machine, count your blessings! Roll out the dough, in small batches, until it is very thin – one to two centimetres at the most. The, using a sharp knife, create the desired shape of pasta you want – be it lasagne sheets; spaghetti; tagliatelle; ravioli etc
  • Leave to dry for 15 minutes on a tea towel
  • Pop into simmering water with a bit of added salt and cook for no longer than a few minutes – pasta should always be “al dente”  – “to the tooth”….. Never ever soft!
  • Enjoy with your choice of sauce – I made mine with pesto (and a bit of philadelphia mixed in for the children as I like my pesto very garlicky!)

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Once you have scooped out all the flesh from your pumpkin – do not discard the seeds! They make a super tasty and healthy snack!

  • Scoop out the seeds once you are carving your pumpkin and save them
  • Wash them in a bowl and remove any flesh – guess who will love this job!!?? Little ones…Big bowl and a little water…they will be at it for a while!
  • If you have no patience for the children doing it then fill a bowl of water and dump the seeds and left over flesh into it. Stir it for a few minutes and you will find that the seeds automatically come to the surface – simply scoop them out!
  • Lay them on a tea towel over night to dry
  • When dry, place them in a bowl and toss them in any (or all) of the below:
    • olive oil
    • soya sauce
    • garlic powder
    • chilli
  • Place them on a baking sheet on a tray and bake them at 120C for about 30 minutes tossing every 15-20 minutes to ensure they don’t burn
  • Once done, let them cool completely!
  • They are lovely and crisp and a great source of protein!
  • Will keep in the fridge for months – but probably won’t last a day!!!