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Posts Tagged ‘Stefano Manfredi pasta’

Italians are tough.

When I mentioned to one recently that I’d watched Stefano Manfredi make pasta from scratch in fifteen minutes, she replied, “Fifteen minutes?  He took five minutes too long!”

This astounded me, because pasta has always been our culinary bugbear.  Pete and I have tried to make it on several occasions, and always ended up with a kitchen covered in flour and a pasta machine clogged up with dough.

It now seems that (surprise, surprise) we’ve been overthinking the whole process.  We’ve tried with continental flour, then remilled semolina flour, then added oil, boiling water and so forth, and each time we’ve ended up with a clumpy mess.

So we decided to try again using Steve Manfredi’s method. After all, it’s hard to argue that something is impossible when we’ve witnessed it with our own eyes.

I tipped 400g of plain (AP) flour into a large mixing bowl and cracked in four fresh eggs.  The amount of flour will depend on the day – factors such as humidity, the hydration of the flour and ambient kitchen conditions will all impact on the finished dough.  Manfredi suggests starting with slightly less flour and adding more as needed (I, of course, forgot that bit).

I squelched the flour and eggs together until combined, but didn’t knead it.  Then I cut the dough into quarters and started feeding it through the thickest setting on the pasta machine.  This kneads and conditions the dough – feed it through the rollers, fold it in half and feed it through again, and keep repeating until the dough is smooth and pliant. Fold the dough in whichever way is necessary to fit your pasta maker – our machine is small, so we alternated between folding it lengthwise and crosswise. Dust with flour if necessary to stop the dough sticking, and resist the urge to narrow the rollers before the dough is well kneaded.

Once the dough is flexible and smooth, start reducing the roller setting and feed the pasta through until it reaches the thickness you’re after.  Keep dusting with flour as you go.  We put ours through until it reached the number “6” notch on our machine.

We found this easier to do with two sets of hands – Pete cranked the handle and I manoeuvred the dough as it grew longer and longer with each pass. The finished sheet was dusted with flour, rolled up loosely, and cut into thick tagliatelle.

We cooked the pasta immediately – no drying or resting time required – and as it was so fresh, it only needed a minute in salted boiling water (Manfredi suggests just thirty seconds!). We served it with a simple black olive and tomato sauce, and it was sublime

The whole process was ludicrously easy and surprisingly tidy.  Plain (AP) flour was much easier to work with than the stronger semolina or continental flours.  However, we didn’t manage to put dinner on the table within the prescribed thirty minutes – I think it was closer to forty and it took the combined efforts of both of us.

Just as well we’re not Italian!

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