Taking the time to make pasta by hand is a soothing, restorative experience, as is making sourdough bread. Combining the two, then, is a recipe for a very zen afternoon – not to mention a delicious dinner.
I’ll never forget the first time I made pasta. I was 13 or 14 and we lived in a country called Brunei on the island of Borneo. Our neighbours were from the UK and introduced me to the River Cafe cookbooks, which I pored over, cooking three-course feasts from them that I served to my parents and their friends. It was during this time that we also made pasta. Despite the humid heat (we had no air-conditioning), we set to work kneading the dough, folding and rolling, folding and rolling. Lastly we cut the pasta sheets into fettuccine and hung them over broom handles resting between two chairs. I was hooked and have made pasta on and off ever since. This is the version I now make, using a sourdough starter, which makes the pasta more digestible and gives it a slight sour flavour (it’s not overpowering, don’t worry). And if my six, four and two-year-old kids are anything to go by, it’s “better than the supermarket kind”!
Makes about 850g
- 150g sourdough starter
- 100g semolina flour (can be substituted with white or wholemeal flour)
- 500g white flour
- 10g salt
- 4 eggs
Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. Alternatively, put the flours onto a clean surface, make a well in the middle then into that add the eggs, starter and salt. Using a fork, gradually work the flours into the egg/starter mixture until it all comes together.
Once the dough comes together, flour a clean surface then knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth. You may need to add more flour as you go if the dough is sticking to your hands.
Put the dough into a bowl and cover, or into a plastic bag, and leave for at least six hours in the fridge. You can leave the dough for several days in the fridge before using or you can freeze it for later use.
Once left to sit, I divide the dough in two, freezing one portion. From there I cut the remaining piece into four.
Set three pieces aside, covered, and take the fourth and roll it through the first setting of a pasta maker. Fold the dough into thirds and repeat this process 10 times. Flour the dough as you go if you find it is still a little sticky.
Then, without folding, work through the settings of your pasta maker until you reach the final setting. From here you can either fold and cut the dough by hand or put it through the fettuccine setting of your pasta maker. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente before serving with your favourite sauce.
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