Monday, February 7, 2011

The Best Noodles I've Ever Eaten!

I had to make the title catchy, because I had a feeling that if I titled it "Homemade Noodles" (which is what this is about), many people might just assume that it's not worth the time and effort to make your own noodles and would not read this.  However, let met tell you that homemade pasta is so much better than dried store-bought pasta.  This is one of those things that I made and didn't tell my husband it was homemade until afterwards (he usually prefers store-bought over homemade, so I didn't want him to jump to any conclusions before trying it - sneaky, I know).  When I told him I made the noodles from scratch, he said that he realized there was something different about the noodles and thought they were gourmet!  Anyhow, they really aren't all too difficult to make, use ingredients that you probably already have on hand, and are way cheap!  If you try them and decide you like them, I would recommend making a few batches at once and refrigerating or freezing them.

Homemade Pasta
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
2 Tbsp water

In a bowl, combine flour and salt.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; pour beaten egg into well.

Mix until well combined, adding up to 2 tablespoons water if needed to form a ball of dough that holds together.   There will be some pieces that are still a bit flaky, but it will come together as you knead.

The dough is still a little too dry and needs a little water.

Most of the dough holds together.  Notice there is still some flour in the bottom, but that will be incorporated as I knead the dough.
Once it is to the point where most of it holds together, place dough on a well-floured surface and knead for 3 to 4 minutes.  Wrap dough in cling wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a thin sheet - you'll want it to be thinner than you think you need it.  The dough is quite elasticky, so it may take a while to get it as thin as you'd like.  There are times where it may even seem like you're not accomplishing anything with the rolling, but just keep going, you'll eventually get a nice thin sheet.  I put my rolling pin in the pictures below for reference as to the size of the dough ball and my rolled out dough.  My rolling pin is 12-inches without the handles.

As you can see, that little ball becomes quite large once it's rolled out.

Cut dough into desired shapes.  Cook immediately, dry, refrigerate, or freeze.

I don't have a pizza wheel, but I figured my fondant cutter would work!  I also remembered after the fact that if you roll the dough up jelly-roll style before you cut it, it's much easier to cut.

To cook the noodles, boil water and add noodles.  I let my noodles dry a few hours and they took about 8 minutes to cook, but you'll want to keep checking them, because they shouldn't take as long as store-bought noodles.  Noodles that haven't been dried should only take a couple minutes.

Mmmm...perfect al dente pasta!!  You've REALLY gotta try these!
If you're not planning on eating the noodles right away, but are going to be eating them within the next day, dry the noodles for about 15 minutes, then wrap them in a zip-top bag and refrigerate until you're ready to use them.  If it's going to be a few days or a few weeks, you can freeze them.  To do this, dry them for at least 15 minutes, then freeze meal-sized portions of noodles in zip-top bags, or flash freeze single-meal-sized portions of noodles on a cookie sheet.  Remove from the freezer and put them all in a zip-top bag and return to freezer.

Additionally, you can dry your noodles completely.  Make sure they're stored in an air-tight container or bag in a dry location.

You can buy racks specifically designed to dry pasta, but I came up with an alternative using things I already had in my house.  I took shish-kabob skewers and used cans to hold up the ends, then draped the pasta over the top.  It worked perfectly and only cost a couple cents for the skewers!
My make-shift drying rack.
The partially-dried pasta.
I was cooking the pasta the same day as I made the pasta, so I just slid it off the skewers into my boiling water.
I was planning on making another batch to demonstrate how to make them with a pasta maker, as well as to show you how to make other shapes, but my eggs had frozen in my refrigerator and cracked, so I'll have to do that at another time.  Sorry!


Elizabeth said...

I really like your idea of a homemade drying rack! We received a pasta drying rack as a wedding gift and actually donated it a few months ago as it was a lot of clutter for an infrequently used item.

Unknown said...

How many can you feed with this one batch?

StaceyN said...

Those look great, and I agree, fresh homemade pasta is so much yummier than store bought. I scored a really great electric pasta maker at a thrift store for $5 a year or so ago. I just throw the ingredients in, turn it on and out come noodles of whatever shape I want. For as easy as it is, I really should use it more often, but it still isn't as easy as pulling dried noodles out of a bag and boiling them :-). I like to feed my fam whole wheat noodles, but they can be a little bitter. But homemade whole wheat pasta with our fresh ground wheat flour is sweet and yummy. Thanks for the reminder... I really should bring my pasta machine out of hiding soon!

Kimiko said...

Jaime, each batch doesn't make a whole lot of pasta - it fed 2 of us with a few leftovers (plus a few noodles eaten by my munchkin), so I'd say it'll feed approx. 3 people. The great thing is that it's easy to multiply the recipe, though! I'm planning on making a lot this week and freezing it, so that I can have fresh pasta, but don't have to think about making it each time. :)

Jen in SLO said...

When you say "dry," what does that mean exactly? Do you hang them until they're hard like boxed pasta?

Kimiko said...

They should be close to, if not as dry as store-bought pasta. If you're going to be freezing it, then it's not as big of a deal to completely dry it out.

Georgia said...

thank you for sharing this! i never knew it was so easy. i love to make things myself, so i'm excited to make noodles from fresh ground wheat berries! one reason we don't eat noodles much is i hate to feed white flour noodles to my family and the whole wheat store bought noodles are yucky. :) so thanks!!

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