Growing Chefs! Ontario Basic Pasta Dough
Basic Pasta Dough
Gather your mis en place; get together all of the equipment needed for the recipe and gather your ingredients. Make sure your work surface is clean and sanitized.
Measure out the flour on to a clean work surface and mound into a pile. Make a well in the centre. Measure the olive oil and crack the egg into a bowl.
Pour the egg into the center of the well, add olive oil and a pinch of salt. Using a fork, gradually work in the flour to the egg until it is all incorporated. Add water, 1⁄2 teaspoon at a time, if too dry.
When the egg has been fully incorporated, form the dough into a ball, and begin to knead. Using the heel of your hand, push down on the ball of dough at roughly the centre and push away, then pull the stretched dough back onto itself. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the process. Knead the dough for 10 – 15 minutes. To test the dough, press into it with your finger. If it springs back right away, it is ready.Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before shaping.
After resting, the dough is ready to roll!
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Leave one piece on the work surface and wrap the other 3 to avoid them drying out.
To make the orecchiette: Roll the dough into a snake, about the width of a hotdog. Cut the dough into 2 centimetre chunks. With each piece, place the flat side of the butter knife down and then pull the knife and pasta towards you so the dough gets thin and curls around the blade. Turn the dough inside out and you have one piece of orecchiette!
To make spaghetti or linguine: Dust the work surface and rolling pin well with flour and roll the dough back and forth, rotate 90 degrees, and repeat until it is paper thin. A good way to see if it is thin enough is to blow along the work surface and the dough should flutter.
Using a knife, cut the dough into the desired shape, toss in some extra flour to prevent it from sticking, and place in the refrigerator, covered, until ready to cook. Repeat the process with the other 3 pieces.
To cook, bring a pot of water to a boil and add salt. The best way to tell if it is properly seasoned is to taste it, it should be salty like seawater. Drop the pasta into the boiling water. Fresh pasta cooks FAST, so depending on the pasta shape it will be cooked in anywhere from 2 – 4 minutes.
Serve with your favourite sauce!