It’s another rainy day in Belgium. We have become quite accustomed to rain showers and clouds since this summer has been labeled “the worst rainy summer on record”. This is typical luck for me because Canada is going through a heat wave while I have started to carry an umbrella in my purse. But on this day, the rain isn’t terrible news but rather a perfect excuse for Billy and I to stay inside and cook.
A week ago, we borrowed Billy’s dad’s pasta roller and now we have the time to dedicate ourselves to learning the tricks of a scrumptious homemade pasta. So we went out, found some pasta flour from our local Italian eatery, and began the pasta challenge. It turns out making pasta dough is not as hard as it seems… Ok, so we didn’t successfully make our whole meal in 6 minutes, like Jamie, but that is the magic of TV.
After a quick read of his recipe, we were kneading and rolling in no time. We followed Jamie’s portion recommendation of 100 grams of flour and 1 egg for each portion to make our flour nest & hollow. After some intense kneading, our ball of dough was ready for the machine.
For the first-timers, there are a couple of trouble spots that might be encountered. We found our pasta sheets were developing holes after passing through the press due to sticky pasta dough. To fix this problem, lightly sprinkle pasta sheet with flour and then roll through the machine again.
Be careful not to hastily adjust the ‘thinness’ setting while putting pasta sheets through the press because this seems to increase the chance of the pasta sheet falling apart. To make it easier, we ended up splitting the dough into 2 separate dough balls and ran each through the machine. It’s helpful to have two people, so there will be one to feed the pasta sheet through the machine and the other to catch the sheet on the other end. Most importantly, it’s more fun to cook and eat with someone else!
The best part about making your own pasta is being able to decide the thickness and size of the pasta. Once our sheets were satisfactory, they were loosely folded into a roll and then cut as we saw fit.
The pasta doesn’t take long to cook. According to Jamie, it will be around 45 seconds; ours took about 1 minute and 30 seconds after being dropped in boiling water.
Billy made a homemade pasta sauce with strong aromas of tomato, thyme, onion, and bacon that were dancing around in my nose and teasing my taste buds. To say that I was anxious for supper is an understatement. At first, we were so hungry our portion amount didn’t seem like enough. And then, it was so tasty that our greedy tummies wanted more.
After the meal was finished, we took a full 20 minutes of digesting time after which both of us felt satisfied and not sickly full. Thank goodness… because the pasta is quite heavy and I think the food hangover would have been similar to the feeling after an Easter dinner. I try to keep the intense food hangovers for family holidays, when it’s acceptable to nap face down on the living room floor.
Slowly, but surely, I am learning to combine food control and total enjoyment in this delectable nation.