Friday, August 6, 2010

The Secret To Great Pasta Discovered!

Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour
I think it's apparent by now that I have a mild obsession with pasta.  There are many reasons for this strange noodle compulsion of mine.  What started as an easy meal has turned into an all absorbing crusade to create the finest pasta noodle imaginable.
I'm not fooling myself. I know that I can't beat the great chefs. I know that somewhere in Italy a wrinkled old woman is laughing at my endeavor. Do I care? No. No I do not.  I have been pushing ahead in my experiments to discover what creates that special "bite" in a noodle.  What is that golden time the noodles should stay in the water.
Because I'm so obsessed with these great pasta mysterious I have fallen victim to some pretty deadly traps.  I've over cooked my pasta more than one. I've made my noodles too thin on occasion. I've forgotten salt more times than I can count. I've even *brace yourself* purchased a pasta extruder from a TV infomerical.  That machine is now living somewhere in the Charlotte Municipal Dump.  I used it once and that was enough.
Like so many of us, I failed to remember one golden rule.  Always stick with simplicity.  It was thru this, and the wonders of the Internet, that I've found that Semolina Flour is the magical secret I was hunting.  Semolina flour is made from the purified wheat middling of durum wheat.  What that exactly means, I don't know. Wiki says it, so it must be true. What I do know is that if you follow this easy recipe you'll be able to create Pasta that will satisfy the noodle Nazi in you.
Semolina Flour Goodness

What You Need:

3/4 Cup Semolina Flour
3/4 Cup Unbleached Flour (All Purpose or Bread flour are fine)
1/2 Tsp Salt
2 Eggs (I prefer to use the cage free eggs)
2 Tbsp Water (more if needed)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Mix all this goodness up until you've made a well incorporated dough. If you are using a mixer like me, then this will be easy.  If you are doing this by hand, just knead the dough much like you would bread, using the heel of your hand to push in the dough.
When the dough is all mixed, cover with rag or plastic wrap and let rest 20min. Once your ready, roll out the stuff like you normally do (using a pasta machine or rolling pin if by hand).  Make sure your water on the stove is at a boil (also don't forget to salt your water!). Pasta will be done when it floats to the top.  This typically happens in 2 to 3 minutes top.


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