Making homemade pasta can be quite a chore, although a worth it one. The dough is usually just a blend of eggs and flour, with nothing else added. Avram always had to knead the dough because I simply am not strong enough - or more specifically, my wrists cannot handle it. I broke my wrist when I was seventeen, while twirling down a hill, celebrating the return of spring and warmth (hey, this was in Wisconsin, it's a big thing there). I reached the bottom of the hill and stopped my skipping, but the momentum of my turning made me continue to twist, and I fell, with my right wrist catching my twisted weight. Six weeks later the pin finally came out and the wrappings came off. Spring and I have never felt the same about each other again.
My wrist has never felt quite the same again either, and I simply cannot exert enough pressure to knead the tough Pasta dough, hence limiting our Pasta sessions to weekend exertions when Avram can knead. We loved the homemade pasta taste, and even making it is a fun cooking experience, but it never felt convenient enought to justify for more than special occasions.
Then in an effort to expand our eating habits from plain old spaghetti, and because I've been wanting to pull out our pasta machine, which hasn't been used since Provo, I got The New Complete Book of Pasta, by Maria Luisa and Jack Denton Scott, out of the library. We followed their "Pasta Fresca All'Uovo" recipe, and fell in love. The addition of olive oil and warm water, plus the handy kneading power of a kitchen aid, made all the difference in our homemade pasta experience.
Since Pasta dough has certain characteristics I didn't want to mess with by using all whole wheat, I only used half whole white wheat for the dough (you are supposed to use semolina flour, but we didn't have any). Here's the recipe. You can make it without either a Pasta Machine nor a Kitchen Aid, although both do make the operation easier.
2 Cups Whole White Wheat Flour (or white flour)
2 Cups white flour (preferably unbleached)
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp warm water.
Pile the flour on a well floured table top or in a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl. Make a well in the center, and place the four lightly beaten eggs, salt, olive oil and warm water in this. Add the liquid slowly to make the dough soft enough to handle. Mix together (it will not look as if it will mix together at first. Keep at it.) Avram first mixed together the dough by hand a little, and then we put the mixing bowl in the Kitchen Aid, and using the dough hook mixed on one for several minutes. Knead it by hand or machine until it is smooth. By hand this will be about ten minutes.
Let the dough rest for 10-20 minutes, under a towel (VERY important step). Divide the ball into four pieces. If you have a pasta machine, run the piece through the machine several times on the widest setting, until it forms a uniform shape. Lydia had to run the machine - she would push down the handle one way, and I would bring it back up to the top for her, since she couldn't make it all the way around.
Otherwise roll out one piece with a rolling pin (make sure to flour the table and pin) until very thin. With a machine, put the dough through each setting once, until it goes through the thinnest setting (we had to cut cut the strip in half in the middle, to make it more workable, as otherwise it grew too long). At this point cut the thinnest dough in half, width wise, and then run the strip of thin dough through either the fettuccine or spaghetti setting, and then lay on cloth or some other place to dry. If making the pasta by hand, cut the rolled out pasta into strips 3/4 of an inch wide, or whatever size and shape you desire. You can also lightly roll up the dough, and then cut the roll into thin strips, unroll, and you have fettuccine.
The longest part of this whole process is the rolling out parts - but it's a fun kitchen job, and once you get the hang of it (which really doesn't take very long), not stressful at all.
The Florenzo School of Highly Official Drying Racks. (Notice the sheet of pasta waiting its turn for being cut. This is half of a quarter of the ball - ie, the half that was laid aside when we had to cut the dough in half because it grew too long while being thinned out).
For immediate use, let dry about an hour. To store without refrigeration, let dry a while longer, and then store in a ziplock bag.
To cook the pasta have a large pot of water on the stove rapidly boiling. Right before adding the pasta, put a couple of tablespoons of salt and a little olive oil (if desired - it can help the pasta not stick to itself) in the water. Add the pasta all at once, and boil until Al Dente. For homemade pasta, this is only three minutes, at the most. Start testing at two minutes. If making a pasta that will be baked afterwards, only cook for one to one and a half minutes.
Ta-da! You have half whole grain, yummy and delicious homemade pasta! (Bet you can't tell it's whole grain, either).
We made a recipe I may post later from this same cookbook, with lots of yummy spinach and bacon. Even Elisheva was scarfing it down.
This recipe makes 1 1/2 pounds of pasta, so unless you have a larger family, there should be lots (we saved half the recipe) to dry and use again.
I would say "Happy Eating!" in Italian here, but the only Italian I know is "Principessa" from It's a Beautiful Life, so; Principessa!