Can you make a good sourdough pasta at home?
Yes you can and it’s much easier than you think.
We’ve been making this sourdough pasta recipe lately with a pasta machine and it is simply delicious!
A Sentimental Pasta Machine
“La migliore macchina per pasta! – the best pasta machine”, says the cover of our old pasta machine which was handed down from my Grandma.
Inside the red box tied with string, this shiny machine was wrapped in an old cotton towel.
By the feel of the material and somewhat intuitively, I pressed my nose into the cloth and took a deep breath in.
The aroma brought me right back into Nanny & Gramps’ house in South Salem, NY.
Oh to be 10 years old again and around the sights and smells of “googly eyes” (which is what we called my great-grand mother’s fried dough) in the kitchen.
That towel transported me back there and got me a bit teary eyed I’m not ashamed to say.
This is the kind of upbringing that has led me to cook, taste and thirst for more culinary knowledge.
It is ever clear memories like these that remain to guide me forward I suppose.
OK, back to the recipe,
Now you don’t “knead” (get it!) a pasta machine to make sourdough pasta at home.
You can, of course, make it by hand and there are many web resources on doing so.
But if you have access to a pasta machine, I say use it.
For such a low-tech machine, it is a lot of fun to use!
Sourdough Pasta Recipe
- 4 cups flour
- 4 organic eggs
- 1 cup sourdough leaven (ours was 100% hydration)
Combine all the ingredients into a well-formed ball of dough.
The dough early on is stiff and dry. It does take a bit of kneading to get all the dry bits of flour into the ball. Just stay at it. With patience it will all come together.
Cover the ball with plastic wrap to lock in moisture and drape the bowl with a towel. I have old beach towels that I use for my breads.
Then just let it sit and ferment. This dough really benefits from at least 6-8 hours of rest and that is also what makes the recipe so easy.
No reason to spend time on kneading here. Time does the work for you as long as you plan ahead.
Once your dough is rested and ready, it’s time to roll.
Roll it out into a rectangular shape. It doesn’t have to perfect.
Obviously mine is a bit wonky.
Then cut it into strips the width of your pasta machine. These are what you will feed into the machine on it’s lowest setting with the widest width.
I did dust these slices a bit with flour but later found that the dough did not need it.
If you do find the dough to be sticky, it is much easier to dust lightly with flour now then before you get cranking.
Now the fun begins! Starting at the widest width, run your strips through the pasta machine.
Some directions say to run the dough through 3 times at the widest width to help knead the dough at the start.
Since we had the 8 hour rest, this technically has already strengthened the gluten a bunch and wasn’t necessary.
Plus, I found that running the dough through excessively tended to dry out the dough faster.
Your mileage may vary. Just be aware of how your dough feels during any stage in the process.
Every kitchen is different in regards to humidity, temperature, amount of wine being drunk by the pasta maker, etc…
At this point I’ve cranked out the dough through several widths and you can see how long the strips are getting.
As you feed it though your pasta machine, it’s nice to have someone help take up the slack on the section exiting; otherwise it can crumple up a bit on itself underneath.
The dough is resilient but fares better treated with care.
Once you’ve reached the width you’d like for your final pasta, it is a good idea to run it through at least 3 times on the final width.
Remember those long lengths?
To make the pasta much more manageable for cutting, cut those long lengths into foot long (or whatever you like) length sections.
Then take each 12″ or 18″ long flat section of dough and run them through the cutting attachment.
Our pasta machine has two cutting styles: fettucine and spaghetti. I think there are others you can buy.
If you plan on cooking up your fresh pasta right away, you don’t need to do anything except start boiling some salted water.
If you want to store it, you first need to dry it. Any kind of rack will do. You could even use a broom handle.
We used a wooden blanket rack for drying the extra pasta out.
Make sure the strands are not touching each other or else they will stick.
We straightened and separated ours out more consistently after this photo was taken.
We let dry for about 4 hours because we knew we would be having it again soon for dinner later in the week.
We could have let it dry overnight in order to have it later in the month and you can even freeze it.
The shortest task of the day you have in making fresh sourdough pasta: is to cook it.
Fresh pasta takes only 3 minutes to cook up al dente in rapidly boiling salted water.
We’re fond of the technique where you use a wide shallow pan and less water to cook up the pasta.
From there you can go to one-pan-pasta dishes to try. Less water, less time and less clean-up. Hooray!
The final result: delicious!
Our sourdough is quite “sour” which is perfect for our breads, but this did not seem to have an overly pronounced effect on the pasta.
Paired with some homemade bread and wine, the flavor and acidity of the pasta was very balanced with the slightest of tangs.
Unlike store-bought pasta, homemade pasta takes superbly well to the osmosis that I’m looking for when combined with an all-day simmered ragu of ground pork, for example.
So there it is. I hope you can get a chance to try it yourself at home.
Let me know if you have a question in the comments.
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