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Fresh Homemade Semolina Pasta

26 Feb
Fresh Homemade Semolina Pasta

Wow, what a week. A long and busy week. I was definitely unprepared to return to the Army after a month off. Wednesday we ran the dreaded “gulch” which is a four mile route with extreme hills. It’s an ankle, knee, and shin nightmare. Needless to say, after not having run for weeks, I got shin splints. Then Friday there was a short ruck march, but it exacerbated my shin problem and the crappy boots I have gave me some nasty blisters the size of golf balls. That’s what I get for taking time off.

Full days at the motorpool aren’t usually so bad, but this week was a little different. Mostly because I’m used to coming home from work to relax and unwind. Oh, right, I have a baby now! It’s been difficult finding a new groove to get into and my time management hasn’t exactly been super efficient. Then I had 24 hour staff duty sprung on me on Friday last minute, so that just cut my weekend in half.

Alas, I have now found some time to rest and relax. Of course, that means a new recipe (finally!)

Last weekend, I found some semolina that had been hanging out in my cupboard for a little while. Semolina is a type of hard wheat that is typically used for making pasta, and sometimes used in Sicilian breads. I had a hankering for pasta, so I decided to just throw together a quick batch.

Homemade pasta is incredibly easy to make, but can be a little time consuming. The easiest way to make it is to put a small pile of semolina flour on the counter, dig out a little “well” in the center, throw a beaten egg in the well, and start mixing it with a fork until a ball starts to form.  Push the excess semolina to the side and start kneading the dough with your hands, adding semolina if it’s too sticky, or adding water if it’s too dry. But, that’s a little imprecise, so I put together a recipe.

In the past, I have seen and read of people making their pasta dough in a food processor with a dough blade. I’ve never tried it before because I either enjoy kneading it by hand, or using my Kitchenaid. I thought, just for the sake of experience, to give the food processor method a try. As you’ll see, it wasn’t my favorite method. Don’t try it.

You’ll need a pasta sheeter to make use of this recipe. Many people own the Kitchenaid attachment, or they have the old fashioned countertop one with a hand crank, which is what I use. You can buy a basic one like I have for $20. Sheeting pasta is easiest when done with two people. One person will feed the pasta through the top, and the other person will crank the machine and pull the pasta from the bottom. It can be done alone, but extra care will need to be taken to be sure that the pasta is being fed properly, and is also being pulled from the bottom to keep it from sticking to itself. If sheeting pasta on your own, having patience will pay off big time.

Semolina Pasta Dough

Makes about 1/2 pound

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of semolina flour
  • ¾ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly until a full mass has formed.

    Tried to use a food processor

    Tried to use a food processor

  2. Place on a counter top and begin kneading by hand, making quarter turns every few kneads. If dough seems dry, wet the dough a little and knead some more. If dough seems wet, knead in more semolina.

    WTF is this mess?

    WTF is this mess?

  3. Continue to knead  until the dough is firm and springs back when poked.

    A bit of water and hand kneading later, success!

    A bit of water and hand kneading later, success!

  4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before working with it. Dough can also be refrigerated for a few days.
  5. Cut the dough into smaller pieces, such as quarters or into 6ths. A pasta sheeter will be necessary to get nice, thin, and even sheets of pasta. Keep a small bowl of semolina next to you so you can lightly flour the dough as you go to prevent sticking.
  6. Using one piece of dough at a time and keeping the rest covered, begin feeding the dough through the sheeter on the widest setting. Feed it again on the same setting. Now fold each end of the dough to the middle of the dough. Feed it a third and fourth time on the same setting.
  7. Now change the setting of the sheeter down by two. We’re basically going to repeat the same process as above for each setting. It’s a little tedious, but produces the best sheet of pasta that will be somewhat squared off. Otherwise you’ll end up with a long piece of dough that tapers at each end.

    Be careful and patient when sheeting on your own

    Be careful and patient when sheeting on your own

  8. So, go ahead and feed the dough through twice. Fold each end to the center again and feed it another two times. Change the setting down by two again and repeat the process again. At this point, your pasta should be thin enough, but every sheeter is different. Use your judgment to decide if you want to go down another setting or not. Never sheet pasta down to the lowest setting, or your dough will likely be unworkable.
  9. Once done with the first sheet, you can decide whether you want to keep it as a pasta sheet for making lasagna, or cut it into strips as linguine or tagliatelle. Many of the pasta sheeters come with an attachment for cutting your fresh pasta sheet.
  10. Once done with the first sheet of pasta, continue until all of your dough has been sheeted and/or cut.
  11. At this point, your pasta is ready to use or to dry out. If using it right away, it only needs to boil for about 3-5 minutes before it is done. If you hang it to dry completely, it should cook in about 8 minutes.

    Impromptu drying rack

    Impromptu drying rack

 

I left my pasta in sheets to use for the lasagna bolognese recipe I have coming up. I didn’t have any kind of pasta hanger, so I improvised with my cooling racks by placing them on cereal boxes and hanging the sheets that way. I also found that laying them flat on the cooling racks worked just as well, although this probably wouldn’t be an option if you cut the pasta.

Pasta!

Pasta!

 

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3 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Army, Entree/Main Dish, Food

 

Tags: , , , , ,

3 responses to “Fresh Homemade Semolina Pasta

  1. Barbra & Jack Donachy

    February 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Fresh homemade pasta tastes the best!
    Greetings from north of the Arctic Circle.

     
    • Chef Turned Soldier

      February 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Absolutely, and I like the texture better as well. Thanks for reading!

       

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