One of the most exciting parts of any trip is the regional food. Cuisines around the world take your taste buds on an adventure that is every bit as exciting as skiing, hiking, or visiting renowned museums. Street food, fine dining with celebrated chefs, or even just tasting a fruit you cannot get back home is all part of the travel experience.
So, what is a travel foodie to do when the borders are closed and COVID-19 makes travel unsafe? Re-live a trip, or get a taste (heh) of what’s to come when you start travelling again by creating a regional favourite in your own kitchen.
You can do this with a popular dish – pasta
Where does pasta come from?
Pasta comes from Italy, right? While it’s easy to associate the many different types of pasta as something that originated in Italy, there is much support to show that noodles originated in Asia and were adapted by other countries. This shows the wonderful thing about travel – learning new dishes and making them your own with what you have available.
Why make pasta?
Comforting, hearty, and great hot or cold, you can never go wrong with pasta. When you want to be reminded of relaxing in Sicily, roaming in Rome, or sipping wine in Naples, a bowl of tasty pasta will do the trick. But let’s take it a step further. It’s time to make your own noodles!
How to make your own noodles
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of making your own noodles. Pasta dough is simply flour, egg, and salt. In some applications, you can even leave out the egg, although this makes the dough a little trickier to work with.
Basic pasta dough for beginners:
- 1 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour (for those of you that are headed right to the comments to say this should double 00, we will address that in a minute!)
- Extra flour to dust the dough
- Two lightly beaten eggs
- Salt to taste
Okay, about that double 00 flour – yes, if you have access to double 00, it is a better flour for making pasta. It will offer a nicer taste and mouthfeel. However, for a beginner or for those without access to double 00, all-purpose flour is a great stand-in.
Next, you need to mix up the ingredients. This is easy if you have a stand mixer. Dump it all in and use the dough hook. Slowly add more water or more flour as needed until your dough comes together as a ball. Let the mixer give it a good kneading. The end result should be a nice, cohesive, not sticky ball of dough.
If mixing by hand, put your flour in a mound and the eggs in the centre. Work it over by hand, bringing the dough to a homogenous mixture. Add more flour if too wet or more water if too dry until you can roll the dough into a nice, non-sticky ball.
Wrap the dough in plastic and put it in the fridge to rest for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Rolling the dough can be done with a stand mixer attachment or a pasta machine but neither is necessary. A rolling pin will suffice. If your dough has become moist in the fridge or sticks to the roller, flour it again. You need a fairly dry, stiff dough – but not stiff enough to crack as it is rolled.
Once you have your sheets of dough rolled out, you can fold it over gently and cut it into ribbons (the dough should be dry enough to separate into ribbons once cut and unfolded) or use the cutting attachment on your mixer/pasta machine to cut spaghetti or fettuccine sized noodles. It helps to dry the noodles out a bit more before cooking them, so once cut pop them into a fridge on a pan, or if you have access to a pasta rack, hang your noodles up to dry.
Fresh noodles cook very fast in boiling water. It takes about two minutes, but test a noodle for doneness before you remove them from the water. Remember, you have raw egg in there so ensure your noodles are cooked through.
That’s it! Add your favourite sauce and enjoy your noodles!
Travel through your kitchen
We all miss travel right now but following COVID-19 safety guidelines means we all get back to globetrotting sooner than later. Meanwhile, there is a world of taste to explore and for that, you don’t need a plane ticket. You need a kitchen and a sense of culinary adventure. Bon appétit!
We’ve got more travel-inspired recipes here!
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