2 to 4
- 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) baking soda
- 1½ cups semolina flour—it can be made with other flours but is most successful with semolina
- 6½ to 10 tablespoons water—8½ tablespoons seems about right
- Put a piece of aluminium foil on a baking pan or cookie sheet and spread the baking soda evenly in a thin layer across the foil.
- Bake for 1 hour in a 250- to 300-degree oven. Remove and let cool.
- Carefully scrape the resultant sodium carbonate into an air-tight container or jar and set aside.
- When ready to make the pasta, dissolve 1 teaspoon of the sodium carbonate in 6½ to 10 tablespoons of water. Be sure to use only 1 teaspoon. Cover the remaining sodium carbonate tightly and store for future use. Warning: be careful not to touch the sodium carbonate with your bare skin—it can be uncomfortable or even inflict minor burns.
- Put the flour into a food processor. Turn on the processor and slowly add the water.
- Process for about a minute until it forms a tight ball. Depending on the dryness of the flour and the humidity in your kitchen, you may have to add additional water in order for it to form a ball. Add the additional water 1 tablespoon at a time and process again.
- When a pliable, non-crumbly ball has been formed, remove from the processor and knead for a minute or two. It should hold its shape but not be too sticky. Depending on how much water you have used, you will have between 11 and 13 ounces of dough.
- Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and let it rest for an hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Divide the ball into 2 to 8 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece through the widest setting of a pasta machine 10 times, refolding the piece each time to make it smoother and more uniform in shape and size.
- When each piece is smooth, elastic, and fairly thin, then put the pieces through the successively narrower settings once for each setting until you have the thickness of pasta you desire. You will probably want to process it through the narrowest or next-to-narrowest setting.
- When all the pieces have been processed into thin sheets, run each piece through the noodle-cutting attachment, making either fettucine or spaghetti-sized noodles. Or the sheets can be used to make ravioli or lasagna.
- The finished noodles can be dried for future use or cooked immediately.
- If cooking immediately, bring a bot of unsalted water to a boil and cook the noodles until al dente, probably only 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the pasta.
This has been adapted, with much rewriting, from Harold McGee's column, The Curious Cook: Achieving a Distinct Flavor, Without Going to Extremes, in the New York Times Dining section of Wednesday, September 15, 2010. It can also be found at McGee's website, www.curiouscook.com.
|Categories: Recipes, Italian cuisine/Catalogs, Chinese cuisine/Catalogs
|Related recipes: Bolognese sauce, Pasta