Field Trip to The Croft Farm: Handmade Pasta

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Semolina Pasta Dough

Serves 4

400g Semolina flour (finely ground durum wheat flour)

180g water

Combine flour and water in a bowl with a fork or your hands until the dough comes together in a cohesive mass. Turn the dough out onto a wooden surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. If the dough is too dry, spritz with a bit of water. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle the work surface with flour and incorporate the flour into the dough while kneading. Wrap the dough tightly and allow to rest 30 minutes to overnight. Shape as desired.

Cook shaped pasta in heavily salted, rapidly boiling water until al dente. Reserve some pasta cooking water to incorporate into your sauce. 

Shaped pasta can be dried on a countertop, stored in the refrigerator, or frozen.


Egg Pasta Dough 

Serves 4

400g 00 Flour 

4 eggs

Combine flour and eggs in a bowl with a fork or your fingers to form a cohesive mass. Turn the dough out onto a wooden surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Wrap tightly and rest 30 minutes to overnight. 

To shape, portion the dough into four pieces. Working with one portion at a time, and keeping the remaining portions wrapped, flatten the dough until it is thin enough to feed through the widest setting of a pasta machine. Flour the dough and feed it through the widest setting of a pasta machine. Fold the dough into thirds and feed through the machine again, forming a broad rectangle the width of the pasta machine. Repeat the lamination process until the dough feels smooth, 3-6 times. Adjust the pasta machine to the next widest setting, and pass the pasta sheet through once. Repeat this process, adjusting the machine one notch narrower with each pass until the pasta sheet reaches the desired thinness. Cut and shape as desired. 

Cook pasta in heavily salted, rapidly boiling water until al dente, 2-4 minutes. Reserve some pasta cooking water to combine with sauce. Fresh pasta can be stored in the refrigerator, or frozen before cooking.


Trapanese Pesto 

Makes 2 cups 

1 pint cherry tomatoes, washed and stemmed

¼ cup blanched almonds, toasted 

½ bunch fresh basil

½ bunch fresh parsley

1 clove garlic 

1 cup olive oil 

½ cup Parmesan cheese 

Salt to taste 

Combine tomatoes, herbs, almonds, garlic, and half of the olive oil in a blender. Blend and stream in the remaining oil until a thick sauce forms. Stir in cheese. Season to taste. Combine by spoonfuls with hot cooked pasta, and a bit of pasta cooking water until pasta is well coated and creamy. 


Ravioli al uovo 

Makes 12 large ravioli 

1 batch egg pasta dough 

1 batch ricotta filling 

1 dozen eggs 

1 batch browned butter with sage

Sheet pasta until thin and translucent. Pipe 2T dollops of ricotta filling onto the middle of half of the sheet spaced 2 inches apart. Create divots in each dollop large enough to hold an egg yolk. Working with one egg at a time, separate the yolk and place it gently on top of each ricotta dollop. Lay the unused half of the pasta sheet over the top of the filled pasta sheet. Using the blunt end of a biscuit cutter, seal the filling between both sheets of pasta. Cut each raviolo into desired shape (square or round). Store uncovered on a floured towel in the refrigerator. Cook within 24 hours. 

Cook ravioli in small batches (2-4) in a large pot of boiling, heavily salted water for 2-4 minutes until pasta is al dente and egg yolk is still liquid. Toss in browned butter with a little pasta cooking water over low heat until coated with sauce. Serve topped with fried sage and a sprinkling of Parmesan.


Browned Butter with Sage

Makes ½ cup 

½ cup unsalted butter

12 fresh sage leaves

Salt to taste 


Melt butter in a large skillet. Add sage leaves and fry, stirring and scraping the bottom of pan occasionally, until butter begins to turn brown and smell caramilized. Remove the butter from the heat and reserve. Remove the sage leaves and drain on a towel. Sprinkle with salt. Reserve for garnishing cooked ravioli.


Ricotta Filling 

Makes 2 ½ cups

16oz ricotta cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 

Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped

Salt, pepper, sugar to taste

Combine all ingredients and allow to sit until flavors marry, at least 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning and scoop into a piping bag.

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Meredith Mortensen