You know what. People are gonna tell you allllllll kinds of things - throughout your entire life - about what you should do and how you should do it. Don't EVEN listen. Or, if you do, take it with a grain of salt. Because some people will tell you you'll grow hair on the palms of your hands if you think sinful thoughts, or that you can't hang wallpaper all by yourself, or that you can't open a bottle of beer with a pair of garden hedge sheers (you can). I'd say 90% of the time people don't even know what they're on about. Do you KNOW how many people told me I need a proper pasta roller to make pasta?? Like. A MILLION. As a result, I never tried making my own pasta until last night, when - fuelled by a reasonable amount of dutch courage - I decided to give it a go with nothing but a rolling pin!
It was BLOODY BRILLIANT! Like, one of the most satisfying and life-affirming experiences ever. People didn't have pasta rollers a hundred years ago! They were just old Nonna's with rolling pins and flour covered aprons. And I bet their pasta tasted excellent. Never let anyone tell you you need fancy devices! I bet we don't even really need screw-drivers, pliers or tool kits we can just use old butter knives or pieces of garden twigs and our own bare teeth!
Anyway, now the world is my flour-y egg-y oyster, and I'm going to make EVERY kind of pasta I can! Stay tuned! For today, here is my first ever Tagliatelle, with creamy caramelized onion, pine nuts & parmesan. And an accompanying life lesson: Don't wait to have all your ducks in a row before you give something a shot! Don't worry that you might get it wrong. Just go get a handful of flour, chuck in some eggs, mess it all around with doughy hands and then roll your life into a beautiful paper-thin sheet of deliciousness! Things will never be the same again!
For the pasta
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 1/4 cups of flour (look for '00' or 'pasta flour')
a pinch of salt
For the sauce
1 brown onion, sliced into rings
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of runny cream
1-2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 garlic clove (finely diced)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated) plus more for serving
2 tbsp pine nuts
juice of 1 lemon
Right. So. Making pasta is easy as pieeeee! Make a pile of the flour on a clean bench top. Make a well in the middle of the flour, and crack the eggs into the well. Sprinkle a pinch or two of salt on top. Using a fork (or your fingers) whisk the eggs into the flour mixture. Keep mixing until the flour and eggs for a dough. Kneed it until it's smooth.
Roll it lengthwise until it forms a very thin, long sheet of pasta. Flip it over every so often so that you're rolling it on both sides. This will take a little while, be patient and make sure to only stop once the pasta sheet is REALLY thin, long and even. The thinner it is, the tastier it will be. Add flour if it starts to stick to the bench top or the rolling pin.
Taking a sharp knife, cut the pasta into strands of whatever thickness you like. I opted for tagliatelle. If you want to cut thinner strands it's a good idea to roll the pasta up like a pancake (make sure it's got plenty of flour so it's not sticky), and slice it into strand while it's rolled, with a very sharp knife.
Set a saucepan of water with 1 tsp of salt on the stove and bring it to the boil.
Before cooking your pasta, make your creamy sauce. Put the brown onion, balsamic vinegar, 2 tsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt in a frying pan. Fry the onion until it browns and caramelises. Then add the cream, mustard, garlic, parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Let cook on low while you cook your pasta. If the sauce looks like it's getting too thick, you can add a little water.
When the sauce is nearly reduced (this will only take about 5 minutes), chuck the pasta into the boiling water. Stir it gently so it doesn't stick. Depending on how thinly you've rolled it it will take 2-5 minutes to cook. Taste it as you go to see if it's the texture that you like. Once it's cooked through, scoop it out of the boiling water and dump it in the frying pan with your sauce. Toss the pasta and sauce to make sure the strands are coated, then squeeze the lemon juice over the pasta.
Dish up into three equal servings, top with some extra parmesan, plenty of cracked pepper and some chilli if you're a chilli addict like me. Eat!
P.S. if you try this out and like it please leave me a note in the comments section below so I can read it and glow with insurmountable pride and joy!