I have posted 2 recipes in the last week, both of which have had feed back regarding my deviation from following "traditional methods". This got me thinking about how far back does one have to go to stay true to "traditional". Do we need to make food the way it's always been done in living memory or hit the history books and find the first time it was made and follow that?
I started thinking of what is now called Italian food. I think for most people if you say "We having Italian for dinner", pasta (or pizza) will spring to mind. But is pasta really Italian? And what makes it Italian as opposed to Chinese?
Pasta was brought to Sicily by the Arabs after their conquest in about 500AD. This fact surprised me, because I always thought it was Marco Polo who brought noodles back from China, 1295AD. The Chinese were enjoying noodles, made from bread-fruit in 3000BC!
Food belongs to the global village. Whether you sitting in Nonna's kitchen in Tuscany or in Wài zǔ mǔ's kitchen in Beijing - noodles or pasta are traditional home made comfort foods.
This long trip around the world (I'm starting to feel like Phileas Fogg) brings me to MY traditional home made pasta recipe. I can not tell you how old it is or if it has it's roots in a traditional Italian kitchen - but it works for me and my family love it.
Homemade Heaven Fresh Pasta
100g Flour (I like Italian 00 flour or cake four)
1 Extra large Egg
Lots of flour for dusting.
I use my food processor to start the mixing, but it can be done by hand too.
Place the flour in the processor and start the machine running.
Add the egg and allow it to run until mixture forms a ball.
Dust your work surface well and take the dough and knead for about 5 minutes.
You must end up with a smooth elastic dough which is not sticky.
You might need to knead in extra flour to get the right texture.
Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes, while you set up your pasta machine.
Cut the dough in 100g balls and start to work through the pasta machine settings -
Starting with the biggest first, working all the way down to the thinnest roller.
I usually do each ball twice, making sure my end result is smooth and very thin.
If you do not have a pasta machine, you can roll your pasta out with a rolling pin
and cut the pasta with a knife.
Leave the flat sheets to rest for about 10 minutes, on a dusted surface.
Using the cutter on the pasta machine, cut to the required thickness - I like tagliatelle.
To cook your pasta
Take a large saucepan and fill ½ way up and add a generous amount of salt.
Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook for about 4-5 minutes until al-dente.
Serve with a sauce of your choice.
I used Pesto Princess Thai Pesto (with coriander and chilli), which I highly recommend.