This might seem crazy, but, when we know we’ll be short of time for a meal, we make fresh pasta. It’s true. Fresh home-scratched pasta is faster than commercial dried pasta, provided you plan. We simply make the dough when we have 5 spare minutes in the day, let it rest for at least 30 minutes, then roll and cut it when we have another 15-20 minutes free. When it’s time to boil up the pasta, fresh takes only 2-5 minutes. And, it tastes so much better.
This week, we had a leftover lime sitting in the refrigerator without a use in the world. We’ve made lemon pepper pasta dough in the past, so we pondered about what would go well with lime in pasta. We didn’t think pepper. After some thought, we decided on rosemary, partly because we have it fresh, but also because we think those two flavors will work well together.
Making pasta dough is really easy; you just have to know the correct proportions of flour to liquid. Some people out there say it’s three parts flour to two parts liquid, but that’s wrong. If you use that proportion, you’ll have sticky pasta dough. The correct proportions are five parts flour to three parts liquid. We know. We’ve tested.
If that seems too difficult, you can use 5 ounces flour (about a cup) and 3 ounces liquid (about 6 tablespoons), and you’ll have 8 ounces of fresh pasta, which is just about perfect for 2 large servings. That’s pretty much what we do.
You can buy special 00 flour from Italy to make pasta, but you don’t have to. We use all-purpose, or a 50-50 mix of all-purpose and white whole wheat, or, more so lately, a 50-50 mix of all-purpose and Sonora white wheat. For the egg, you can use just whites (adjust the amount of water), or just yolks, or a whole egg. It doesn’t matter.
Procedure in detail:
Mix dry ingredients. Making pasta is the perfect place to use a scale. It allows you to get the exact proportions between flour and liquid, but realize that people have made great pasta for hundreds and hundreds of years without a digital scale, so not having a scale isn’t an excuse for not making pasta. Simply measure out the flour or flours into a bowl, add the salt, lime zest, and rosemary, and stir together. If you used a measuring cup, you’ll have to get the amount of liquid right by feel.
Add liquids. Make a well in the center of the floor mixture. If you’re using a scale, set the bowl on the scale, tare it (set it to zero), add the egg, olive oil, lime juice, and enough water to make 90 grams of liquid. Without a scale, add the egg, olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons of water. Use your finger to start swirling the liquid and incorporating the flour. In a minute, you’ll have a shaggy dough. Turn out and knead for five minutes. Note: if you didn’t use a scale, you might need more water or flour. To add water, simply dip the dough into water and knead it in. To add more flour, dust the work surface. You want a soft, but not sticky, dough.
Rest and shape. Wrap the dough in plastic and let rest for at least 30 minutes. If it’ll be more than an hour before you can shape pasta, refrigerate the dough, then take it out 30 minutes before shaping to warm. Roll and shape as you would any other fresh pasta.
We made up fettuccine with mushrooms and peas sautéed in butter, topped with some shredded squash blossoms and grated Grana Padano cheese. It was delicious, and only took a few minutes once the water was boiling. We liked the lime flavor, but it’s subtle. If you want a strong lime flavor, use the zest and juice of two limes. For shaping ideas, look through our Pasta Shaping ideas. Five stars.