13 July 2011

Daring Cooks July Challenge: Homemade Pasta!

Pappardelle with Braised Beef Ragu

Steph from Stephfood was our Daring Cooks' July hostess.  Steph challenged us to make homemade noodles without the help of a motorized pasta machine.  She provided us with recipes for Spätzle and Fresh Egg Pasta as well as a few delicious sauces to pair our noodles with!

Whoa. I have to make pasta? Are you crazy? It was like pulling teeth to get me to make gnocchi.

I’ve been putting off making noodles because of the whole rolling pin thing (I’m not the best with a rolling pin), and had decided to eventually get a pasta roller, but wanted to wait until we were living somewhere a bit more permanently before investing. It would have been so easy to sit this challenge out. We’ve got a lot going on right now (it’s more mental than things to do at the moment, but still). And somehow I banged out this challenge the first weekend after it posted. Sometimes I amaze myself. Our host even provided us with recipes that don’t require a rolling pin or a pasta roller. I still chose a pasta that needed one of them. I must be nuts.

Make sure everything is ready BEFORE you start.
You'll need extra flour (measuring cup) and extra water (mug).

The recipes are pretty long again, so I’ll give you the thoughts and verdict now. (Be sure to scroll down for more pictures!!)

I was quite nervous I wouldn’t have enough pasta for the sauce. And also nervous that It wouldn’t be enough to feed four people. But I shouldn’t have worried. This meal had four very generous and very filling servings. It also reheated surprisingly well in the microwave.

And how was making pasta? It was pretty okay. I definitely added too much flour and never was able to get that back to the right ratio (let’s just say I didn’t have to flour my dough before rolling it out), but overall it was not a bad experience. I wasn’t able to get the dough as thin as I would have liked, but that will just take practice. Overall, I’m very pleased that I opted to participate this month. Many thanks to Steph for providing us with such an awesome challenge! You can find Steph’s recipes here. You can see other many pastas other Daring Cooks came up with here

I-might-actually-try-making-pasta-again: 1 vote
The-pasta-is-good-but-the-sauce-doesn’t-interest-me: 1 vote

Did you noticed I started without a bowl and here it's in a bowl?
Yeah, I forgot to sift before making a mess on the table. 

Homemade Pappardelle Pasta:
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm) (10 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
2 large eggs, beaten
water, as needed

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Push the flour out of the very center of the bowl, to make a well. Pour the beaten egg into the well.

Slowly incorporate the flour into the egg by mixing a small amount of flour into the well at a time and mixing until incorporated. Start by mixing in flour around the perimeter of the egg, and gradually widening the mixing to include more and more flour. Mix until all of the egg is mixed into the flour.

At this stage, use your hands to try to form a rough ball. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water and incorporate. Be careful to not add too much liquid – it's better to slowly add water as needed, as opposed to trying to add more flour to a sticky dough. You can fingers, instead of pouring water directly into the dough. This ensures a minimal amount of water is added, and is more evenly distributed.

My over-floured, shaggy dough.
Knead the dough for a few minutes, until it is smooth. Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rest. It should be allowed to rest for at least 15 minutes, at most 2 hours. Take this time to set up your pasta roller, and/or to prepare the sauce.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Take one piece to start, and put the remaining back into the plastic wrap so that they don't dry out.

Form the piece of dough into a ball, and then flatten using the palm of your hand. Use a rolling pin to create a thin elongated oval. 

Place the dough horizontally on your work surface, and fold the long ends into the center, so that they meet. Press down on the edges to seal them. At this stage, you should have a rectangular shape.
Ready to meet the rolling pin. Ugh.
And none of that extra flour was needed.

Roll into a long, thin rectangle. Carefully flip the thin dough over, and dust with flour on both sides. 

Carefully roll the dough up (like rolling up a yoga mat). Choose how wide your noodle will be, and using a very sharp knife, cut through the rolled up dough. Unroll the noodles as you go, to prevent sticking.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water (1 put at least 2 tablespoons of sea salt in a 6 quart pot). Cook for just 1-2 minutes, or until the pasta floats and is tender.  Drain pasta water out and put the pasta directly into the sauce without rinsing (recipe below).

Eeps! I actually did it! I rolled out pasta!
Pappardelle with Braised Beef Ragu
recipe source: Everyday Occasions

1 pound of homemade Pappardelle (recipe above)
1 pound of beef chuck roast
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of whole peeled tomatoes
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of red wine
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
parmesan cheese for serving

For the sauce, place the chuck roast in a dutch oven or covered oven and stove safe dish. Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes, hand-squeeze-crush the whole tomatoes onto the, and add garlic, wine, salt, and sugar. Put it in oven at 250 degrees for 5-8 hours. Mel’s note: I pulled it out at 4.5 hours

Remove from the oven and let it slightly cool. Remove the roast from the pot (keep the tomato and wine sauce in the pot for later!) and remove all of the large chunks of fat remaining and separate it from the beef. Discard the fat. Shred the beef back into the tomato and wine sauce.

Place the pot on the stove and simmer the sauce until the desired thickness is desired. If the sauce is too thick, you can add beef broth or water to thin. Keep it covered and on low until you are ready to serve.

Cook the fresh pasta in a large pot of salted, boiling water for just 1-2 minutes... the pasta will float when it is ready. Remove it from the water with tongs and place it immediately into the beef ragu. Toss to coat and add parmesan cheese and fresh basil just before serving. 

It's incredibly satisfying to make your own pasta!


  1. Well done! I am amazed. I decided not to do any rolling with this challenge. My spatzle were a lot like dumplings as a result. Lovely pictures, especially the one of the pile of raw noodles.

  2. Yum, love the beef ragu, all that slow cooking must have turned out a really flavorful sauce!

  3. Ah - your pappardelle looks perfect! I also love the sound of the sauce. Well done. I do have a pasta maker and still couldn't be bothered with the rolling out!!!

  4. I'm so glad the condensed milk came in handy :-)

    I love how you described it..."like rolling up a yoga mat". That's exactly it! I love how super quick it cooks, and also, it really does seem to be much more filling than store bought pasta (I can't figure out why that would be...thickness? Egg?)

    But well done on conquering the fresh pasta challenge.

  5. I love how thin you got you pasta, even though it's not as thin as you would have liked! It's a lot of work to roll out the dough and get it that thin without a pasta machine.

    Oh and I know the pain it is to try to do the flour well on a board instead of in a bowl all to well, as I wound up with egg and flour all over my table the first time I tried making pasta!

    I'd say you did a great job and have successfully accomplished making me hungry and wanting to make some more pasta :D

  6. "It's incredibly satisfying to make your own pasta!" I think that sums it up for me to. Great job.

  7. You ragout looks delicious and kudos to you for actually rolling it out by hand! Well done - I love making pasta!

  8. Congrats for accomplishing a task you thought difficult.
    The pasta looks delicious.
    I think you've inspired me to try my hand at it :)

  9. Yay! I'm glad you did made your own pasta. What kind of pasta do you want to make next? Any chance I could talk you into a pasta that gets filled?

  10. @ Sarah: Thanks for stopping by! I loved your sausage-like spaetzle!

    @ Chef_d: Thanks! I was shocked when Bender said the ragu was bland because I found it quite flavorful!

    @ PDNFtA: After reading all the directions for using the pasta roller, it seemed like a rolling pin would be way faster! I don't blame you at all for going with the spaetzle!

    @ Juanita: Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for the yoga mat comment! That came from our host, Steph of Stephfood. And I have no idea why it is so much more filling, but the difference is astounding!

    @ Rochelle: Thank you! One day I'll conquer the rolling pin and have pasta pieces all the same size.

    @ Andy: Yes! And thank you!

    @ Jojo: I have already tried it again. Making pasta actually is kinda fun!

    @ Rachel: It's surprisingly easy! Let me know how yours turns out.

    @ Tabitha: Yes, you can convince me to make a filled pasta, as long as I don't have to make it by myself!

  11. Your pappardelle looks beautiful. I'm going to have to try your beef ragu when the weather gets cooler.

  12. Lovely pasta! Pappardelle are one of my favorite pastas. I have no idea why I like it so much more than fettucine, but there you go.. Your ragu looks wonderful too - we've never dated to make the proper 8-hour-start-with-a-roast kind before.

    Great job as always!

  13. Your pappardelle looks good and your sauce sounds amazingly good! Great job on the challenge.

  14. Beautiful dish! Sauce sounds devine. Great job!

  15. Just gorgeous! : ) Isn't it wonderful when you can surprise yourself with your own amazingness? Good job!

  16. I love the wide noodles, and bravo for rolling it out by hand!

  17. It is satisfying to make your own pasta - and it tastes so much better than the bought one!
    Pozdrawiam. Anula.

  18. Congratulations on going ahead with this challenge, despite your initial reservations! You did a splendid job!


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