Home-made Pasta with Napoletana Sauce

Or as Italian’s know it as “Tagliatelle alla Napoletana”. It’s a simple joy to eat one mouthful of this. When my dad & I first made our own pasta and the sauce to go with it in early 2010, it took a long afternoon and perseverance to see and taste the rewards. But it was worth it! Now we know that anyone can try making pasta from scratch and suceed. Now we have an electic pasta maker that makes rolling the dough quicker and less exhaustive than using the manual one.

The recipe for fresh pasta that I’ve simplified below is from Jamie Oliver’s website here – because I believe he has learnt from the best. And ofcourse the classic Napoletana is dad’s recipe. Eat up and enjoy!

Serves 4.

Home-made Pasta

INGREDIENTS

600g Tipo ‘00’ flour (you can get this fine flour at an Italian delicatessen)
6 large free-range or organic eggs

METHOD

Making the dough: Firstly, add the flour and eggs into your food processor. Blend till the flour resembles breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture onto the lightly floured work surface and collect the dough together using your hands. Then, begin to knead it (this takes practice to perform well). Keep going till you the pasta feels more smooth than rough. Then, cover the dough in cling film and let it chill in the fridge for a good half hour.

Rolling the pasta: Firstly, set up the pasta machine so it’s locked onto a clean work surface. Dust the work surface and split the pasta dough into three seperate pieces. Rolling out the first piece, press it down with your fingertips so that it’s flat. Set the pasta machine to the largest setting and roll the pasta dough through. Everytime you put the dough through the pasta machine flour it so that it doesn’t stick to itself. Then, put the pasta machine down one setting and roll the pasta dough through again. Repeat this another two times or until it is smooth and silky.

Work the pasta dough through to the lower settings, you will see the pasta go from wide to narrow. When it’s at the narrowest setting, fold the pasta sheet in half and feed it through lengthways, then repeat this three times until you have a square sized piece of dough. Then, turn it at a right angle and pull it through the pasta machine at it’s widest setting. After the final rolling, it should be a rectangular thin sheet of dough with straight edges. Finally, turn the pasta machine to the cutting setting or attach the extra component and feed the pasta sheet through. You can use a handful of semolina to keep the pasta seperated as you wait to cook it.

Cook the pasta: Fill a large saucepan with water and bring it to the boil. Slowly add the pasta ribbons by the handful. Turn the heat to medium-high and the pasta will be al dente in 8-10 minutes. Serve with Napoletana Sauce or any other delicious sauce you have made.

Napoletana Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
425g can of chopped tomatoes*
1 carrot, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
2 tsp rosemary and oregano, dried or fresh
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or ripped
A pinch of sea salt and black pepper

*Our favourite brand is MUTTI. Produces very soft and creamy tomato sauces.

METHOD

In a medium- large saucepan, fry some oil on medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft. Then, add garlic for one minute. Add the tomatoes, carrots, zucchini and dried or fresh herbs and bring the sauce to the boil.

Season and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes – 1hr to get the acid out of the tomatoes. You can keep the lid of the saucepan off to quicken the process if you are in a rush. Make sure you check on it every 15-20 minutes to give it a good stir through. It will be ready when the tomato liquid has reduced and the sauce becomes thick. Add a good handful of basil to the sauce and let it continue to simmer for 2-5 minutes. It’s now ready to serve! Yum.

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