Sunday, January 30, 2011

Homemade Pasta: Fun for the Entire Family!

Making pasta at home is not only delicious but can be a fun family activity. We teach our children not to play with their food, but this is one time you can make an exception. Even young children can be involved from beginning to end!* By letting children get involved in the cooking process, they are more likely to actually eat the meal.

2 eggs
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon water

Make a mound of the flour with a well in the middle. Crack the egg in the middle and break the egg yolk with your fingers. Slowly combine the flour into the egg until all flour is incorporated into the dough. If the dough seems to dry add up to 1 teaspoon of water to achieve the right consistency. Use the palms of your hands to knead the dough. Remind kids not to eat the dough since it contains raw eggs. When you think the dough feels right, wash and dry your hands and then press your thumb into the dough and if it does not stick to your thumb, then no more flour is needed. Now it's time to decide what type of pasta you want to make!

Orecchiette (mouse ears) and cavatelli shapes (rolled shell) are both good shapes for thick, chunky sauces. For orecchiette, roll small 1/2" balls and then press them flat with your thumb to form a little dome. For cavetelli style, make thm the same way as the orecchiette, but use your thumb to roll or "smear" the dough in to a tiny hot dog bun shape.
For long noodles, start by dusting your counter with more flour and divide the dough into 2 balls. If you have a pasta machine, you can roll the dough into sheets. If not, then use a rolling pin to roll the dough as thinly as possible. You can let the dough rest between rolling to get the dough extra thin. Again this task that can be done with a child’s help!

Let the pasta sheets rest for about 10 minutes before cutting. The plain sheets can be used to make lasagna. With children in mind, a pizza cutter can be used to cut the pasta sheets in lengths for fettuccine or spaghetti. The sheets can also be cut into small squares and pinched into farfalle or “bowtie” pasta.

Once cut or shaped allow the pasta to dry for at least 1 hour before cooking. To cook the pasta, boil a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly, so be careful not to overcook. Add pasta to the boiling water and wait for the water to come back to a boil. After about three minutes remove a noodle and test its tenderness. Test a noodle each minute until the pasta is just the way you like it. Now add the sauce of your choice, but you might just find that a little butter and Parmesan are all you need for a delicious homemade dinner!
Friends Caroline and Chris making noodles!

For more kid-friendly recipes and techniques, please visit the new Kids' Cooking Academy sponsored by Frigidaire at www.maketimeforchange.com. Each day that you visit the Cooking Academy, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children to help provide nutritious snacks and promote healthier lifestyles for children living in poverty in the U.S.

*If you try this recipe with your children, please send along pictures for us to post.

Yum

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