Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Epic Saga of Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup: Part III-- Homemade Noodles

The Star of Chicken Noodle soup should be the noodles.  The only way to make that happen is to make your own noodles.  It also happens this recipe makes fantastic pasta for just about any sauce you can think of.   You can also make this recipe with Semolina flour, which most pasta is made from.  I use regular flour and get great results. Different between homemade pasta and regular-old pasta from a package you ask?  That stuff doesn't have eggs, it only has Durham wheat, go check you package, I'm not lying!  The eggs is what makes homemade pasta so much more superior. To make my pasta, I have the pasta roller attachment.  My husband bought it for me for Mother's Day once, and it was just about the most romantic thing he has ever done for me.  It still brings a tear to my eye!  The pasta roller is incredibly convenient, fun and wonderful. If we are BFF's you can even borrow mine.  However, you don't have a pasta roller, you can still use this recipe and hand roll and cut the pasta.

Making the Pasta dough
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
2-4 T water (maybe)
Crack the eggs in middle of the flour, and with a dough hook, begin to combine.  Occasionally you will have to scrape the flour back into the center of the dough.  It will soon become apparent that the eggs won't be enough to make this into a dough.  Add 1 T of water and see if this does the trick, if it doesn't, continue to add water 1 T at a time till the dough forms a ball.  Knead it with the hook for about 2 minutes.  The dough should be tight and stiff and probably not entirely smooth.

Once you have a ball, put it in a plastic bag and let it rest on the counter for a minimum of 30 minutes.  If you let it rest longer it might be better.   Letting it rest changes the texture of the dough.  It makes it softer and more elastic.

Now if you have a pasta roller and cutter, now is the time to get it out. You work the dough in small batches (split the ball into about 6 balls).You have to run it through the first stage 5 or 6 times to work the dough. You fold it in half every time and run it through again. After that, you move the roller up and run it through without folding it until its the thinness you like.  I did my pasta a 4.

If you don't have a pasta roller,  you can roll it out by hand.  You still need to roll it out then fold it in half and roll it out again about 5 times.  On the last roll, roll it out as thin as you can and then cut it to desired thickness with a pizza cutter or a knife.

You do not need to let it dry.  Once it is cut, you can drop straight into the boiling soup or the boiling water.   If you let it dry for whatever reason, make sure it is drying on a well floured surface so it doesn't stick.  You will just have to let it boil longer.  Otherwise about 3 minutes is all it needs. The rumors are you can freeze the pasta if you don't want to cook it right away, but I can say these are just rumors as far as I am concerned, I have never tried it.

Find out next exactly what boiling pot of soup you should be dropping these fantastic noodles in!


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