When I was growing up I was convinced that my Grandma L. made the best egg noodles of all time. The grandkids would fight over them at Thanksgiving...seriously. After I had been married for a few years I called Grandma and asked if she could give me the recipe for her noodles.
"I can't." she answered, "You'll just have to watch me sometime."
What? Really, how hard could it be Grandma? It kind of irked me considering I lived a couple hours away with two toddlers and just stopping by to make noodles with her wasn't really an option. She couldn't even give me some idea of a recipe? Fine...I'll just figure it out on my own. I found a book about making pasta and jumped in!
Know what I learned??? Grandma was right....she couldn't give me a recipe because it's something you just have to learn by doing it. (I'm sure she's sticking her tongue out at me right now saying, "I told you so!" )
So today, even though I can't give you a specific recipe, I'll give you some guidelines and tips that I've learned along the way these last few years of making noodles.
I always like to make a big batch of noodles more than enough for one meal. This batch resulted in two meals, for four, of noodles and a large batch of lasagna noodles.
I start by separating a dozen eggs and only using the yolks. Some books tell you to use the whole egg but I don't like the way it tastes. I prefer just the yolk. I throw all those yolks into my food processor with a couple Tablespoons of olive oil, about a teaspoon or 2 of salt and then I add whatever cooked veggies I have. In this case I added a bunch of frozen spinach that I allowed to thaw. You could definitely leave out the veggies but my boys like colored noodles and this is a healthy way to sneak in the color.
After I process all this I transfer the egg mixture to a large mixing bowl and start adding flour. I don't know how much...I never measure, it may take a whole bag. Make sure you have extra flour on hand because I always seem to use more than I think I will. (Sorry, no photo of this step! I got caught up making it and forgot.)
As I add and stir the flour, it begins to get a bit stiff. I stop there and work a baseball size ball of dough at a time adding flour as needed until it is smooth and elastic. I tend to stop when it is still slightly sticky because it's easier to add flour than moisture to the dough later on. I also stop at this point because I never know how long it will take during the day to finish working the noodle dough or when I may be interrupted. Which means the dough will dry out more as it sits. Like I said, always easier to add flour than moisture.
After I've worked the whole batch of dough into slightly sticky baseball size balls I store them in a ziploc bag and then work one at a time adding a bit of flour as needed until it is no longer sticky then run it through my noodle cutter. This point takes some practice and you'll just have to learn what is dry enough and what is too wet.
My mother-in-law gave me her noodle maker a few years ago and I love it! I takes a little practice to figure out how to make the sheets nice and even and the thickness that you like. Grandma always rolled and cut them out by hand. I did it that way once...what a lot of work!! If you can get your hands on one of these noodle makers it would definitely be worth it. If not roll each ball into a sheet then allow to dry for a few hours before cutting into strips. My Grandma would let each rolled sheet dry, sprinkle it with flour, roll it up and then cut the noodles from the end of the roll. It worked for her but I could never get it to work.
There are two sides to the machine. One side rolls out the dough and the other side cuts it into noodles. Once the dough is ready this step is super fast to do. Yip and Yap enjoy cranking the handle for me!
Then I lay out the noodles on an old bed sheet to dry, usually for about 24 hours. We made them in the garage because there was a nice breeze that day and I knew Yahoo wouldn't be able to get a hold of the noodles as they dried.
After they are dry, store them in ziploc bags in the freezer. Because there are no preservatives they will mold if stored in a cabinet like store bought pasta.
You can always boil the pasta fresh without drying it out.
Just like the store bought stuff, boil for about 7 minutes. Or just pull it out of the freezer and add to the pot.
Add Parmesan and you are good to go!
I also cut some of the pasta sheets into lasagna size noodles. Yum! It almost looks like Christmas with all that red and green doesn't it?
So yummy! One of my favorite things to make.
Do you do noodles? Do you have any tips or ideas to share? I'd love to hear!