Thursday, 9 April 2015

Kids Kitchen>> Fresh home-made pasta

A big hello to all little chefs out there. Put on your chef hat and get ready to prepare some fresh home-made pasta. In my previous post on home-made wheat pasta I had prepared simple fettuccine pasta. Yes, this summer special kids kitchen we'll make fresh pasta of lasagna sheets, spaghetti, and bow shape pasta. 

Rolling fresh homemade pasta is fun cooking activity for kids as it has all the features that our little chefs love; mixing solids and liquids with their hands, then they get to mold and flatten a play-dough like dough into something edible. I call it deliciously fun-time with kids.

Lets prepare 'Farfalle' pasta, fondly known as bow shape pasta for boys and butterfly pasta for girlies. Farfalle is always a big hit with kids as it's something edible they have made which can be worn like bow tie or can play with butterfly toy. Little butterflies ("bow tie" in Italian is 'cravatta a farfalla', "butterfly tie").

Why to make fresh pasta at home from scratch?

  1. It tastes better than packet pasta 
  2. It holds its sauce better than the packed and processed pasta
  3. Contains no preservatives,no gmo or additives or artificial flavours
  4.  And it cooks quicker than packed and processed pasta

Ingredients for vegan pasta dough

Wheat Flour 250 gms per child
Semolina / sooji optional ( Combine wheat and semolina 4:1 ratio, the combination is also known as 'Semola Di Grano Duro' in Itallian)
rolling pins
Dough cutter (optional)
Pasta rolling machine (Optional)
Water as per consistency

Method for Vegan Pasta Dough

  1. Vegan pasta is simple to make it from scratch and more sumptuous in taste. On a clean work station or big plate or chopping board, use your hands to create a mountain of a flour, and then dig out a ‘bowl’ out of it. Aiming for roughly 6 inches across, with inch-thick sides and a shallow flour base.
  2. Pour 50 ml of water into this bowl and use a flat facing upwards fork to slowly stir in a circular motion at clockwise. The idea in this step is to gradually move flour into the center and create a thick, smooth paste. Keep stirring it, and gradually add little water, using the fork to pull in flour from the sides of the bowl.
  3. While doing this see to it that you do not break the flour wall at any point. When you’ve poured in all the water and the central paste is smooth - it’s time to get your hands dirty! With the help of your hands mix the liquid and remaining flour thoroughly together. 
  4. Keep mixing and try to form a ball of sticky flour. Sprinkle more flour on th sticky ball and follow pack and fold method. The vegan pasta dough should be slightly sticky – not wet but not dried out. Repeat the process of flat, sprinkle, pack and fold method for 4-5 times, will give rise to a smooth, yet firm dough ball.
How to roll the pasta manually?

Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and use a rolling pin to roll this ball into a flat as per the thickness you need. This should take about 5-7 mins, now you can shape this pasta as you like (for lots of long pasta options, I recommend a pasta machine).


For making Farfalle pasta ...

With your homemade pasta dough rolled nice and thin, take a sharp knife and cut it into horizontal strips. Working from right to left, use your ravioli cutter (or knife) and chop each strip (vertically) to form 2-inch wide rectangles.

Now to make kids favourite bow-tie /butterfly shape pasta, take one rectangle on clean work station, then place your index (first) finger in the centre. Use your thumb and second finger to pull the top and bottom edges together, then slip your index finger away at the last second and squidge these edges together so that they stick. Repeat, repeat, repeat a little more, and you’re done.

How to cook fresh home-made vegan pasta?

Drop a bunch pf pastas into a large cooking vessel of salted boiling water. pasta in a large full pan of well-salted boiling water. Fresh pasta will take just 2-3 minutes to cook. Once it rises to the surface of boiling vessel, give it just a minute more and drain it. Let it cool little, then mix it with salad, cover it with your favourite pasta sauce.

I hope you all proactive parents try this recipe at home, and redefined the so called 'Junk food' pasta as a wholesome healthy food for kids. The purpose for me to teach kids about pasta rolling is not to make them an Italian chef but to inculcate that even pasta can be healthy provided it's home-made :-)

Happy parenting, Happy Cooking!

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