If I'm ever doubtful about making fresh pasta I always remind myself of my pasta mantra:
Making homemade pasta is easy. It is always worth it.
Ok, I just made that up but I know I must remind myself subconsciously of something along those lines because there is always a bit of a pause before I go ahead and do it. I'm not really sure why, it takes less time than a curry and lots of others things for that matter. I think it might be the fact that it takes a bit of practice to get a feel for the process, but if more people had a go at making homemade pasta beyond one or two imperfect attempts, they would surely make it again and again. This is a friendly recipe because the dough is on the firm side and easier to work with. Buckwheat on the other hand, has a very distinct flavour that is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love it. This pasta has a slightly coarse texture compared with other fresh pasta. It works so nicely with a zucchini sauce, greens sautéed with fennel sausages or roughly broken into soups for a creamy and hearty texture. Whether you use a pasta machine or a rolling pin, the key is to ensure you flour all your work surfaces and the dough itself to ensure it doesn't stick and it will turn out well. Don't worry if your edges are rough, you can always cut them away and add them to a soup down the track.
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 eggs, whisked
fine sea salt
about 4 tbsp water
Sift the flours into a medium-large bowl, add a pinch of salt. Drizzle the eggs into the flour and using your fingers, mix to bring together into a rough dough. Add 1 tbsp of warm water at a time and press and mix until it just comes together (it should not be wet, on the firm side is easier to work with). Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough (you'll need to use a bit of muscle) until it is smooth - about 5 minutes. Cover with cling wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into 4 equal parts to make it more manageable but re-wrap the pieces you aren't working with or they will become dry. Flour your work surface and both sides of the dough. Flatten the dough into a thick square (I find this helps rolling out a more pleasing shape) and using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the centre to the edge, turn it 90 degrees and repeat. Continue this process, lightly dusting with flour as you work, until you have a square or rectangle that is 1mm - 2mm thick.
Lightly flour the surface of the dough and roll it over itself like you would a strudel. Using a sharp knife, cut ribbons 1cm wide (you can cut them wider but the flavour of buckwheat will be stronger). Unravel the ribbons gently with your fingers, creating little nests of pasta and dust with semolina to prevent sticking (this may not be necessary). Cook your pasta in a pot of salted boiling water for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. You can also leave to dry and store in containers for later use.
If you are using a pasta machine: Lightly flour both sides of the dough, then flatten into a thick disc so it fits in the widest setting and pass through a couple of times. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, turn it 90 degrees, and feed it through the machine. Repeat this folding and feeing pattern two more times (thanks to the Gjelina cookbook for this folding method). Feed it through all the settings, one notch at a time until you have a thickness of about 1mm. You will need to cut the pasta sheet in half at some point to make it manageable to work with. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta with flour as you work to prevent sticking, this way you can also fold it over itself when it becomes too long.
Lightly flour the surface of the dough and roll it over itself like you would a strudel. Using a sharp knife, cut ribbons 1cm wide (you can cut them wider but the flavour of buckwheat will be stronger). Unravel the ribbons gently with your fingers, creating little nests of pasta and dust with semolina to prevent sticking (this may not be necessary). Cook your pasta in a pot of salted boiling water for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. You can also leave to dry and store in containers for later use. Hope you enjoy eating these silky ribbons as much as I do.
If you have any questions about the process please feel free to leave a comment below.