The only one word that will sound like music to a hungry man’s ears is ‘Pasta’. And if there is something that will sound all the more appealing, it is ‘Penne Pasta’! While there are several different kinds of pastas like Fusilli, Girandole and Farfalle, it is Penne that is universally loved since it can be used to make a variety of dishes and thanks to the simple, cylindrical shape of the penne, it looks great as well.
Making it at home:
While one can easily buy the penne pastas from the stores, there is a strange satisfaction when one makes pasta at home – the quiet kneading of the pasta dough, the energy needed in patiently rolling it out and the focus required in cutting them into strips of equal length and shape.
If you are thinking of making pasta at home and love penne pasta, then let us tell you, you have made the right choice by deciding to figure out how you can make penne pasta.
The basic ingredients that are used in making pastas, is the same all over the world. This is because it is generally the shape of the pasta that makes one different from the other along with other small differences like the texture and the thickness.
You will need fine white flour, or the American bread flour is also a good choice since it has a higher gluten level and will thus give you firmer pastas, eggs (for a better quality, we suggest you increase the proportion of yolks while decreasing the proportion of whites respectively) and a fine amount of sea salt.
Let’s get down to business:
Make a small hill with the flour on your marble counter and make a well in the center. Pour the eggs and the salt in and start kneading them together to make a dough that is smooth, firm and elastic. You can add in a few drops of water will kneading it but not much. You have to be generous with the kneading as not kneading it well will lead to the dough tearing apart while you are rolling it out.
Now divide the dough in to two pieces and take one of them and start rolling it on your working counter. A marble counter is the best for this, but a wooden and formica counter would also do the trick. Start rolling it out from the center and keep flipping it and flouring it so that it is evenly rolled and doesn’t stick to the counter.
You need to keep rolling it until it becomes almost transparent, or as thin as you can make it. One idea that you can use is that when your dough has reached a specific size, wrap it around the rolling pin and then invert the pin. Then, as you unroll it, hold the unrolled part firmly as you lightly tug at the part that is unrolled to get the desired thinness without tearing the dough. This is a difficult part when it comes to making the penne pasta and one needs to have extensive practice and patience while engaged in this phase of making it.
Now roll the sheet into a tube and slice it into medium, cylindrical shaped pieces, to get your penne pasta. Now give them a slight shake to remove the strands and allow them to dry on a rack. Do the same thing with the second portion of the dough.
You can also use a pasta machine:
If the traditional method described above is giving you the jitters, you might want to invest in a good pasta machine. Get an electrically operated pasta machine in which you just have to pour in the eggs and flour and let the machine do the rest of the work. Use the nozzle that is made for penne pasta to get the perfect ones.
In big factories, huge machines are running 24X7 to knead the dough perfectly, roll them out and precisely cut them into the penne pasta that you love so much.
While the ingredients are not much, it is the kneading and rolling out the part that is the most tedious ones, especially in penne pasta. Thankfully the machines do a better and faster job than us and spare us a lot of effort!