In Hungary, where soup is such an important part of the meal, most soups have some sort of pasta floating around in them. Though making homemade pasta for a soup might sound very time-consuming, it’s actually quite quick and simple. In fact, even a child can do it, and mine have always loved being put to work on this task. Csipetke—these tiny irregular-shaped pieces of pinched pasta—can be made in just a few minutes (though the dough needs to rest for at least 15 minutes), and are added to many different types of soups (most notably, gulyás). The name comes from the word csípni, which means to pinch, because you form the tiny pieces by pinching them off of the piece of dough. It is very forgiving. If you get into the swing of it you can make more than you need, toss the pieces in flour and let them dry, and store them in a jar until the next time you need them. Though in our family, half of them always seem to get gobbled up before they make it into the pot.
CSIPETKE (PINCHED PASTA)
- 1/2 cup flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- Mix the flour, salt and egg and knead for about 5 minutes into a smooth, hard dough. Let it rest, covered, for at least 15 minutes.
- Dip your hands in flour and flatten the dough (or roll out with a rolling pin). Pinch off pieces that are about 1 cm long and place them on a well-floured baking sheet.
- Either boil in salted water, until they rise to the top (about 5 minutes), or drop directly in the soup to cook, just before it’s ready.