Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fresh Egg Pasta



Hi there!  Time to continue our journey through my cooking classes on Italian cuisine.

I've brought you several wonderful recipes from Rome.  Did you make any of them?  I absolutely loved the Braciole and how about that Bucatini All Amatriciana?

My next hands-on class at Williams-Sonoma was making fresh pasta. Used all over Italy.  Now I mean fresh as in from hand.  Not using a pasta machine, KitchenAid attachment, or any type of food processor.  Flour on the board with eggs in the middle, by hand! And actually....it's really not that hard.  A little messy, but certainly easy enough to do over again, and again!  

There's nothing better than homemade pasta....got it?  Good!  You can't get the same texture or tenderness with any dried or "fresh" store bought pasta out there...you just can't!  So making your own is so worth it.

We mixed the dough by hand, but we did have a little help in stretching out the dough to the correct degree of "thin-ness" with a wonderful pasta machine with rollers.  We decided to make fettuccine with our dough which was perfect for the sauces we were going to make to go with it.

I'll bring you the wonderful fresh sauces next time.  It's all about freshness...fresh ingredients go a long way to bring outstanding flavor to your pasta.

Oh! I forgot to mention, the pasta cooks up in no time.  So after you spend some time making it, you can cook it up right away.  No waiting around for it to dry.  Great fun at a party, having the guests each prepare a batch, rolling it, and cutting it out.  

I hope you do as the Italians do and make your own fresh pasta at least once....it's heaven!



Fresh Egg Pasta
Ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour,  plus more as needed
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Semolina flour for dusting
Directions:
Place the 2 1/4 cups flour in a mound on a work surface. Make a well in the center large enough to hold the beaten eggs and pour the eggs into the well. Using a fork, begin gradually incorporating some of the flour from the sides, taking care not to break the flour wall. When the eggs are no longer runny, you can stop worrying about the wall. Continue working in more flour until the dough is no longer wet.

Begin kneading the dough by hand, adding as much additional all-purpose flour as needed until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, 3 to 5 minutes. Scoop up any remaining flour and pass it through a sieve to remove any large particles. Set the sieved flour aside.

Dust baking sheets with semolina flour. Divide the dough in half. Keep one half on the work surface, covered with a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying. Set up your pasta machine alongside another work surface. Lightly flour the work surface with some of the reserved sieved flour. Using a rolling pin, flatten the other dough half into a rectangle thin enough to go through the rollers at the widest setting. Pass the dough through the rollers once, then lay the resulting ribbon down on the work surface and flour it lightly. Fold into thirds lengthwise to make a rectangle and flour both sides lightly. Flatten the dough with the rolling pin until it is thin enough to go through the rollers again. With one of the two open edges going first, pass the dough through the rollers nine more times at the widest setting; after each time, flour, fold and flatten the dough as described. After 10 trips through the wide rollers, the dough should be completely smooth and supple.

Now you are ready to thin the dough. Starting at the second-to-widest setting, pass the dough through the rollers repeatedly, setting the rollers one notch narrower each time. When the pasta ribbon gets unwieldy, cut it in half and continue rolling one part at a time until the dough reaches the desired thinness.

Arrange the finished pasta sheets on the prepared baking sheets and cover with kitchen towels to prevent drying. Repeat the entire process with the second half of dough. Cut the pasta by hand or machine as desired. Makes 1 lb. dough.


Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Classic Pasta at Home, by Janet Fletcher (Time-Life Books, 1998).

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