A beautiful plate of pasta brings everyone to the dining table. The quality and texture of fresh pasta is delicious and makes even the most humble of ingredients taste like a gourmet meal.
The Pasta Dough
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
Place the flour in a heap on a clean work surface and make a well in the center for the eggs. Place the whole eggs – yolks and whites – in the well and beat them with a fork, gradually working flour into the well. Slowly incorporate all the flour into the egg mixture.
Knead the pasta on a well-floured surface until you form a smooth ball of dough. Flour the work surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. If the mixture is dry and crumbly sprinkle in a few drops of water to get the right consistency.
Wrap the ball tightly in cling-wrap, and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes if using right away. Refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
The Pasta Machine
Though it may be intimidating to look at, a crank-style pasta machine is quite simple to use. If you’re using a brand new machine be sure to wash it thoroughly before the first use.
Clamp the roller securely to the edge of a counter or work table. Cut a ball of pasta dough into quarters and rewrap the unneeded portions to prevent them from drying out. Pat and stretch the dough quarter to flatten slightly and roughly shape it to a rectangle. Set the pasta roller on the widest setting. Typically, crank-style machines start at 1 (widest) and end at 7(thinnest) but your model may vary. Feed the dough into the machine and turn the crank. Viola! You’ve just mastered the pasta machine. Well, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but almost.
Lightly flour the sheet of pasta. Fold it in thirds like an envelope and feed it through the rollers, short end first. Repeat this step a total of three times at each setting, always adding flour before folding.
Move the setting up and repeat the process until the pasta is at your desired thickness.
The pasta sheet can be used for lasagna or ravioli or it can be fed through the cutting attachment to make spaghetti or fettuccini. To make noodles, first trim the large sheet to the desired length of the finished pasta. Lightly flour the sheet before feeding it through the cutting attachment. Place small nests of cut pasta on a clean, lightly floured surface until ready to cook. If the noodles stick to each other, toss them lightly in flour or hang them on a pasta dryer.
The Past Dinner
Recipe Idea: Fettuccini with Carmelized Brussels Sprouts, Lemon and Pancetta
This is a simple dish that highlights the perfection of homemade pasta. Toss whole Brussels sprouts in olive oil and lightly salt them. Roast the vegetables in the oven until they just begin to carmelize. After removing the Brussels sprouts from the oven, crisp pancetta or bacon in a heavy skillet. Cook the pancetta slowly to render the fat. While the pancetta’s cooking, slice the cooled Brussels sprouts into ¼-inch shreds. Place the Brussels sprouts and cooked fettuccini in the skillet with the pancetta. Toss all the ingredients with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle the shaved parmesan cheese before serving.