Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fresh Egg Pasta

Fresh egg pasta is so delicious and worth both the investment of time and equipment (a $30 pasta roller will do just fine). Once you try homemade pasta, it will be difficult to ever go back to eating the dry stuff. My recipe comes from Marcella Hazan, the Italian cuisine matriarch, and with the aid of the food processor it comes together in less than a minute. The entire process, from start to finish, might take a couple of hours the first time you try it, and as you become more experienced, it may only take you about 45 minutes or so. It is a great Sunday afternoon activity.

Fresh Egg Pasta
serves 2-3

This recipe can be doubled, but try it at least once this way before you make a larger batch.

2 extra large eggs
1 heaping cup of all purpose flour

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a stainless steel blade, crack eggs and pour in flour. Pulse until dough comes together in a ball. If too wet, sprinkle in additional flour in tablespoon amounts, until still tacky to the touch, but not wet.

Turn out onto floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes or until smooth like a baby's bottom. Let rest for 15 minutes covered with a damp cloth, then cut into 6 segments and roll each into a ball. Cover again with a damp cloth.

Your pasta roller should include directions on how to roll out pasta, but just in case it doesn't, I dredge each ball in flour, and flatten into my palm. I roll it through my pasta machine set on "1." I fold the pasta into thirds and roll through machine again. Then folding and rolling once more for a total of 3 passes through the machine on level "1." Then I set the pasta on my counter on a clean kitchen towel. I repeat this with the remaining dough. Next, I set the pasta machine to level "2" and pass pasta through and set on counter, starting with the first ball I rolled out, finishing with the last one. Repeat on levels 3-5. Pasta is thin enough when you can see the pattern of the cloth through it. Let the pasta dry out for about 20 minutes, flipping it over after about 10 minutes. Dust with flour if necessary.

Attach the desired pasta cutter and begin to feed pasta carefully through the cutter starting with the first and ending with the last. As pasta is cut, lay out on the cloth again and let dry for a bit. To save for another time let pasta dry until it is no longer tacky, but is not yet brittle and roll into "nests." Let dry out completely and store in an air tight container.

To cook: Boil for about 3 minutes or until al dente.

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