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Culinary Lesson #26 - Homemade Pasta

Friday, January 09, 2015

Aaaand we're back!

Between the holidays, switching jobs, as well as recently moving, this blog has unfortunately taken the back seat to everything.  But now that the holidays are behind us, I'm a week into my new job (and loving it), and I'm (mostly) unpacked at the new place, I'm at a place where I can get back to a normal routine of a post each week.

So with a full day off of work today, I made a grocery run, dug out the pasta machine, made some homemade pasta, and got a shot before the sun set; success!  Way back when, I did have a recipe for pasta on the blog, but removed it at some point because I knew there had to be something better out there; I just didn't know where to look.  My original recipe was Williams-Sonoma's, but after (very recently) being introduced to a new recipe, I knew I finally had what I was looking for.  The dough from today's post is bright yellow, easy to work with and roll out, and has the perfect texture once cooked.  So where is this winning recipe from?  None other than Thomas Keller's collection from The French Laundry, which has often been coined "the best restaurant in the world".  Go figure they'd have an amazing pasta recipe, right?

With that, I encourage you to give homemade pasta a try.  With a sub-par recipe, I admit it can be a hassle.  But with a solid recipe, it is extremely doable in the home kitchen.

Recipe (slightly) adapted from The French Laundry Cookbook.  [Recipe makes just under 1-pound of fresh pasta dough, or 4 servings].

INGREDIENTS:

6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
8 ounces (~ 1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons) all-purpose flour

Semolina flour

DIRECTIONS:

Add the egg yolks, whole egg, oil, milk, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer.  [Side note:  If you prefer to mix and knead the dough by hand, refer to Keller's recipe].  Add roughly three-quarters of the flour to the bowl and mix on low with a hook attachment until everything is incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and add the remaining flour, little by little, until the dough isn't sticky to the touch.  Once you are happy with the dough, continue kneading on medium speed for 10 minutes.  Form a ball with the pasta dough and wrap in plastic wrap.  Transfer to the refrigerator and let rest for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour.

At this point, divide the dough into four portions and form into rectangles.  Coat the dough in semolina flour and roll using a rolling pin until the shorter edge measures roughly 5-inches, and the dough is thin enough to go through the pasta machine.  Run the dough through your pasta machine at the thickest setting (#7 for mine).  Fold the rolled out dough in half by connecting the two short ends.  Coat in flour once again, and run through the pasta machine using the thickest setting.  Continue dusting your pasta with flour and running through the machine, decreasing the thickness each time, until your desired thickness is met (#3 for my machine).  [Side note:  Folding your dough in half is only needed after the first rolling, not for the additional rollings].

Once you have your sheets of dough, you can either gently fold in half several times and then slice into fettuccine or pappardelle, fill and shape into ravioli, or even make some farfalle.  There's a whole list of possibilities out there to experiment with.

The pasta can either be cooked right away in some salted boiling water (for just 2 to 4 minutes), or divided into individual portions to freeze for a later date.

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