I’ve had a pasta maker on my Christmas wish list for 3 years. In 2017, Santa finally delivered! I was so excited to finally make my own pasta. For years, I’ve wondered…
- Could I do it? (yes)
- Would it be hard? (not really)
- Would it be worth it? (yes)
What I didn’t think about was… Would it be messy? (YES!) Will it take a long time? (No!) How do I make this stuff stop sticking to everything? (More flour. LOTS more flour) Now that I’ve gone to all this effort, what should I do with all this pasta? (Freeze it!!)
Now that I’ve answered my own FAQ’s of Pasta 101, hopefully this will answer some of yours. If you have a pasta maker, then get out there an start rolling out the dough. If you don’t, I suppose you could do it with the rolling pin, but frankly that would be really hard and not much fun. There’s a reason why these machines were invented, and now I know why. The dough is tough and requires a lot of manipulation. So, if Santa hasn’t come through for you yet, there’s always the refrigerated section at the grocery store.
- 2 1/4 c flour, plus lots more for dusting
- 4 eggs (*)
- 1/2 tsp salt
Place the flour on a cutting board or large flat surface. Make a well with the measuring spoon in the middle and crack the eggs/add puree to the well. Put the salt in with the eggs. Using a fork, whisk the eggs until they come together and slowly scoop in more flour with the fork. Once about half the flour is absorbed, use a scraper to fold the rest of the flour into the pasta dough. I use a “fold and chop” method with the scraper until the dough is mixed enough to knead. Knead the dough on a floured surface for another 3-4 minutes until it is smooth.
Divide the dough into quarters, and in batches, run through the pasta sheet machine as follows. Run the first portion through the thickest setting. After running through the thickest setting, fold the dough 3 times (3 layers thick) to make a square and run through the thickest setting again. Lightly flour the dough. Then reduce the thickness and keep rolling until you get to the thinnest setting. Sprinkle with flour after each roll. I cut my sheets in half at this point so it’s easier to make the noodles. Swap out the pasta sheet machine for the chosen pasta (spaghetti, linguine, etc.), make sure the sheet is well floured, and roll through pasta cutter. If drying, then hang on a pasta drier or hanger. If freezing (my recommendation), flour the noodles in neat rounds and place between plastic wrap to prevent sticking. Now repeat with the remaining 3 portions of dough.
(*) If you want to color your pasta with tomato, spinach, beet or other puree, then replace one egg with two tablespoons of the puree.
Sausage, Fennel & Kale Fresh Pasta
- 4 servings fresh pasta
- 1 lb Italian hot sausage, casings removed
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 8 mushrooms, sliced
- 1 c white wine
- 3 Tbsp champagne vinegar
- 1 bunch kale, chopped
- 1/2 c parmesan cheese
- Salt & pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, add the sausage to a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Cook until browned, then remove the sausage and set aside. Then add the oil, fennel, garlic and red pepper into the same pan with the sausage drippings. Add salt & pepper to taste. Allow the fennel to caramelize for about 5 minutes. Now, cook the pasta in the water. Add the mushrooms to the fennel mixture, and brown them for another 2 minutes. Now, add the kale into the pasta water. Add the sausage back to the fennel mixture and bring the heat to high. Add the wine and allow the wine to reduce by half. Drain the pasta and kale, but reserve 1/2 c pasta water. Add the pasta and kale to the sausage and fennel mix, and mix. Add the champagne vinegar and reserved pasta water until a light sauce is formed. Season with salt & pepper to taste. Top with parmesan cheese.