Posted on February 16, 2015
Pasta is my favorite food group. I could eat variations of pasta all day, every day and in a perfect world, without a stomachache at the end. I grew up on buttered noodles, which are exactly as delicious as they sound. A piping hot plate of penne noodles, dressed simply in butter and parmesan evoke the strongest memories of my childhood—comfort food at its finest.
It wasn’t until I learned how to make homemade pasta that my love for pasta took on a life of its own. Now, knowing the power these noodles have on my life, I’m practically jumping at the chance to share this simple recipe with you all! While at first glance the recipe may seem labor-intensive, the finished product is worth every second. You can make spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli or fettuccine with this recipe. Why not make all types of noodles and serve them family-style at a bridal shower? Now that is my kind of party!
The Middle-Class, not Quite Golden, Homemade Pasta – Adapted from Lidia’s Family Table
This recipe calls for a food processor, but you can also make it by hand, instructions in the link above. First, fit the regular steel cutting blade in the bowl of a food processor. Measure the flour into the bowl; process for a few seconds to blend. Drop the egg and egg yolks into a spouted measuring cup or small bowl; beat briefly with a fork to break them up. Mix in the measured amounts of oil. To minimize the chance of overheating the dough, use eggs right from the refrigerator. Start the machine running with the feed tube open. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl quickly, scrape the egg drippings out of the cup and into the food processor. Let the machine run for about 1/2 minute. A dough should form quickly, most of it should clump or ball up on the blade – some may spread on the side of the bowl where it will twist and knead. Let the machine twist and knead for about 10 seconds (no more than 40 seconds total processing). Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead by hand for another 1/2 minute or so, until its smooth, soft ands stretchy. Note: If you have problems in the food processor – if there’s no apparent clumping after 30 seconds, or the dough stiffens up very quickly – stop the machine and feel the dough. Adjust for stickiness or dryness by working in either flour or water in small amounts. You can continue to work the dough in the machine, but don’t process for more than a total of 40 seconds – or turn the dough out to correct the consistency and finish kneading by hand.
Form the dough into a disc, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and let it rest for 1/2 hour. After, store very well wrapped, in the fridge for a day or longer in the freezer.
Rolling the dough by pasta machine
Have your dough at room temperature for rolling. Cut 1 lb of dough into four pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the others covered. Have a large tray or baking sheet nearby, lightly sprinkled with flour, on which to lay thin dough strips. Have flour for sprinkling and a knife or sharp pastry cutter handy as well.
Turn the knob to the widest setting, you’ll be working at this setting for awhile. Start with a small piece, fold it in half, and roll it through the machine two times. Fold that elongated piece in thirds, turn the dough 90 degrees, so the fold is on the side and roll it through. Catch, fold and roll 6 more times to strengthen and smooth the dough. It will become more resilient as you work it.
Keep changing the settings, folding and rolling the dough to the consistency you like, almost see-through. Set the finished strips down, lightly floured and not overlapping in big trays. Note: When we made spaghetti, we just changed the setting and were able to insert the dough and the machine cut the pasta into strips. We then let it rest before cooking.
Cooking the pasta
For 1 lb of pasta, bring 6 qt. of water to a full boil and stir in 1 tbsp of salt. Before cooking the pasta, shake off excess flour, using a strainer or colander. Drop the pasta into boiling water in several batches, stirring with each addition to separate the pieces. Cook at the boil at least until the pasta rises to the top. At that point, many pastas are done, but some are not. Remove and taste a piece when it surfaces.
Serve alongside your favorite sauce (two options are below).
The Greatest Tomato Sauce
Pasta & Garlic Infused Oil
In a strainer over a large bowl, mash the whole peeled tomatoes until the juices have dripped into the bowl and the peeled outside bits of the tomato remain in the strainer. Set both aside separately. In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the 3 tablespoons of olive oil until warm, add the onions until translucent and then add the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Then, add the whole peeled bits of the tomatoes, the sugar (if using), a dash of salt & pepper and stir together, letting the tomatoes soften and the sauce thicken, about 15 minutes or so. Add in the reserved tomato juice, bring the whole thing to a boil and then let simmer for an additional 25 minutes, until thickened. Toss in the basil and set aside.
At this point, you can get your pot of pasta water ready and once its boiled and lightly salted, add the noodles. While the pasta is cooking, make your infused oil by warming the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sprigs of fresh basil, garlic and chili flakes and let warm / slightly bubble until the garlic is lightly browned. At that point, turn off the heat and allow to cool. The longer you let the mixture sit, the deeper the flavors will become. When ready, strain the oil and set aside – you’ll drizzle it over the finished plates.
Once the noodles are al-dente, strain them, add them to the tomato sauce mixture, toss in some parmesan cheese and a little pad of butter (trust me) and toss all together until the noodles are coated completely with the tomato sauce. Drizzle finished product generously with the basil oil, a bit more parmesan & you’re good to go.
Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of about.com
Ingredients (if only making this for 2, I’d halve the recipe)
Melt the butter in medium sauce pan set over low-medium heat. When the butter begins to get just slightly bubbly, add the chopped garlic.
Stir the garlic in the butter for 1 minute. Add the chopped sage to the garlic butter and continue stirring and cooking the mixture for 1 to 2 additional minutes, until the butter has turned very light brown and has a rich, nutty aroma.
Season the sage brown butter sauce with ground black pepper and serve it hot.