Fresh Egg Pasta
Published by Chronicle
I rarely use extra-large eggs in cooking but I use them in pasta dough. Why? Because when you mix 3 extra-large eggs with enough flour to make a dough, you get about 1 pound of pasta, the required amount for most recipes.
NotesTo cut fettuccine or tagliatelle:
Use the wide cutter attachment on the pasta machine to make noodles about ¼ inch wide, or cut by hand (page 16) into ribbons ¼ to 3/8 inch wide.
To cut laganelle:
Stretch the pasta sheets as thin as you would for fettuccine. Cut by hand (page 16) into ribbons ½ inch wide.
To cut maltagliati:
In some kitchens, maltagliati, or “badly cut” pasta, are the scraps left over from making another pasta dish, such as ravioli. Mine are a little less random in appearance. To make maltagliati, stretch the pasta sheets as thin as you would for lasagne. Roll each sheet loosely like a jelly roll, leaving a 1-inch tail, then cut by hand into ribbons about ¾ inch wide. Unfurl the ribbons, stack them, and cut crosswise, but on an alternating diagonal, to make trapezoids roughly 2 inches in length.
To cut pappardelle:
Stretch the pasta sheets as thin as you would for fettuccine. Keeping the sheets flat, not rolled, cut by hand with a fluted pastry wheel into ribbons 5/8 inch wide.
To cut tonnarelli:
Tonnarelli are fresh noodles that resemble spaghetti, but they are square in cross section. You can make them with most home pasta machines by not stretching the sheets as thin as you would for fettuccine. (I stop at number 3, two settings before the setting I use for fettuccine.) Then use the narrowest cutter attachment.
To cut trenette:
Stretch the pasta sheets as thin as you would for fettuccine. Cut by hand (page 16) into ribbons slightly narrower than fettuccine, about 3/16 inch wide.
Total Timeunder 2 hours
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, lactose-free, low sodium, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Type of Dishfresh pasta
- Approximately 2½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
To make the dough: Put the 2½ cups flour on a large work surface. Make a well in the center large enough to contain the eggs. Make sure your flour “walls” are high enough to keep the eggs from escaping. Pour the eggs into the well. With a fork, begin drawing in flour from the sides and whisking it with the eggs. Take care not to let the runny eggs breach the flour walls or you will have a mess. As you incorporate more flour and the egg mixture thickens, you can relax about the walls.
When the dough becomes too stiff to mix with the fork, continue with your hands. You won’t be able to incorporate all the flour, at least not at first, but use enough to make a dough you can knead without it sticking to your hands. Sift the remaining flour to remove any coarse particles, and wash your hands to remove any caked-on bits.
Now knead by hand for several minutes, adding as much reserved flour as you need to make a smooth dough without a trace of stickiness. Shape the dough into a rectangle and divide it in half. Set aside one-half, covered with a clean dish towel. Now you will make pasta sheets with the other half, using the pasta machine.
Lightly flour the work surface. Firmly clamp your pasta machine to an immovable surface. Set the rollers on the widest setting. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a rectangle thin enough to go through the rollers. Feed it through one time. Lay the resulting ribbon on your lightly floured work surface, then fold it in thirds, matching edges to make a neat rectangle. With the rolling pin, roll it out in the other direction (with the open ends at the top and bottom), flouring as necessary to keep it from sticking. Try to keep the open ends matched up so you continue to have a neat rectangle.
With the roller still on the widest setting, repeat the process at least nine times: feeding the dough through, folding the ribbon in thirds, then flouring and flattening. With each successive trip through the rollers, you should need less flour. At the end of this mechanical kneading, you should have a smooth, silky, well-blended ribbon of dough. If not, continue the process until you do.
To stretch the dough: Now you are ready to begin the stretching process by feeding the ribbon through progressively narrower settings, beginning again with the widest one. Cut the ribbon into manageable lengths whenever it gets too unwieldy. Resist flouring the dough at this point because the flour won’t be well incorporated; dust lightly with flour only if the dough threatens to stick to the rollers. I find that setting number 5 on the KitchenAid attachment is thin enough for fettuccine, which should be delicate but not insubstantial. The noodles should be neither so thick that they are chewy, nor so thin that they clump after cooking. Pasta for lasagne and cannelloni should be thinner; I use setting number 6. Pasta for ravioli should be as thin as you can comfortably make it; I use setting number 7. You will need to find the settings you prefer on your own machine, which may take a few attempts. As you finish stretching each sheet, lay it on a clean dish towel to rest.
While you wait for the first batch of sheets to dry, repeat the mechanical kneading and stretching process with the second half of the dough.
To cut the noodles (see also Notes): Depending on how much flour you worked into the dough, the sheets may be ready to cut immediately or they may need to dry awhile. If they feel at all damp, the noodles will stick together when you cut them. Let the sheets air dry, checking them every 30 minutes, until they are no longer damp (but not too dry or they will crack in the cutter).
You can cut the sheets into noodles of the desired width by hand (see Notes) or using the pasta machine’s cutting attachments.
To cut the pasta by hand, start at one of the sheet’s narrow ends and loosely roll it like a jelly roll, leaving a 1-inch tail. With a sharp chef’s knife, cut ribbons of the desired width. Grab the noodles by the exposed ends, lift them up, and they will unfurl.
Arrange the noodles on a dish towel or on a surface lightly dusted with semolina. Let dry at least 30 minutes before cooking.
You can make fresh noodles several hours ahead and keep them at cool room temperature. You can also freeze fresh pasta with some success. Freeze it in a sturdy plastic bag and cook it directly from the freezer; do not thaw first.
Fresh Saffron Pasta
You can buy powdered saffron, but I prefer to use saffron threads pounded in a mortar; that way I know I’m getting an unadulterated product.
Enough saffron threads to yield 1/8 teaspoon powdered saffron
Approximately 2½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
3 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
Stir the saffron into the flour, blending well, then proceed according to the directions for Fresh Egg Pasta.
Fresh Spinach Pasta
¾ pound spinach (not baby spinach)
2 extra large eggs
Approximately 2¾ cups unbleached all purpose flour
Discard any thick spinach stems. Put the spinach in a large pot with just the wash water clinging to the leaves. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the spinach wilts. Drain and cool under running water, then squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible.
Put the spinach in a food processor with 1 of the eggs. Puree until the spinach is as fine as possible. Beat the other egg in a small bowl.
Put the flour on a large work surface and make a well in the center. Put the spinach and the beaten egg in the well. Proceed according to the directions for Fresh Egg Pasta.
2004 Janet Fletcher