Thursday, January 15, 2009

a culinary experiment

After our recent trip to Lupa with our friends Jim and Bob, plus a new Mario Batali cookbook for Christmas, Ian decided it was high time he tried to make some fresh pasta.

fresh fettuccine
(adapted from Mario Batali's recipe on
serves 8

4 extra large eggs
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1/2 cup for dusting your work surface

Make a mound of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs one at a time. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape. Don't worry that this initial phase looks messy (and it totally is!). The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated. Start kneading the dough with both hands, using your palms. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any leftover crusty bits; discard. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe. They are essential for a light pasta.

Roll out pasta to about 1/8-inch thick, or use the thinnest setting on a pasta machine if you're lucky enough to have one! Cut pasta into 1/4-inch thick noodles by hand (or with the machine) and set aside. (Some prefer to set under a moist towel, others hang dry.)
Assemble the ingredients for the sauce (we used a combination of red onion, jalapeno peppers, garlic, lemon, butter, and Parmesan cheese found in Molto Italiano).
Bring six quarts of water to a boil and add 2 Tbl. salt. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until tender yet al dente. Drain pasta well and toss into pan with sauce mixture. Serve immediately in warm bowl, making extra cheese available on the side.
Eat. It's delicious, and not terribly difficult. The entire process took only two hours and isn't extremely labor-intensive, so you can even do other things, say, laundry, in the meantime. Plus, I was able to portion out several days' worth of lunches. You'd never imagine the peppers, lemon, and cheese would complement one another, but they absolutely do. We'll definitely make this again.

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