Last week we cleared some space in Local Root, and got to work cooking up a storm. From time to time, I'll leaf through our stock of cookbooks and pick out a few recipes that catch my eye, then we'll make and photograph them for blog use (and often tasty afternoon snacks!). We recently acquired enough tools to host our cooking days right in the store, and it's definitely been a lot of fun.
This week, I tackled to recipe basics - homemade fresh pasta and crepes. Today, I'm sharing the recipes for fresh pasta, which I took from Barbara Lynch's cookbook Stir. It is a perfect baseline fresh pasta recipe, which practically begs to be dressed up with your favorite seasonings and toppings.
I decided to make the pasta very simple, just as stated in the cookbook. If I were to make it again, I'd be interested in mixing flours, or adding in herbs and spices.
With the fresh pasta, we decided to make a full-on meal. For this we consulted another one of our cookbooks, this time The Farm by Ian Knauer. He had a simple and delicious sounding recipe for Ramp Tagliatelle - a very basic preparation with ramps, olive oil, heavy cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Since it was a bit too early for ramps season when I made this dish, I opted for spring onions, and added in seasonal asparagus, plus some beautiful shitake and button mushrooms I picked up at Formaggio. Just a little splash of cream and a sprinkle of Pecorino Romano on top finished it off!
Homemade Fresh Pasta Dough Ingredients 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water 2 large eggs 4 large egg yolks
Directions 1) Combine flour and salt in a small mound on a clean work surface. Using your fingers, create a small well in the center of the flour.Crack the whole eggs into the well, then add the egg yolks. Whisk the egs gently with a fork, just to break them up a little.
2) Continue to whisk the eggs, slowly incorporating flour from the perimeter of the flour mound. Do this slowly until the dough becomes too stiff to mix with a fork, and then use your hands to continue mixing. You may not need all of the flour (I didn't), so only add more until the dough starts to come together and doesn't stick to your hands.
3) Once enough flour has been incorporated, push any excess to the side, and continue to knead your ball of dough until, as the book says, "it feels as soft and supple as your earlobe." This could take anywhere from 5-8 minutes.
4) Once your dough is sufficiently kneaded, cover it with a light dusting of flour and plastic wrap, and let it rest for one hour.
5) When ready to roll, set your pasta maker to it's widest setting, and cut your dough in half. Begin by running each half through the machine on it's widest setting.
6) Continue to run each piece of dough through the machine, moving up the settings as you go. Our machine has 9 settings, and I didn't run the dough through all 9, but probably 6 or 7 of the settings. You are looking to gradually thin your dough, so if it's soft and supple and not tearing or ripping, you could try to skip one setting, say go from 5-7 without putting it through 6. If the dough does tear or start to shred, simply gold it over itself, and run it through a wider setting again until smooth. Continue until your dough has gone through the thinnest setting.
7) At this point, your dough is ready to use! You could keep it in sheets and use it for lasagna, but I'd suggest running it through a fettuccine or spaghetti attachment like we did here. For thicker pasta like a papperdelle, you could use a pastry cutter and make 1" strips - it's really up to you! Cook immediately (for 3-4 minutes, until it rises to the surface of a pot of boiling water), or freeze. To freeze, simply wrap pasta strands around your hand, creating a small nest, and place on a floured baking sheet until frozen. From there, they nests can be transferred to a tupperware for more long-term freezer storage.