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There are very few things that I can do well. If you knew me personally, you’d know I’m not just being modest. Luckily, one of those things happens to be making fresh, homemade, ridiculously delicious, egg noodle pasta. I say so because Sara has quite an affinity for those silky, carbo-stuffed, relationship saving strands of flour and eggs. I have tried MANY, many recipes for egg noodles. A lot of them will tell you to use an extensive amount of fat (egg yolks/oil) in order to achieve a supple final product, worthy of the King’s plate. They also generally require several hours of preparation, rolling, shaping, and drying. Several hours spent drooling over the fresh pasta that’s spread across your counter, dining room table, coffee table, hung from one’s shower curtain, etc. must build quite a high level of anxious desire for dinner. I like to cut all through that BS and just get to the eating. Here is how to do it, on a Tuesday, to perfection, every time.
First weigh out your eggs, whole shell on. 2 large eggs will produce enough pasta for 3 hungry people, I suggest bumping it up only to 3 eggs for a family of four. (note: if you don’t have a scale, supermarket eggs will weigh in at roughly 2.6 oz. each).
Next, weigh out (or convert to volume measurements if you don’t have a scale) 1.75 times the amount of whole eggs in flour, rounding down. 1.75 shall be the number that thou shalt count. 1.6 shalt thou not count, neither count thou 1.9, excepting that thou then proceed to 1.75.
Break the eggs into a small mixing bowl (or whiskey glass) and add 1 Tbl of roasted garlic and basil olive oil (or other extra virgin olive oil, if for some silly reason you have not yet tried mine) and blend thoroughly. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the egg/oil mixture.
Using a stiff mixing implement (butter knife) slowly incorporate the flour, a bit at a time, into the egg yolks, mixing constantly. This should take 4-5 minutes, at the end of which one should feel some discomfort in one’s mixing arm. The consistency should be the ubiquitous “coarse meal,” that dreams are made of.
Turn out the bowl of partially made dough onto a work surface. There is plenty of leftover “bench” flour already in the bowl (if following the 1.75 X rule), so it is not necessary to lay out any additional flour. This is the only part of this process that sucks. For consilitory purposes, take a sip of the Miller Light pictured here in the upper left hand corner. Because the dough is so dry (and hence, doesn’t need to be left for hours to dehydrate prior to cutting) kneading and rolling it out is reminiscent of a friendly colonoscopy. Knead it until it comes together in a ball (by hand, this doesn’t work well in a stand mixer). It will get moister as you continue to work it (and all the flour gets hydrated), DO NOT ADD EXTRA WATER until you are absolutely sure you need to. In this case, do not add extra water to the dough, but rather run your hands under some warm water and continue to work the dough. You will know when it is done because you will have a) a ball of extremely difficult to work with dough and b) feel like your forearms ran the Boston marathon and then got into a wrestling match with a 6′ 5″, 225 lb, chiseled-out-of-iron guy with a heavy Eastern European accent and a uni-brow.
You will need to pull a beat down that would make Maury Povich’s producers proud to get this dough to work with you. I recommend beating it repeatedly with the pin to flatten prior to attempting to roll. I had to get glasses in 2nd grade, so I use the opportunity to work out some pent up school yard aggression. When you finally have it thin enough to work it into your pasta rolling machine, cut the dough roughly into strips about 70% the width of said machine.
Finally, roll the strips through the machine on the widest setting, then flip it over, and run it back through again. Continue doing so, bumping it up 2 settings a time, until desired thickness is achieved, allowing each piece to rest briefly after each roll.
On my Kitchen-Aid, I take this dough all the way to the #7 setting, at which time it will be ridiculously thin, long, and difficult to maneuver. Don’t sweat it too much if you tear it a bit, but try to avoid this, as too much tearing will lead to more problems when shaping/cutting.
Allow the dough to “dry” for about 10 minutes prior to cutting. In the meantime, bring your cooking liquid to a boil and salt it heavily. IF USING PASTA SHEETS FOR RAVIOLI: Use immediately, moistening with an egg wash. The dough is extremely dry (on purpose) and will not seal properly if left to sit for any period of time.
Cut the dough to the desired shape. I used the fettuccine cutting attachment on my KA.
Boil for only 2-3 minutes max, fresh pasta takes a lot less time to cook than dried.
About 20 minutes total invested at this point. I have made homemade pasta from scratch, using a grand total of $0.50 of raw ingredients and admittedly, some, physical effort. Despite the fact that by this point I may have fired off something to the effect of “you know, those shoes don’t really go with that outfit” or “your last post wasn’t your best work,” with an ethanol effervescence assaulting her on all fronts, Sara will serve this pasta, smile, and we’ll sit down to dinner together.
Presto Pasta Nights (http://www.prestopastanights.com/) was created by Ruth Once Upon a Feast.