The first way: with fresh basil and a sauce of roasted tomato, garlic, & thyme
The second way: with butter, Parmesan, salt & pepper
Don't worry, I don't think I invented homemade egg pasta: I realize that you've probably seen something like this before. But, much as I did with my post about homemade gnocchi, I'm going to ask you to indulge me. This is my first freshly-made-at-home fettuccine, so it's exciting. Well, to me anyway.
There's really no excuse for the fact that I didn't have this in my repertoire until now. If anything, it was due to simple procrastination. But, thanks to the pasta maker I got Poppa Trix for Christmas, I will never go hungry for fresh pasta again.
"Hold on there, Trix," you're saying. "You bought Poppa Trix a pasta maker? Isn't that a little ... self serving? Kind of lame, even?" Hmpf. What you don't know is that Poppa Trix had been bugging me about making pasta for months. It wasn't that I was against it, it's just that every time we were going to go out and get a pasta maker (I realize you can make pasta without a roller, but we wanted the fun gadgetry) something else came up. So this really was a good - even a great- present, especially as making it together is a super fun activity, and really reminds you that cooking should be as much about the process as it is about the end product.
To prepare for Pasta Making Night I did a bunch of reading, particularly the eminently useful and informative blog Memorie di Angelina to bone up on the process. Ultimately though, you just kind of have to do it and feel your way through it. A note about flour - ideally you'll use Farina "00," but if you don't have that, just go with AP flour, as I did.
The general consensus seems to be to use between 1-2 eggs per cup of flour, so I started with 3 eggs for 2 cups; I had to add a little bit of a fourth egg. First, mound up your flour, mix in a healthy pinch of salt, make a well in the middle, a put your eggs in the well:
Gradually incorporate the flour and egg. At first, you'll end up with a shaggy dough:
Please pardon my man hands. Anyway, keep kneading by hand; if the dough doesn't come together add a little more egg. You'll want to knead the dough for about 10 minutes in order to make sure the gluten has developed; otherwise, your pasta won't hold together properly when you boil it.
Let your dough rest, wrapped in plastic, in the fridge for about 30 -60 minutes. Once rested, cut the dough into sections (Memorie di Angelina suggests making the same number of sections as eggs used)
Roll out one of the sections on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8" thickness. (Make sure to re-wrap the portions that you're not using. )
Enter the fun gadget:
All you do is run your dough through successively smaller settings until it's the thickness you want, flouring it lightly as needed if it starts to stick:
I realize my edges weren't exactly pin straight, but I'm sure that'll come with practice. Now for the really fun part - making your pasta shapes! You'll want to let your dough sheet sit for a minute or so to dry out just a tad so that the noodles don't stick together - it will feel just a tiny bit leathery to the touch, but not hard. We decided to make fettuccine:
We don't have a proper pasta drying rack, so we just hung it and laid it out on plates and placemats:
But we really didn't need to worry about drying it because we decided to make it all. Hey, we were proud of our pasta! Just plop your noodles into salted boiling water for 3-4 minutes, drain, and enjoy with a nice, simple sauce. For half the fettuccine, I decided on a sauce of roast tomato, garlic & thyme, and the other half I just tossed with butter, Parmesan, a little sea salt and fresh black pepper. When your pasta is this fresh and beautiful, it would be a sin to drown it in something heavy. For the tomato sauce, just toss some cherry tomatoes & garlic cloves with olive oil, a few sprigs of thyme, and salt & pepper and roast at 375 - 400 degrees until the tomatoes split:
I then smooshed about 3/4 of the tomatoes (I set a few aside so we could enjoy their juiciness) and reduced the sauce on the stovetop - it really concentrated the flavors and made the tomatoes incredibly sweet. As for the fettuccine with butter, Parm, salt and pepper ... well, that's pretty self explanatory.
If you, like me, have seen post after post about fresh pasta and always thought, "Mmm, that looks good. I'll have to try that soon," then please do yourself a favor and make it ASAP! Nothing beats the texture and flavor of homemade pasta. It's fun and satisfying, and it makes for a very cheap (and filling) date night!