A while back, I was asked to host the July challenge for the Daring Kitchen. It was hard to decide what kind of challenge to propose to the group, but in the end I chose something that has been a favourite of mine for my whole life – noodles.
I have always been a bit of a noodle fiend, growing up with Italian and German noodles and venturing into other cultures’ versions of “noodle” as an adult. The challenge I proposed was to make noodles from scratch – without the use of motorized equipment – and pair with an appropriate accompaniment (sauce, or whatever would go best). As an added bonus, I challenged the group to look into their own cultural backgrounds for recipes that were “noodly” (being VERY loose with the term).
Here is one of the recipes I offered… Egg Fettuccine with Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino e Basilico.
As a part of my challenge, I offered two sample recipes: one for German Spätzle, and the recipe that follows, for Fettuccine. These recipes really represent a starting point – a way to show that making noodles by hand is not a daunting task, and that you don’t need expensive motorized equipment. For the fettuccine, I used my manual pasta rollers – but also offered suggestions for how to make it without.
Making pasta by hand is so easy, and the taste of store-bought just cannot compete!
Over the last month, I’ve watched as group members posted their results to the private forum, and have been overjoyed to see so many people run with the challenge. There have been so many amazing results representing cuisines from all over the globe – and so many variations on the spätzle and fettuccine recipes that I will have a super long list of bookmarks after they all post to their blogs today. I can’t wait to try some of these recipes for myself!
So what about this recipe? The pasta recipe is based on one I’ve been using out of a book I got back in university. It was my first hand-made pasta recipe, so I thought it fitting to share with the others. The sauce is a cross between pesto and aglio e olio… full of fresh basil and olive oil, and topped with sharp Parmigiano-Reggiano. I had to add chili flakes, because I put them in everything! This sauce is meant to highlight – not cover – the flavour and texture of the fresh pasta. When you put the work into a hand-made pasta, you don’t want to cover it up!
I really enjoyed putting together the challenge, and I am so stoked about the results I’m seeing from the group! This was a great opportunity for me, giving me a different kind of challenge this month. Thanks to Lis and her team – it’s been great to be a member of the Daring Kitchen this past year, and I am looking forward to more challenges!
Handmade Egg Fettuccine:
the book The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles by the Editors of Cook‟s Illustrated (Boston Common Press, 2000)
4 – 6 servings
- 2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm) (10 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- water, as needed
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.
- Push the flour out of the very center of the bowl, to make a ‘well’. Pour the beaten egg into the ‘well’.
- Slowly incorporate the flour into the egg by mixing a small amount of flour into the “well” at a time and mixing until incorporated. Start by mixing in flour around the perimeter of the egg, and gradually widening the mixing to include more and more flour. Mix until all of the egg is mixed into the flour.
- At this stage, use your hands to try to form a rough ball. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water and incorporate. Be careful to not add too much liquid – it’s better to slowly add water as needed, as opposed to trying to add more flour to a sticky dough. My trick is to wet my fingers, instead of pouring water directly into the dough. This ensures a minimal amount of water is added, and is more evenly distributed.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes, until it is smooth.
- Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rest. It should be allowed to rest for at least 15 minutes, at most 2 hours. Take this time to set up your pasta roller, and/or to prepare the sauce.
- Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Take one piece to start, and put the remaining back into the plastic wrap so that they don’t dry out.
- Form the piece of dough into a ball, and then flatten using the palm of your hand.
- If using pasta rollers: Run this through the pasta roller at its widest setting
If using a rolling pin: Use a rolling pin to create a thin elongated oval.
- Place the dough horizontally on your work surface, and fold the long ends into the center, so that they meet. Press down on the edges to seal them. At this stage, you should have a rectangular shape.
- If using pasta rollers: Run the dough through the pasta roller, open-side first, again at the widest setting
If using a rolling pin: Roll into a long, thin rectangle. Carefully flip the thin dough over, and dust with flour on both sides. Skip to step #15.
- Repeat steps 9 and 10
- Now run the dough through the roller two more times, again on the widest setting, without folding first. This will help to make the dough very smooth and elastic, for stretching.
- Now stretch the dough by running through the rollers, each time switching to a narrower setting. After the final setting, you should be able to see the outline of your hand through the dough.
- If using pasta rollers: Run the stretched dough through the fettuccine-sized cutters. Gently lay or hang your freshly cut pasta, and cover with a clean cloth so that it doesn’t dry out while you roll and cut the rest of your dough.
OR, If using a rolling pin: Carefully roll the dough up (like rolling up a yoga mat). Choose how wide your noodle will be, and using a very sharp knife, cut through the rolled up dough. Unroll the noodles as you go, to prevent sticking.
- Repeat steps 8-15 for the remaining dough.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, gently drop in the freshly cut pasta, and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and toss with sauce and enjoy immediately!
Aglio, Olio, Peperoncino e Basilico:
This recipe is sort of a cross between alio e olio (garlic and olive oil) and pesto. This doesn’t have the fine processing of basil that pesto does, allowing the oil to do most of the work of coating the pasta.
Should coat about 4 servings of pasta. Very easy to double, if needed.
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (¾ gm) coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 small bunch of basil
- ¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (½ gm) chili flakes
- ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (240 ml) (150 gm) (5⅓ oz) quartered cherry tomatoes
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt into a fine paste.
- Add a few basil leaves to the mortar and pestle at a time, and mash until softened (but not pureed). Do this until all of the basil is added.
- Add the chili flakes.
- If your mortar is not large enough, transfer the mixture to a bowl. Slowly mix in the olive oil. Add the salt to taste.
- Set the mixture aside for at least a half and hour to allow the flavors to mingle.
- When ready, gently toss with warm/hot pasta, adding more olive oil if needed.
- Add in the cherry tomatoes, and mix well.
- Add freshly ground pepper, to taste.
- Serve topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a few more chili flakes.