I continue to be haunted by this Jamie Oliver video where he makes pasta in what seems to be about 3 seconds. My last attempt at making homemade pasta (butternut squash ravioli) was serviceable, so I thought it might be time to give noodles another try.
Tagliatelle with Summer Vegetables in Parmesan Sauce Recipe:
1. Mix it: for two servings, put 1C all purpose flour, two eggs, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Beat the eggs and mix into the flour.
I’ve toyed with the idea of using a traditional well method where you dump a whole bunch of flour onto a large work surface and then slowly work the eggs and slowly incorporate tiny increments of flour until you get the perfect ratio of eggs to flour. But in addition to the fact that I just don’t have the space for such a technique, this just doesn’t seem necessary.
The well method, I hypothesize, was designed to bring measurement accuracy to a world filled with old Italian ladies who didn’t have measuring cups and measured things by the handfuls. The method was popularized at a time where chicken eggs varied in size greatly and when people had enormous kitchen tables to work with.
None of the factors that engendered the well method apply to me. I have measuring cups. Chicken eggs are just about as uniform these days as lego blocks. And I have laptops that are bigger than the amount of counter space I have to work with in my kitchen. So, I use a bowl.
Once the dough comes together, dump it out onto the board and knead it for a while.
2. Rest it: rest the dough, covered, for about twenty minutes. It makes the dough easier to work with later.
3. Portion it: after resting, I split the dough into four pieces. Cover the pieces you’re not working with.
4. roll it: flour your work surface heavily. If you’re used to working with bread dough, you’ll think it’s a ludicrous amount of flour. But that’s what you need.
I roll each piece out into a stretch that is as long as my big cutting board. This will take a lot of flour, some rolling, some flipping, some more flour, some more rolling, etc. Then, I roll it the other way to make that strip of pasta as fat as possible.
5. cut it: dust a goofy amount of flour on top of the pasta. Fold the pasta in half. Then fold the pasta in half again. For these noodles, I cut the pasta about 0.25″ thick.
6. fluff it: one the pasta is cut, you can try and do that thing on tv where they fluff the slices of pasta dough until it gently falls into long strips of noodles. This never works for me. The cutting process always makes the ends of the folded pasta stick to itself. So generally I find myself unfolding each individual noodle strand.
7. repeat it: do this three more times with the remaining pieces of dough.
8. boil it: once the noodles are done, add to a big ol’ pot of boiling water. It will only take about a minute or less to cook this pasta. It’s thin and it’s fresh, so it cooks almost instantly upon hitting the water.
9. eat it: I served this up with some summer vegetables; I sliced up 1 zucchini, 1 summer squash, 6 white button mushrooms, and 2 cloves garlic. These vegetables were sautéed in a little bit of olive oil. And once they were done, I added 1C of my sauce, which was a béchamel+about 0.25C of grated parmesan. To thin the sauce out a bit, I added a ladle of the pasta water and mixed.
This pasta turned out pretty good. I was surprised. Lately, my sauces have been less-than-great, but this one seemed to break the streak. It was creamy, it was cheesy, and because it was added to the sauté pan so that it could pick up some of the fond, it was nice and savory.
The pasta was good too, but it was inconsistent. The noodles that I made earlier on in the process were of a uniform thickness and width. The noodles that I made later on (as I got tired of the process) had varying thicknesses and widths. Some of the thicker ones reminded me of dumplings in a chicken-n-dumplings kind of way. And I could swear that some of those noodles even had a chicken flavor, which is quite impossible as the dish was vegetarian.
Overall, this dish was a nice next step in my pasta-making learning process. While it still needs work, it at least made for a decent meal.