A few days ago, I tripped on a root while running and sprained my ankle pretty badly, forcing me to cancel my trip to NYC and putting my running on hold for 6 weeks (!). I know I shouldn’t make such a big fuss about a sprain, but not being able to run, swim or bike seriously is gonna suck.
Anyways, today a friend took pity on my crippled state and came over to help me make some fresh tagliatelle for lunch. I broke out the hand-cranked pasta machine and we got down to business.
Making fresh pasta is actually really easy and something that can be done pretty regularly with a little practice and planning ahead. You just have to give yourself 30 minutes to let the dough rest and then the pasta takes no time at all. Check out this article to learn about the science behind the best fresh pasta: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/01/best-easy-all-purpose-fresh-pasta-dough-recipe-instructions.html
I used the recipe from that article for the pasta.
2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
2 whole eggs
Make the dough: Pour the flour in a mound on a surface and make a well in the center. Put the eggs, the yolks and the salt in the well and lightly beat together with a fork. Using your hands, incorporate the flour into the eggs until you get a rough ball of dough. You may need to add a bit of water to get it to come together.
Now, knead the dough for about 10 minutes by pushing the heel of your hand into the dough and rotating it. You want it to acquire a shiny appearance and an elastic texture, kind of like play-doh.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
While it rests, prepare your pasta machine if you have one, or get a rolling pin ready and sprinkle a surface with flour. Prepare whichever sauce you want to put on your pasta. I did a simple roasted red pepper sauce by roasting some peppers in the oven, then processing them with parmiggiano, basil, olive oil, and salt.
Now, make the tagliatelle: Cut the dough ball into four pieces and set one aside, leaving the rest in the plastic wrap. On the floured surface, roll out the piece of dough into a 1/2 inch thick oval. Pass the dough through the pasta machine 3 times on the widest setting. Narrow the setting one notch and pass the dough through 3 more times. Continue narrowing the setting and passing the dough through until you reach your desired thickness. For me it was perfect at the second-to-thinnest setting.
If you have a tagliatelle attachment, pass your dough through it and voila, tagliatelle! If you do not have the tagliatelle attachment, you can cut the tagliatelle by hand using a knife, or better, a little rolling cutter (like a mini pizza-cutter). Dust the tagliatelle with flour and coil them into little nests. Cover them with a kitchen towel until ready to cook.
Repeat the process with the other three pieces of dough.
When you are ready to cook them, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt the water, then boil the tagliatelle for about 2 minutes. Drain, dress, and serve! Serves 4-6
You can freeze any tagliatelle you do not need by placing them into a ziplock bag or by putting the nests on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and wrapping it with plastic wrap. They keep for about 3 weeks.