Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hand-cut pappardelle

They only look special.

Fact is, there isn't all that much to making really nice pappardelle. All you need is a good pasta dough and a little patience. To wit...

Most fresh pasta recipes call for all-purpose flour, which I'm sure is just fine, but I've been using "00" flour for a long time and it's always worked well for me.

There's nothing wrong with using regular supermarket eggs either. But when making pasta I always use the freshest eggs I can get my hands on. These are from a farm just a few miles from my house.

Tools? You'll need a fork and a pastry cutter.

Okay, now find yourself a surface that gives you room to work without feeling cramped. I just use the stone countertop in my kitchen but a big cutting board will do just fine. Take 3 cups of flour and, using your fingers, create a well in the center.

Add three whole eggs, three egg yolks, plus around three-quarters of a teaspoon of kosher salt.

Then add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.

Use the fork to mix it all together.

Using your fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mix. Don't rush it; just gradually, and in a circular motion, bring the flour into the egg a little at a time.

When a dough just starts to form put away the fork and grab the pastry cutter.

Using the cutter gradually incorporate the remaining flour into the wet mix. There's no need to be delicate about this. Just scrape the flour in from the sides and cut it right in.

At this stage you're ready to work the dough with your hands.

Pasta dough isn't like pastry dough and so you don't need to worry about being delicate with it. Just keep working it until the egg and flour are fully incorporated.

Whe a nice dough ball forms scrape away any remaining flour from your work surface with the pastry cutter. On the clean surface keep working the dough until it's nice and smooth. If the dough feels too wet dust the surface with a little flour and incorporate it into the dough ball. The dough shouldn't feel sticky when you touch it, but it shouldn't be dry either. Again, don't worry about being delicate. You could work pasta dough all night long and not mess it up.

When you're through working the dough wrap it in a plastic bag and let it rest. Most people allow the dough to sit at room temperature for a few hours before making their pasta, which is fine. However, I prefer to make my dough a whole day in advance and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

I also take the bag out a couple times and massage the dough while it's in the plastic bag, even flattening it down. I do this because the dough becomes smoother and silkier, as it allows the humidity to become more evenly distributed throughout the dough. The next day I make sure to take the dough out of the fridge and let it to come up to room temperature before making my pasta.

I've got a restaurant-grade electric pasta machine and so the sheets I produce can be pretty nice. But don't let that intimidate you. A sheet of pasta is a sheet of pasta. As long as the dough is made well you'll be in good shape, no matter what machine you use. Sometimes I don't even use a machine, opting for hand-rolling instead. As for thickness with pappardelle, I run the sheets just under the No. 2 setting on my pasta maker. This will make for a slightly thick noodle, so adjust as you like.

No matter which rolling method you use, the idea is to wind up with pasta sheets like this. The sheets don't come out of the machine looking this perfect; just square the edges using a cutter or a knife. The length of the sheet should be as long as you'd like the noodle to be. This sheet is around 9 inches long.

Roll the sheet like so, but make sure to do it very gently.

Then take a very sharp knife and cut the roll into pieces the width of the noodle you want. These are a little under an inch wide.

Once the entire roll is cut immediately unroll each individual noodle and place on a pan or baking sheet covered with course semolina flour.

The pappardelle can rest this way until you're ready to cook them. Cooking time will vary depending on how thick you've rolled out the sheets, but these only took 2 minutes.

See? Nothing to it!


Patrick said...

I'm inspired, thanks!

Karen said...

Your pasta came out great. I've only tried to made pasta (ravioli) once to mixed results. It was a lot of fun though! I might have to try it again. Your instructions are excellent.

Weekends in Maine

kennebunksgossip said...

Great Info! I look forward to your blog...too few....please do more of them!

Anonymous said...

What type of pasta machine do you use? Brand/model? Your pappardelle looks amazing and those even sheets of pasta are beautiful!

Mister Meatball said...

I use an electric Imperia machine that's restaurant-quality. I believe the model is 220.