Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Recipe Time: Homemade Pasta


Photo: My homemade pasta drying on clean towels over our wooden clothes dryer.

The other day I was reading the
Chris' hilarious Health Questions and Answers Session. Well, tht got me to musing about indulging in some decadently rich foods. The more I thought about it, the more I looked forward to making homemade Fettucini Alfredo for my family. Keep in mind that all we usually eat is healthy, good-for-you meals.

So if you don't mind, I'd like to share a few recipes for you. One is for the unhealthy but so so delicious Alfredo Sauce and the other for the more healthy Pesto Sauce.

First is the PASTA. This recipe is for approximately 1 1/2 lbs. of homemade pasta.

Approximately 3 cups flour
4 eggs
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. lukewarm water

You are probably familiar with making a pile of flour and making a well for your wet ingredients but I prefer to do it the following way:

In a large bowl, place all your wet ingredients and gradually work in your flour. First stir it with a wooden spoon. When you can no longer stir it easily, work in the flour with your hands. Knead the dough either in the bowl, like I prefer to do, or on a clean floured surface. Knead it until the dough is satiny-looking and smooth. This will take approximately 8-10 minutes.

Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and let sit for 15 minutes. You can divide the dough at this point into amounts big enough to roll out comfortably on your counter or work space.

Dust your clean work space with flour and start rolling out the dough as thin as possible. It has to be evenly rolled out otherwise parts of your cooked pasta will be tough.

Roll each section into a jellyroll-type roll and with a sharp knife, cut the pasta in to thick strips. For fettucini it should be approximately 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Unroll and either lay on a flat surface with a towel or paper toweling on it or drape them like I did. See photo above.

Let dry.

When cooking, do not over cook. It will only take 2 to 3 minutes to cook fresh pasta so be careful.


FETTUCINI ALFREDO

1 stick of butter softened
1 half pint of heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Fresh snipped parsley
cook bay shrimps or cooked crab meat.

In the bowl you will be serving your pasta in, place softened butter. Add heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. If you are using salted butter, you may not have to add any additional salt. Remember the cheese will also be salty. Add the parmesan cheese. Mix by hand until well blended and add your cooked pasta from the above recipe. Toss and serve immediately.

PESTO

2 cups washed and dried fresh sweet basil leaves, tightly packed
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts. (I prefer to use walnuts)
3 large cloves of peeled garlic
1 tsp salt or to taste

In a food processor or blender, blend all the ingredients until smooth. If it is too thick, add a little (few tablespoons of the pasta liquid).

This should be enough for one pound of pasta or you can probably stretch it for the whole 1 1/2 of the pasta you will be making. Be careful not to add too much pasta as you want to have the pasta covered evenly and plenty on the pasta.

Enjoy.