Monday, May 5, 2014

Homemade Fettuccine

The very first time I made pasta was on a whim.  I had the ingredients.  I had the time.  I had the enthusiasm.  I did not have the equipment.

It was half a disaster.  I made spinach linguine and it tasted good.  Kneaded by hand, rolled by hand (technically: rolled by wine bottle [hey, you use what you've got...]) and cut by hand.  So far so good.  But I almost wish I had a photo so you could see the embarrassingly uneven strands of linguine I made.  We're talking widths ranging from half a spaghetti noodle to half a lasagna noodle.  Shameful.  Let's move on.

For Valentine's day last year, I was thrilled when my husband bought me the pasta roller attachments for my Kitchenaid Mixer.  Turns out, the right tools can make a world of difference.

With my next attempt, I made spaghetti and actually this time it was a full disaster.  Yes, yes, I had the right tools, but it turns out a good recipe is also a crucial part of success.  The dough was sticking to everything and jamming the dough cutter attachment.  Rolling and cutting that pasta took so long and was such a headache.  I needed help.

I begged my little facebook community for a good pasta recipe and a family friend came to the rescue.  Amy (Hi Amy!) was kind enough to share her recipes for fettuccine AND ravioli with me.  All subsequent pasta attempts have been both successful and (dare I say it?) fun.

I've used this recipe so many times, making pasta for myself, making it with Doug and helping out various friends who think I'm being nice when I let them use the roller attachment.  (I'm really just in it for the couple of ravioli they throw my way at the end!  Thank you guys!)

As with most projects, you'll probably start out with a reasonable level of enthusiasm for this awesome thing you'll be creating.  Take advantage of this feeling.  Bask in the joy of creation.  Sing 'That's Amore' and 'Mambo Italiano' at the top of your lungs.  In about two minutes, after you've only sung along with Rosemary Clooney for the chorus (because does anyone really know any of the other words?), you should stop singing.  Your dog/cat/roommate/husband/neighbor is not amused.

...oh wait... that's just my husband...

Carry on.

I would totally advise on splurging for the semolina or "00" flour.  The 'specialty' flour makes a difference in the softness of your final product.  I've also used whole wheat pastry flour which worked fine, but made my dough a little more challenging to work with and resulted in a coarser textured pasta.

Also, It's worth it to make this whole recipe.  It's a lot of pasta, but the stuff freezes really well.  After it hangs for a short while I separate the pasta into serving-size portions and swirl each portion around two fingers to create little nests.  If your noodles stick together a little bit at this point, toss them with a bit more flour and don't worry, they will come apart when you cook them.  I put the nests in a gallon-size ziplock bag, date it and toss it in the freezer to enjoy later.

Fettucine (from the kitchen of Amy Fischer)
8 servings
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina or "00" flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • A pinch of salt
Sift both flours into a mound on a large work surface and make a well in the middle.  Make sure you have strong walls and enough room in your well for all 6 eggs.  Crack the eggs into the center and break the yolks with a fork.  Add the oil and salt.  Gradually whisk the wet ingredients into the flour until combined.

Separate the dough into two equal portions and knead each piece separately about 4-5 minutes.  (This can be done by hand or in a stand mixer with a dough hook.)  Roll each piece into a ball, flatten slightly and wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.  When you take it out, the dough is going to feel pretty hard.  This is good.  

If you have a pasta roller, go to 1.  If you are rolling by hand, go to 2.
  1. Break off a manageable piece of dough.  (If it's your first time, start with something the size of a woman's fist.  From there you can take more or less dough depending on how much you're comfortable working with at a time.)  Flatten the dough slightly, dust it with a bit of flour and run it through the widest setting on your pasta roller twice, folding it in half before feeding it through the second time.  Dust it with more flour if you feel any stickiness.  Continue to run the dough through the roller until you're at the last setting (I go to 6 on the KitchenAid attachment).  Using your pasta cutter attachment, cut the dough.  Dust with semolina and hang it on your drying rack.  Repeat with the other ball of dough.
  2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and dust the top with flour.  Starting in the middle, push away from you with the rolling pin, ease the pressure as you approach the edge.  Continue rolling the dough into a sheet, turning occasionally, until you can see your fingers through it.  Let dry about 10 minutes.  Dust the top with a little more flour and roll into a loose cylinder.  Using a knife, cut the dough to desired widths.  Unwrap the noodles, dust with semolina and hang it on your drying rack.  Repeat with the other ball of dough.
Cook the pasta until al dente, approximately 7 minutes.

At this point, you can freeze the unused pasta. 

Build a strong-walled well!


  1. I'd say the "wine bottle roller" is the cause of the uneven strands. Especially when it starts full and ends empty.


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