Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another "Keeper" Recipe

Our local PBS station shows America's Test Kitchen on Saturday mornings.  Two weeks ago, they did a show about making pasta without a machine and shared the following recipe.  The show title was misleading since they did use a food processor to make the dough.  You can go to America's Test Kitchen and see a demonstration on how their staff modified a traditional noodle recipe to make these.

If you've ever made noodles, you know how stiff the dough mixture is.  It's hard to work with and roll out thinly.  Because of the added oil and extra egg yolks, this dough is a breeze to handle.

For dinner tonight, I cooked a chicken in the pressure cooker, deboned it, and saved the broth to cook these noodles.  They turned out so good that now I have another "keeper" recipe.  If you're watching your cholesterol, this isn't a recipe you'd want to eat several times a week since it has eight egg yolks!  But, the fat and emulsifiers in the yolks are what make these noodles so good.

On the broadcast, they said the noodles would cook in about 3 minutes.  I rolled mine out thicker and I let them cook over 10 before I'd have considered them al dente. The photo shows how transparent they should be when you've finished rolling them out.

Fresh Pasta Without a Machine

From America's Test Kitchen episode: Ultimate Italian.

Makes 1 pound; serves 4 to 6

If using a high-protein all-purpose flour like King Arthur brand, increase the amount of egg yolks to seven. The longer the dough rests in step 2 the easier it will be to roll out. When rolling out the dough, avoid adding too much flour, which may result in excessive snap back.
    2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
    2 large eggs plus 6 large yolks
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon salt
    1 recipe sauce (see related recipes)


    1. Process flour, eggs and yolks, and oil in food processor until mixture forms cohesive dough that feels soft and is barely tacky to touch, about 45 seconds. (If dough sticks to fingers, add up to 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until barely tacky. If dough doesn’t become cohesive, add up to 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until it just comes together; process 30 seconds longer.)

    2. Turn dough ball onto dry surface and knead until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Shape dough into 6-inch-long cylinder. Wrap with plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature to rest for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

    3. Cut cylinder crosswise into 6 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece of dough (rewrap remaining dough), dust both sides with flour, place cut side down on clean work surface, and press into 3-inch square. Using heavy rolling pin, roll into 6-inch square. Dust both sides of dough lightly with flour. Starting at center of square, roll dough away from you in 1 motion. Return rolling pin to center of dough and roll toward you in 1 motion. Repeat steps of rolling until dough sticks to counter and measures roughly 12 inches long. Lightly dust both sides of dough with flour and continue rolling dough until it measures roughly 20 inches long and 6 inches wide, frequently lifting dough to release it from counter. (You should be able to easily see outline of your fingers through dough.) If dough firmly sticks to counter and wrinkles when rolled out, dust dough lightly with flour.

    4. Transfer pasta sheet to kitchen towel and let stand, uncovered, until firm around edges, about 15 minutes; meanwhile, roll out remaining dough. Starting with 1 short end, gently fold pasta sheet at 2-inch intervals until sheet has been folded into flat, rectangular roll. With sharp chef’s knife, slice crosswise into 3/16-inch-thick noodles. Use fingers to unfurl pasta and transfer to baking sheet. Repeat folding and cutting remaining sheets of dough. Cook noodles within 1 hour.

    5. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven. Add salt and pasta and cook until tender but still al dente, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta and toss with sauce; serve immediately.

    To Make Ahead: Follow recipe through step 4, transfer baking sheet of pasta to freezer, and freeze until pasta is firm. Transfer to zipper-lock bag and store for up to 2 weeks. Cook frozen pasta straight from freezer as directed in step 5.

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