In continuing my cooking fun with Greg of Sippity Sup (part 1 here), he told me that he had never made his own pasta. The truth is that most people, even great cooks and chefs have not made their own pasta.
But, on a Sunday, we were planning a meal together and because he was so generous in giving me some hands on photography tips, I wanted to offer something back in return.
I had this crazy idea to simply show him my technique in mixing flour and eggs and I thought it wouldn’t roll out thin enough and we would toss it, only sacrificing a cup of flour and 2 eggs. So, just for fun, I showed him a fresh tarragon pasta, and then attempted to roll it out. It worked and although not a beautifully cut pasta, it was good enough for dinner, and three of us ate every bite.
We began the day by walking to the farmer’s market. I wanted to add something signature Spinach Tiger to our meal, and the fresh English peas found their way into my bag.
Along with fresh english peas, we selected chanterelle mushrooms and I grabbed a big bunch of tarragon and a bag of baby, cippolini onions.
My menu was set. Basil meatballs set on a bed of fresh peas with tarragon and roasted cippolini onions, which will be posted next in Cooking with Sippity Sup, part 3. Greg decided if the pasta turned out, we would top it with those chanterelles, which he prepared with butter, olive oil and vermouth.
I have made pasta many times with my atlas hand-crank machine and have only recently graduated to using a kitchen aid. This would be a challenge. To my surprise, I was able to roll it out. Warning: It’s not always this easy.
- Many pasta recipes start with way too much flour. It’s much easier to add in more flour. If a pasta dough gets too dry, there is no saving it.
- No flour is alike. Most of the time, an all-purpose unbleached flour works well. This should yield a tender pasta that when cooked properly has a bite to it. I do use semolina flour at times, but I wouldn’t recommend that for hand rolling.
- No eggs are alike or are the same size. Even a slight difference in weight makes a difference in how much flour to add. Use large eggs for this recipe, if you are going to hand-roll.
The issue with cutting papparadelle is drying it for about 15 minutes prior to cutting it. If not dried enough, it will be sticky; if dried too much, it will be brittle. I followed my usual technique rolling a sheet and cutting in pinwheel style.
The next challenge was to dry it without a pasta rack, but that is what dish washer handles are for.
There is another way to dry papparadelle. You can nest it, but it must be dry enough to do this, or it will stick together.
When I returned home to Nashville, I remade the dish and used my hand-crank Atlas. I honestly think there was not much difference between the machine and hand-rolled pasta. This is good news to those wanting to try to make pasta before investing in a machine or kitchen aid attachment.
The one on the left was rolled by hand in Hollywood and the one on the right was made with a machine in Nashville.
Stay tuned for the meatballs filled with sheep’s ricotta over fresh peas.
I was anxious as to how this pasta would turn out. It ended up being delicious and there wasn’t a bite left.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus up to ¼ more flour to add in, if necessary
- 1 handful fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- pinch salt
- 2 large eggs, cracked and in a small bowl
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup shallots, finely diced
- 2 cups chanterelle mushrooms (as many as you can afford)
- 2 tablespoons dry vermouth
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon minced tarragon
- Mix flour with herbs and salt. Make well. Add in one egg and using a fork and holding sides of flour, incorporate. Add second egg. This is where good judgment comes in. If the pasta dough seems too wet, add in a little flour a tablespoon at a time. Knead dough for about five minutes. Pasta dough cannot be overworked. You are stretching the gluten and you want to end with a fairly smooth ball. Wrap in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes. This is a critical step, especially if you are going to roll out by hand.
- Once dough is resting, clean area, flour hands, cut dough in half and roll out into a rectangle. I rolled the whole piece out, but it’s more manageable in two pieces. Cut into strips, allow to dry for about 20 minutes. Then roll and cut like pinwheels. Unwrap, cut and dry. Cook as you would for any other pasta for about 5-6 minutes if dried, 2-3 minutes if not dried.
- Rub mushrooms clean with paper towel. Slice in half or into bite sized pieces.
- Heat olive oil and butter with shallots until shallots are softened.
- Add mushrooms, cook for a few minutes.
- Add vermouth and cream, cook on low for a few minutes.
- Add tarragon.
- Cook Pasta until nearly done. Add pasta to sauce and finish cooking in sauce.