Homemade fettuccine in the Widgeon II
Hearing the word homemade followed by something you’ve only ever thought you would buy can be daunting. I’ve made homemade pasta once in my life as part of a ‘culinary boot camp’ my parents put me in one summer as a kid. In the class, we learned knife skills and basic cooking repertoire. Of all the things we did that week, making pasta seemed to be the most time consuming and tedious task of them all.
Flash forward a decade later in the Widgeon II, a remote cooking school in Kachemak Bay, I’m assembled with a small team consisting of a fellow writer and a gifted cook. Tasked to work with the ingredients at hand, we are inspired to make pesto and the idea of pasta soon follows. Investigating to see if fettuccine was available, we were greeted without pasta, but with a clunky metal machine that I spent numerous afternoons avoiding as a kid. The ominous crank wasn’t enough to deter my hunger. I turned the crank and helped to feed the pasta through. Shocked at how little time it took to make such a small amount of flour go so far, I was having a revelation. Maybe making pasta isn’t as annoying as I thought? Maybe everything seems to take hours as an 11-year-old? When the water was boiled and the pasta was done I tasted for doneness and it clicked: The kneading, feeding, and cranking was worth it for the delicate, melt-in-your-mouth, almost buttery consistency of the pasta. It creates a taste you can’t buy from a store.
Time: 1 hour
Yield: 6 – 8 servings
2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon of kosher salt
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1. In a large mixing bowl, incorporate 2 cups of flour and salt. Create a well in the center of the flour.
2. Place the olive oil, egg yolks and the egg into the well and with two fingers whisk the eggs into the flour until a tacky dough is formed.
3. Knead the dough for about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside and cover with plastic. Allow to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes.
4. While dough is resting, set up pasta roller and cutter per manufacturer’s instructions.
5. After the dough has rested, cut into even thirds. Set two pieces of dough aside, keeping them covered, and work with the first third by flattening the leading edge until it is about ½ inch in thickness.
6. Feed the flattened dough through the pasta roller on the widest setting. Once the dough has been fed through, take the stretched dough and fold into thirds. Dust the pasta dough with flour if tacky.
7. Repeat step 6 ten times, folding the pasta into thirds each time, creating layers.
8. Once the layers are created, proceed to thinning and stretching the pasta dough. Reducing the width of the rollers each pass through until you have reduced the width 8 times. Dust the dough with flour as needed.
9. Add the pasta cutter attachment to the pasta making machine per manufacturer’s instructions. With the widest pasta cutter setting or the fettuccine setting, feed the pasta sheet through the cutter. Once pasta has been cut, dust liberally with flour and form the pasta into a small nest, set aside and cover with plastic.
10. Follow steps 5 – 9 with the other two pasta dough thirds.
Directions to cook pasta:
1. Fill a large deep pot with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil.
2. Once the water has been brought to a boil, toss in 3 to 4 tablespoons of salt.
3. Shake the remaining flour off the pasta before placing the pasta into the boiling water. Sir the pasta until the water has returned to a boil, and allow to cook until desired doneness, approximately 2 to 4 minutes.
4. Once pasta has reached desired doneness, reserve a cup of the cooking water for creating a sauce. Drain the remaining water and serve.