Our son, Zack and his girlfriend, Zoey were over the other evening for one of our regular movie watching, game playing, dinner nights. We feel very blessed that both of our boys are in loving relationships with young women whom we feel are well-suited to them, and Daniel and I really enjoy spending time with all of the kids as often as possible.
The Double Z’s, as I call them, have recently taken to preparing meals together, often calling for assistance from the mother ship, but increasingly pulling together impressive dinners using one of the new home recipe delivery companies.
My husband happened to have clipped a terrific looking pasta recipe from the newspaper that morning and we were both primed for an indulgent pasta dinner with the kids. Capitalizing on their newfound interest in the culinary arts, I thought it would be a fun and great way to balance out our day by making our own fettucine from scratch. I quickly watched an online video of none other than the master of all things Italian, Chef Mario Batali, demonstrating his technique. He made it look so simple, I knew we had to follow suit.
Happily, family members were on board and psyched for this new experience. The first thing to be done is to dump 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour onto your counter – really! Using your hand or a large spoon, make a well in the center of the flour and add 5 whole eggs (I used large grade).
The next step is to gradually whisk the eggs into the flour with a fork and using your other hand, slowly pushing the flour around the edges into the eggs to fully incorporate them.
Then we began the kneading process. This is where I got a little helping hand from Zoey, because Mario says to continue kneading the dough for 10 minutes.
We decided to drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil onto the dough while continuing to knead it because it seemed a tad dry and we wanted to add additional moisture to the dough as well as some richness to the flavor, both of which the oil accomplished nicely. By now the dough had taken on the lovely warm yellow color of the egg yolks and was nice and shiny from the added oil and kneading time. We wrapped it in plastic and left it on the counter to allow it to rest. (By allowing the glutens to rest for about half an hour, the dough will not resist and ‘snap back’ when you begin cutting and rolling.)
Unwrap the dough and cut into four equal parts. Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten a piece of the cut dough and feed it slowly thru a pasta roller attachment on your standing mixer if you have one, or a small hand-cranked roller on your counter. As you start out the rolling process, the roller should be set on the widest opening and gradually reduced with each pass thru of the dough. This will cause the dough to become thinner and longer. When you’ve attained the thickness and length you desire, change the setting to the shape of the pasta you’re planning to cook with – we chose fettucine. Here’s how we did it:
Because it is fresh pasta, you only need boil it for 1-3 minutes – honest! Crazy, huh?
….and our “Beauty Shot”….
What a fun evening we had together. If you’re not feeling confident enough to make your own pasta, choose something you feel you can do and share it with your family or friends. Creating together is fun, a little crazy at times, but always fulfilling. As you sit down together and share what you’ve made, life will feel very gratifying….and delicious!