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Location: Petaluma, California, United States

Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cucina de Jacqueline - Pasta Dough

My friend Annie has a pasta attachment for her Kitchenaid stand mixer that she has never used and wanted to learn how to make homemade pasta, so Laura (another friend) and I held a pasta making class last night at my place. We consulted several pasta making recipes and finally combined several to create the dough. Our recipe is below.

Laura had made a luscious wild mushroom sauce (sugo al fungi) that brought our fettuccini to life. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Annie prepared a green salad with deep red beets and a variety of greens and heirloom tomatoes, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. I supplied a special bottle of Cline Cellars Tasting Room Staff’s Merlot. The tasting room staff made the wine a couple of years ago and it is pretty good, if I do say so myself! Desert was a nectarine cake baked by Laura. It was a delicious feast!

Homemade Pasta


3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour*
4 extra-large eggs – room temperature
1-teaspoon water - or a little bit more if the dough is very dry

*Note: Marcella Hazan, the famous Italian cookbook author, says unbleached all-purpose is fine; she also says that semolina flour is appropriate only for factory-made pasta and will frustrate you at home.

Marcella advises you to mix the dough on a flat work surface by building a mountain of flour, making a crater in its peak, dumping the eggs into the crater, and mixing them gradually with the flour. This method hasn’t worked very well for me because somehow the eggs always seem to run out of the crater.

Alternative method: crack eggs into your food processor. Pulse until well mixed. Add flour and water all at once and pulse several times until eggs and flour are well incorporated. Take lid off processor and pinch dough with your fingers. If it sticks together it is ready. If not add ½ teaspoon of water and pulse several times.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and begin kneading. Knead for approximately 8 minutes. Dough should be silky smooth and slightly sticky.

Cover with a tea towel and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Now it’s time to roll out the pasta. Cut the dough into approximately six equal parts and spread out clean, dry dishtowels or a tablecloth, for the pasta to rest on. Dust lightly with flour. Begin by putting each lump of dough through the widest setting on the pasta machine. Fold it into thirds like an envelope and feed the narrow end through the widest setting again. Repeat 2 or 3 times. Decrease the roller width a notch and put it through again. Continue to decrease the rollers’ thickness until the dough is quite thin—thin enough to see the pattern of the tablecloth through the pasta strips. The gradual progression from thicker to thinner is, Hazan says, one of the things that make homemade pasta so good, so don’t try to speed things up by skipping some of the intermediate thicknesses.

Let the sheets of pasta dry for at least 10 minutes, turning them over from time to time. The pasta is ready to cut when it no longer sticks to itself but is not yet so dry that it cracks.

There are two choices of cutters with my Kitchenaid pasta maker: fettuccini and spaghetti. We used the fettuccini attachment.

Insert the sheets of pasta dough into the cutter and gently catch the strands as they come out. Place on a lightly floured sheet pan. Toss gently with flour and create small “bird nests” with each sheet.

Cook the pasta in lots of boiling *salted water for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes, until it is al dente. Drain and toss immediately with the hot sauce and/or butter

*There is no salt in the pasta dough so salting the water is an important step.