PASTA DOUGH, "Pasta Detente"
Because Bob was raised in a Jewish/Italian household we think he has been conflicted over pasta! His mom’s pasta (the Jewish side) always included eggs and all purpose flour, and his grandmother on his dad’s side was semolina flour and only water, and maybe alittle EVOO. Nowadays, his recipe represents both sides of he family. We call it “Pasta Detente.”
Regardless, our guests continue to validate that it is a great tasting pasta.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4-whole eggs
- Semolina flour or rice flour to prevent sticking before they are cooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or omit 1 egg and replace with 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Each egg can also be replaced with 2 Tablespoons water, if egg free pasta is desired
Blend flours into a large bowl with salt; mix to combine. Create a well in the center and add eggs; using a fork break yolks and scramble slightly; then slowly begin to add flour to incorporate working to make all the flour wet. As you work the mixture will begin to come together as a dough. Discard any really dried pieces. Remove mixture to clean floured surface and knead 2-3 minutes or until dough is elastic and slightly tacky. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Remove rested dough to floured surface. Divide dough into 6 pieces. Flatten each piece to fit into the pasta machine. At the widest setting, pass the lightly floured piece through machine. Lightly flour and move machine setting to 2 and once again pass dough through the machine. If dough is slightly tacky, lightly flour and pass through setting 4. Jump to setting 6. This is the setting we use for fettuccini. But for ravioli, go all the way to your last setting on the machine, #8 or #9. As you might imagine, the dough will be getting longer and longer. It is important that you have plenty of table space to lay it flat as it grows.
Forming ravioli: have your filling ready. This amount of dough (all six dough balls) makes about 40 small ravioli and 24 large ravioli. Or, use what you want, and freeze the other dough balls up to 3 months. Again for ravioli you want the thinnest dough since you are putting two halves together. So, when dough is as thin as it gets through the machine, you will be able to see your hand through it and it will be very long, up to 3-4 feet, of dough.
Place this piece flat and cut length in half, so now you have two pieces about two feet long. Brush only one half (bottom half) with water; then place 1 teaspoon filling leaving 1” between each ravioli for small ones or 1 tablespoon of filling every 2″ for larger ravioli. Hint-to make them evenly spaced, use a round cutter about the width of the ravioli you are making and make a slight indentation in the dough without cutting, so you where to place the filling.
Place the other half of pasta dough over the filled side and carefully work the dough around the filling being careful to press out the air pockets. Using a round biscuit cutter or ravioli cutter, cut individual raviolis. Place on a semolina floured tray for service.
To cook ravioli: For every 1 gallon water add 2-3 tablespoons salt and bring to boil. We usually start with 2-3 gallons per batch. Add ravioli and wait till it comes back to boil and time 2-3 minutes; remove one and pinch noodle to test doneness. It should be soft but firm. Remove to holding dish; carefully blot off water before placing onto plate. Sauce as desired.
To form fettuccini: On the pasta machine, you can go to # 6 before ready to cut. If cutting by hand, lay dough flat onto surface and generously flour as you fold the dough in half, flour, half again, flour and half again. Gently place dough on floured surface and cut into noodles, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch widths. Immediately separate into long strand of noodles and keep well dusted with flour until cooking.
When using a fettuccini attachment on the machine, place long piece of dough and crank through the attachment, catching the cut strands on the other side. Dust bunches of fettuccini with semolini until you are ready to cook.
To cook fettuccini: bring 1-3 gallons water to boil with 2-3 tablespoons salt per gallon. Drop in the pasta, stirring to make sure all strands of pasta are separate. Time for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes before testing. Remove a strand. Carefully test by biting into it. The pasta should not be raw in the center but when cooked still firm. Toss with olive oil and add your favorite sauce.
Chef’s notes: By using lots of salt in the water, you do not need to salt the pasta after cooking. Do not put oil into the boiling water because it will be the first thing out when draining the pasta. Do not rinse the pasta after draining. Simply tossing with olive oil should keep the pasta from sticking together and you will have great flavor.
Forming Spaghettini: When dough is ready place the spaghetti attachment on the machine. Put through the thinnest or next to thinnest setting, as you desire. Flour well in small batches onto cookie sheet until all finished. Allow to dry at room temperature about 1 hour at least before using so that it dries out a bit. This will help keep it from cooking too quickly. As it is it will be very quick.
To cook spaghettini: Drop into boiling salted water. (cut back on salt in the water if using with puttanesca sauce, which is naturally salty. Drop in for less than 3 minutes to make “al dente.” Remove to bowl and dress immediately with EVOO or sauce you are using.