Monday, September 26, 2011

Fettuccine Pasta from Scratch

Cooking for one doesn't have to mean that I'm stuck eating pb&j sandwiches and bowls of cereal. With Jim traveling for work I thought it was a good time to give homemade pasta making a second try. You can read about my first pasta making experience here, which was actually for my parents...Jim didn't get to try that either. For this meal I tossed homemade fettuccine with slivered Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, parmesan and cream. Dinner took me about an hour and a half to assemble but it was the most fun 90 minutes that I spent with myself in the kitchen.

I did it. I finally broke down and bought myself the KitchenAid 3-piece pasta roller and cutter set.

The adjustable roller lets you work the dough through the press until its so thin it's practically transparent. There is also a spaghetti cutter and a fettuccine cutter in the pasta kit.

There are many recipes for pasta dough - various ratios and all types of flours. For this batch of homemade fettuccine I sifted one cup of all purpose flour into my mixing bowl along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
Making a well in the center of the flour, I cracked two eggs.

Using the paddle attachment, turn speed to 2 and mix for 30 seconds.

Next, exchange the paddle for the dough hook.
Mix on speed 2 for two minutes. After kneading for two minutes in the mixer the dough will form a ball around the dough hook.

Remove the dough to a floured surface and knead by hand for 1 - 2 minutes.
The ball of dough will become smoother, wrap in plastic wrap and set under a bowl to rest for 15-30 minutes.
And THIS is the second item I purchased at Williams-Sonoma. It's a 3 QT All-Clad Pan Roaster. I cracked up when I opened the box, and the pan was wrapped in a silk bag. Ha!
Isn't she beautiful?

And what an inaugural meal to break her in with!
I didn't quite use an entire bag of Brussels sprouts, but lopped the bottoms off and removed any outer leaves that were wilted.
Here are my ingredients for my entree: the Brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, fresh garlic, butter, chicken bouillon, parmesan cheese, cream and St. Francis chardonnay. Not pictured is a chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper.
To sliver the Brussels sprouts I used the slicer disk on my cuisinart food processor.
This shreds the small cabbage quickly and uniformly.
Since the caramelized onions were already done, I have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go.
Before I start the next step I go ahead and open the wine. This St. Francis chardonnay will bring the right amount of lemon flavor and acid I need to balance out the creamy sauce for the pasta. If you want to be like me, pour yourself a glass to sip on while you prepare dinner.
Now that the dough has rested for enough time I unwrap it and work on a floured surface.
Because it's impossible to work with a big hunk of dough at one time I cut this in half. If I had made more pasta dough I might have even cut the ball into quarters.
Before I even start pressing it through the machine I flatten it by hand and stretch it into a rectangle shape.
With the pasta roller attached to my KitchenAid and the thickness knob set to the largest setting I start the speed at 2 and feed the dough through the press.

Fold the dough over onto itself and flour as needed to keep the dough from becoming too sticky.
The goal is to work the dough through each setting a couple of times until it is smooth and pliable.
Repeat folding and kneading, reducing the thickness of the pasta roller as you go.
Thinnest! Before I sent this through the cutter I took my chefs knife and cut this into two smaller pieces.

I tried cutting at several speeds and learned that as long as the dough is well floured, it works best at a speed of 2. See Cole there in the background watching me make pasta?
Lay the cut fettuccine on a floured surface. I used my baking sheets for this.
Separate the noodles by hand.

Repeat until all the dough has been pressed and sent through the cutter. Because I was using the pasta right away I just left them on the tray to dry out while I assembled the rest of my dinner.

In my new pan I added a touch of olive oil and a touch of butter, and sauteed a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Because this pan is NOT Teflon, I was able to get a great deal of lovely bits of flavor stuck to the bottom of the pan! Yippee!!

Next I added the onions that were already caramelized and 1/4 cup of chardonnay. The wine steams and bubbles, giving me the perfect opportunity to grab a wooden spoon and scrape the bits of flavor off the bottom of the pan.

I also added 1/2 cup of chicken stock and let the mixture reduce together before removing to a plate.

I simply moved the onions to the plate where my chicken was also resting.

Without cleaning out the pan, I added a pat of butter.

Then threw in the slivered Brussels sprouts in one layer to sear.

I didn't touch the Brussels sprouts for about a minute so they would get dark and crispy on one side. Then I added back the caramelized onions and any juices from the plate.

Because I'm naughty I added about 1/4 cup of cream.

Then I threw in a small handful of parmesan cheese. I turned the heat to low and covered while I cooked the pasta.

Fresh pasta is really something else - in a category all it's own! Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil and drop in the fresh pasta. It will cook in as little as two minutes. It doesn't take long at all.

As soon as pasta is ready, add it to your Brussels sprout mixture.

Toss together to coat the noodles and throw in more parmesan cheese too!

I served the sliced chicken on top of the fettuccine pasta. OMG, caramelized onions, caramelized Brussels sprouts, creamy parmesan! The flavors were explosive.

In other news, Jim comes home TONIGHT and I couldn't be more excited. We found out his request for vacation was granted on Friday so I've been jumping up and down all weekend in anticipation of his return.

This dinner was so heavenly that I will surely make it again for Jim. I know he's missed my home cooking so I will definitely wow him with homemade pasta, there really is nothing like it. I hope you give it a try!

1 comment:

  1. that looks WONDERFUL! I bet it was just delicious! I need to start making my own pasta!


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