the appetizer:

Bottega Favorita by Frank Stitt, presents Italian-American recipes like Pasta Dough; Crespelle; and Lamb Spiedini with Sicilian Couscous and Yogurt Sauce.

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Pasta Dough

Makes 12 ounces dough

Pasta Dough


Making pasta forces you to rely on your senses, especially touch. The goal is a smooth, elastic, slightly tacky dough. Factors like humidity and egg size are variable, so you may get a different result each time. As with anything else, with practice you'll learn to make the necessary adjustments, such as adding more or less flour, to yield perfect results. Here I provide both a hand and mixer method for making the dough.

Fresh pasta keeps from 1 to 2 hours in the refrigerator covered with a damp towel; after that, it oxidizes, darkening in color, and gets tough. If you don't plan to cook it right away, freeze it on a baking sheet in a single layer until firm, then transfer to freezer bags. When ready to cook, drop it into boiling salted water right from the freezer—do not defrost.

To make the dough by hand, mix the flour and salt and mound on a work surface. Make a well in the center, like the crater of a volcano. Place the egg yolks in the well and, using a fork, mix them together. Start gradually bringing in a little flour from the sides, then continue adding the flour bit by bit until the dough comes together and all the flour has been incorporated. Knead the dough, flouring the work surface as necessary, until it is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes; it will be a bit sticky. Shape it into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

To make the dough in a mixer, combine the eggs and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook and beat to break up the eggs. Gradually add the flour and mix until the dough just pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should still be a bit tacky to the touch. Do not overmix the dough, or it will become tough. Press the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with a towel or plastic wrap. Sprinkle a portion of dough with a light dusting of flour, then pass it through a pasta machine at its widest setting. Lay the ribbon of dough on your floured surface and fold it in half, so that the ends meet, and pass it through the same setting a second time. Adjust your pasta machine down a setting and pass the sheet of pasta through. Fold it in half again and pass it through the same setting a second time. Continue in the same fashion until you have passed the sheet of pasta through the thinnest setting twice. When the dough sheet becomes too long to handle, cut it into manageable lengths. Transfer each finished sheet to a lightly dusted work surface and keep covered with a slightly dampened towel to keep the pasta from drying out while you roll out the remaining dough.

The pasta is ready to use. See recipe for Crespelle.


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This page created March 2009