This week on the show, Evan talks with Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, who run the cooking and writing getaway Canal House in Delaware.
They shared their method for making fresh pasta dough. Use it in their Cannelloni recipe, or in other Italian meals. You will need a hand-crank pasta machine.
Find the pasta dough instructions after the jump. They come from Hamilton and Hirsheimer’s new book, Canal House Cooks Every Day.
(Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer’s Canal House Cooks Every Day, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012)
Makes 1 pound (enough to serve 4)
2 cups “00” or unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
4 large eggs
Large pinch of salt
Put the flour into a medium mixing bowl and make a well in the center of the mound. Add the eggs and salt to the well and beat with a fork.
Continue gently beating the eggs while gradually stirring in the flour, little by little, from the inside rim of the well.
When the dough is too lumpy to work with the fork, use your hand and knead in the remaining flour and form a rough ball.
Transfer the ball of dough to a lightly floured work surface. With clean dry hands, knead the dough, dusting it with flour as you work, until it becomes a smooth supple ball and is no longer tacky. Press your thumb into the center of the dough; if the center feels tacky, knead in a little more flour. Cover the dough with an inverted bowl or wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours.
Cut the dough into eighths and keep it covered until ready to use. Working with one piece of dough at a time, flatten the dough a bit into a rectangle, then feed the narrow end through the smooth cylinders of a hand-crank pasta machine set on the widest setting.
Do this two or three times to make the dough uniform. Decrease the setting on the machine by one notch and feed the narrow end of the dough through the cylinders again. Repeat this process, decreasing the setting by one notch each time.
Roll the pasta as thin as you like. We find the thinness of the sheets of pasta rolled through all but the last notch to be the most versatile.
Lay the sheets of pasta out on a lightly floured surface and cover with clean, damp kitchen towels to keep them from drying out until you’re ready to cut them.
Just rolled-out sheets of pasta are satiny smooth and soft—perfect for creating a good seal when making stuffed pasta like ravioli. To cut long strands for pappardelle or tagliatelle, you must first let the sheets dry, but only until they are slightly stiff yet still completely pliable. For pappardelle, use a fluted pastry wheel to cut ribbons for pappardelle ¾ to 1 inch wide. To make ¼-inch-wide strands for tagliatelle, run the sheet through the appropriate cutters of your pasta machine’s attachment. Or, loosely roll up a sheet crosswise; cut crosswise into ¼-inch-wide strands, and unfurl.