I am very thankful to all the teachers, chefs and food lovers who have shown me how to become a better cook and have helped expand my perspective on the culture and ecology of food. On a recent visit to Tuscany, I learned to make fresh pasta from Amanda Cohen, owner and chef of Dirt Candy, a vegetable restaurant in Manhattan. I was grateful for the experience to be part of her kitchen crew, affectionately called her “A team,” who helped Amanda prepare dinner for 30. I can’t get that out of my head. I bought a pasta machine (a popular one made in Italy) as soon as I got home and I made fresh pasta for Thanksgiving, as an appetizer.
We made fettuccine, following the instruction booklet of the new Marcato Atlas pasta machine. (See link below for detail.) Basic recipe for the pasta dough is approximately 100 grams of all-purpose flour to one egg, or 500 grams of flour to 5 eggs, which serves six people. Added some cuttlefish ink, suggested by my daughter, we made a squid ink fettuccine by rolling the dough to the thickness setting no. 5 on the machine. It was much easier than I’d expected. That would be true also for those of you who are familiar with making bread dough. If the dough is too dry, add some water. If it is too soft, add some flour. You aim for a smooth and elastic dough that rolls out effortlessly through the machine. It’s a fun project for anyone who likes playing in the kitchen.
Thanksgiving is more than a bountiful food fest among family and friends. I want to be able to giveback and make delicious and nutritious food available to people from all walks and all stages of life. I want to develop recipes that can be scaled to serve a large crowd at special occasions. Fresh pasta is one of those dishes that can deliver on that count.
Something about fresh pasta that never gets old. They are delicious and enormously comforting. They can assume so many shapes and forms: ravioli, tortellini or pappardelle, whatever the skill and comfort level you are at with pasta dough. Toss in with some good Parmigiano Reggiano and some greens. The plate is complete. It doesn’t get more simple than that. So rewarding to make and so delightful to serve.
The brown butter and pasta recipe comes from IHCC current featured chef Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 cookbooks. It is a straightforward recipe with very few ingredients which work well with fresh pasta. Happy Thanksgiving!