Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Am I an experienced or inexperienced kneader?"

Once upon a time we had cable TV.  And by cable TV I mean – real channels, not just something the cable company bundled with our internet service to claim we have cable, but real cable.  We had Food Network.  Sometimes I miss it and sometimes I don’t know when we had time to watch it. :)
One of the chefs we liked was Chef Anne.  Andy really liked her and rooted for her in shows that were competitive.  When he decided to make pasta a week or so ago, his go to recipe?  Chef Anne’s.  He asked his tablet for fresh pasta recipes and there it was!  It had ingredients that we had in the house and he went to town making it.  For Christmas I had asked for a pasta machine.  A hand crank one that mounts to the counter and you roll your way to noodles.  Rusty love this whole process since it somewhat hung over the edge of the counter and he benefited from some raw noodles dropping like manna from heaven.
The pasta was yummy and cooked beautifully.  Can’t wait to try a new shape!  Spaghetti!  Found another attachment at a consignment shop this weekend – can’t wait to make it again.

Chef Anne's All-Purpose Pasta Dough
Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell

1 pound all-purpose flour
4 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons water or more if needed

Put the flour on a clean dry work surface. Make a hole (this is also called a well) in the center of the flour pile that is about 8 inches wide (bigger is definitely better here). Crack all of the eggs and the yolk into the hole and add the olive oil, salt and water.
Using a fork beat the eggs together with the olive oil, water and salt. Using the fork, begin to incorporate the flour into the egg mixture; be careful not to break the sides of the well or the egg mixture will run all over your board and you will have a big mess! Also, don't worry about the lumps. When enough flour has been incorporated into the egg mixture that it will not run all over the place when the sides of the well are broken, begin to use your hands to really get everything well combined. If the mixture is tight and dry, wet your hands and begin kneading with wet hands. When the mixture has really come together to a homogeneous mixture, THEN you can start kneading.
When kneading it is VERY important to put your body weight into it, get on top of the dough to really stretch it and not to tear the dough. Using the heels of your palms, roll the dough to create a very smooooooth, supple dough. When done the dough should look VERY smooth and feel almost velvety. Kneading will usually take from 8 to 10 minutes for an experienced kneader and 10 to 15 for an inexperienced kneader. Put your body weight into it, you need to knead! This is where the perfect, toothsome texture of your pasta is formed. Get in there and have fun!
When the pasta has been kneaded to the perfect consistency, wrap it in plastic and let rest for at least 1 hour. If using immediately do not refrigerate.
Roll and cut the pasta into desired shape.

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