Cooking with the Caspers

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The Caspers Make Pasta From Scratch

Second Attempt

AP Flour and 2 local eggs

As we saw in the first round, sometimes a recipe isn't always the way home. We like to try the most clinical approach first so that we know the basics, but after reading up on why our last attempt was so tough, both in method and texture, we were ready for a second chance. 

No measurements this time. Just a mound of flour with a well hollowed out in the middle. We cracked 2 eggs to start, and because corn-fed Pennsylvania chickens are happy birds, one larger egg had 2 yolks! So let's call it 3 eggs. Then, we added a pinch of salt and a light swirl of olive oil, and began whisking the egg area with a fork.

 

Last time, we had specifically measured flour, so we tried to work it all in, resulting in a hard, dry dough that was difficult to flatten, let alone press into a noodley thinness. This time, it's alllllll about the feel. After a bit of whisking, the floury clumps in the egg mixture start to become ragged egg tendrils. Once whisking was no longer a practical method of combination, we took the remaining flour, and gently pushed it into the eggy parts. At first, panic struck because it felt like it had all dashed in opposite directions, but more folding and feeling out the damp portions slowly turned into one mass in the midst of extra flour.

This time, kneading the dough for a full 10 minutes came easily. The dough was playdough-soft, and folded in on itself every few kneads. Then, we wrapped it in plastic wrap, as airtight as possible, and left the dough to rest about a half hour. You can see that there was plenty of flour left on the board. No biggie! We needed plenty more than that by the time we had noodles on our forks. 

Dough should rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes

After our first attempt, Mr. Casper went out and bought a pasta roller. While we still wanted rustic hand-cut tagliatelle, the actual rolling out of the dough was handed over almost entirely to the roller. After laminating the dough (folding it in on itself and rolling it flat with a rolling pin) a few times, and cleaning the roller (just a small piece of dough run through a few times), we were finally ready to see if we had done this right.

We liberally floured the dough, and passed it through the roller on the widest setting (7), and slowly worked our way down to the thinnest level (1). As we rolled down, we ended up cutting the dough smaller just so that we had more manageable lengths to work with. When a sheet came off the roller at level 1, we floured it again, and stacked them on the board. Why so much flour? Sticking! So many resources warned against sticky dough. It'll clog a roller, the slicing rolls, your hands, your hair, your cat's hair. Constant flouring kept our sheets separate for eventual slicing.

Taking half of the now-thin dough, we gently rolled it in on itself, and took a very sharp knife down the roll in rocking slices. Pressing will just stick the noodles, so a careful rocking saw-through is ideal. We then unfurled our individual noodles, tossed them with more flour, and set them aside on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

The other half went to a little ravioli experiment. Pesto thickened with goat cheese went down on full sheets in small dollops, the areas between the dollops were given an egg wash, and the whole piece of dough was folded in on itself "hotdog style". Once all of the air was squeezed from the pesto, more deliberate rocking knife cuts allowed the ravioli to emerge. These also went, freshly floured, to the sheet pan until they were ready to be dropped in boiling salted water.

Unlike last time, less than 90 seconds brought all of the pasta to life. A quick toss in Aglio e Olio sauce and a sprinkle of Mrs. Casper's favorite, Parmigiano Reggiano, and dinner was ready!

Not pictured: Dinner. We ate too quickly.

Not served: Pesto Ravioli. Mrs. Casper was a little too heavy-handed with the chili flake.