Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Time-Out: Basil Fettuccine

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I have been so lucky that the past 2 years, I've had a few projects for my job in Milan and so I get to frequently find myself in Italy.  My family also took a dream vacation to Italy last summer so I've got a lot of Italian exposure lately.
I'm always looking to bring home interesting things home to my family when I travel overseas.  One of the entire family's favorites is flavored fresh pastas.  These are pastas I just can't find in the normal grocery store at home and are all different flavors - mushroom, tomato, egg, basil, and John's favorite - spicy pepper.

This summer, we've had a real bumper crop of basil.  In fact, the basil is still going strong, three weeks into September.  I love making homemade pasta - it really is so easy and with a hand-cranked pasta maker, I can get rid of my rolling pin method!  Anyway, I thought there had to be a way to create that basil pasta at home and so I went to work adding about 20 basil leaves to my pasta.  And WOW, it came out delicious!  Pasta is all about the ingredients, and then the drying.  Drying the pasta is essential before cooking so it doesn't get all gloppy and stuck together.
Basil Fettuccine (adapted from Serious Eats)
Serves:  4
1/2 cup basil leaves, loosely packed
1 tablespoon good quality olive oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt

In a small food processor, pulse chop basil and olive oil until basil is in small slices.  Transfer the basil mixture into a bowl.

On a clean surface, pour out the flour and form a well with high walls (the higher the better).  Pour the eggs, egg yolks, salt, and basil mixture into the well.  Using a fork, mix the eggs into the flour, pushing the walls back each time to ensure no eggs escape, until a scraggly dough forms.  Work the rest of the flour into the dough, until the dough becomes uniform.

Using your hands, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes, until the dough becomes very smooth and somewhat elastic.  At first, the dough will seem fairly dense and dry.  Keep working it and it comes together very nicely.  Rest the dough for 30 minutes on the counter.

Cut the dough into 2 halves.  Keep one in the fridge until ready to use.  With the first half, roll out into an oblong shape.  Using the biggest opening in the pasta roller as possible, roll the dough through once, then again.  Using a book fold, fold the two edges of the dough into the center, and then over once, like a book.  This will make the dough a perfect rectangle.  Roll out slightly.  Then, roll through the pasta maker again 3 times.  Choose the next setting on the pasta roller and roll the dough through that setting twice.  Choose the next setting on the pasta roller and roll the dough through that setting twice.  Then, roll once through the 4th setting and once through the 5th setting. 

Finally, cut into 18-inch sheets.  Roll through each sheet on the fettuccine setting.  Let dry on a pasta dryer or over the back of a bowl.  Cook in boiling salted water for 90 seconds, stirring once to ensure the fettuccine separates.  Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Freeze for later - freeze small nests of pasta on a cookie sheet.  Once frozen, place into a large zipper, freezer-safe bag, making sure there is no excess air in the bag.  Freeze for no longer than 3 weeks.

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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