1-2-3 Fresh pasta with Shell Sauce


Fresh homemade pasta is certainly more work than opening up a box of Barilla, but if you have the right equipment, it is pretty easy to make (and SO worth it).  I make my dough in the food processor by pulsing my 1-2-3 ingredients:
Yield: A little more than a pound of fresh pasta

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs

How to make the magic happen:
Put the olive oil, flour, and eggs into a food processor and pulse until it forms a big mass along the wall of the food processor.  (Since gluten levels vary among different brands of flour, here are some troubleshooting tips.  Basically, you want the pasta to feel moist to your finger but you don’t want it to be sticky.  Higher gluten flours need more egg, so if your dough feels too dry add another egg, starting with the yolk, and if it still needs more moisture, add the egg white.   Conversely, if the dough feels wet, you can add a little bit of flour to dry it out a little bit).

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it with your hand for a minute or two until it is one big ball of dough.  You can now roll out the dough in a pasta roller as thinly as you can.  If you don’t have a pasta roller and plan to roll by hand (which I’ve done…be warned, it’s a lot of work), you will have to let the dough rest very frequently because the gluten will need to relax.  (Have you ever tried to roll out a dough, and it just shrinks back?  This is because the gluten needs to rest).

Some pasta rollers will cut the dough for you, but if cutting noodles by hand, flour the surface of the pasta, roll it up, and make vertical cuts.  Unroll them, and you have fresh homemade pasta noodles mmmmmmmmmm.  Now, it’s not time to cook it yet.  If you cook it now, the noodles will stick together when you cook.  Put your noodles in a loose pile on the countertop, and throw in a lot of flour, tossing it with more flour every 10 minutes for about 45 minutes.  This will help the noodles dry out a bit, so you don’t get a giant mass of noodles in your stockpot.

When you are ready to cook the noodles, bring a big stockpot of water to a boil, heavily salt the water (it should taste like salty seawater), and toss the noodles in.  Take a noodle out every 30 seconds and taste to check for al dente doneness.  Fresh pasta cooks very quickly.  Drain and toss with olive oil and/or the sauce below:

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will be cooking up a storm/spending time with family and friends, tomorrow I won’t be posting, but here is an amazingly flavorful and super simple sauce for your fresh pasta.  There  is a TON of flavor in shells (shrimp shells, crab shells, lobster shells, or crawfish, like I used here), so they should never be thrown away.

Ingredients:
Shells from 1 lb crawfish
1 cup heavy cream
10 leaves of fresh tarragon (or parsley, if you don’t like tarragon)

What to do:
Throw the shells in a food processor and grind them up into little pieces.  Place the ground up shells in a saucepan and add the cream and tarragon.  Simmer for 5 minutes, then strain out the shells by pouring the sauce through a fine meshed sieve.  Season with salt and pepper, and pour onto your pasta.  Oh goodness, it’s 9 in the morning and now I want pasta!  I know what I’ll be having for lunch now…

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  And please leave any questions/suggestions/comments below.

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