Making pasta at home is a lot more forgiving and taste a hundred times better than store-bought; even the so-called fresh pasta places don’t make it that thin, the most critical factor in a good pasta in my humble opinion.
Anyway, if you make the dough the night before, wrap it in wax paper, and roll it out the next evening, you can make fresh pasta in the amount of time it would take to watch a show on television.
I use a rolling pin; pasta machines are a hassle, so I don’t bother with them. In addition, with a rolling pin I can stretch the pasta as thin as I want.
And I want it paper-thin!
So I use a big rolling pin, roll it out as thin as possible, cut it in wide strips and then re-roll each strip until paper-thin. That’s it!
To store it, I place the strips on cookie sheets sprinkled with flour or cornmeal.
Use the strips right away or cover and store for a day or longer. Nothing bad will happen.
INGREDIENTS: 8 to 10 servings
- 2 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 3 ounces of cooked squash (kabocha, pumpkin, acorn), cut in chunks
- 2 Large eggs
- 3 drops of red food color
- For the cheese sauce: 6 ounces of swiss cheese or jarlsberg and 12 ounces of mozzarella, 1/2 cup of whipping cream (2 ounces) and 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter and a dash of Aleppo pepper or smoked paprika.
- Garnish: 6 Tablespoons of chopped parsley and 6 tablespoons of coarsely chopped pistachios (optional)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- To make the pasta: Place the eggs in the work bowl of a food processor; run the machine for a minute until the eggs are well-mixed; add the squash and mix some more until the squash and egg mixture is as homogenous as possible.
- Add the flour and salt to this mixture and process until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl. Remove from the bowl and on a floured work surface, knead the ball of dough for about 5 minutes until smooth. Cover with wax paper and set aside until ready to roll out. (Wait at least 30 minutes to roll out- if waiting longer, grease the surface of the pasta to prevent a skin from forming)
- To make the cheese sauce: Place the butter in a saucepan and melt it; add the cream and cheeses and melt the mixture slowly. When melted, set aside on a warm plate to transfer to the pasta serving platter.
- To roll the pasta: Cut the ball of pasta in half, keeping the other wrapped in wax paper. Roll it out as thin as possible with the rolling pin. Cut in strips, using a pizza cutter or a pasta cutter. On the other side of the work surface, sprinkle some flour and roll the pasta one strip at a time until paper-thin. Place each strip on a cookie sheet (n which you have sprinkled cornmeal or some flour); let the strips air dry until you finish rolling the dough.
- Stack the strips on wax paper, sprinkled with cornmeal or flour as well. Now heat 2 quarts of salted water in a large pot, and when boiling drop the pasta strips and boil for one to two minutes, depending on how dry the strips are. Drain and place in a large serving platter or lasagne pan. Pour the cheese sauce and coat it well.
- At serving time, place the serving pan in a 350F oven for a few minutes to heat the pasta and melt the residual cheese in the sauce. Garnish with chopped parsley and pistachios and offer some fresh black peppercorns at the table.
NOTE: The drops of red color are strictly to give the pasta that salmon hue which I like (my house is tiled with this color!); if you don’t use it, the pasta will be yellow with specks of orange from the squash.
You can make the pasta by hand if you like, which would make an even better pasta. Place the flour in a mound and form a crater in the middle and place the eggs and squash in the crater. Use a fork and beat the eggs and squash first and then with the flour, until the flour is all used up; knead for ten minutes until smooth.
To roll the strips of pasta I used wooden rods I found in a craft store.
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