Homemade pasta | foodsciencenerd.com

Homemade Pasta with Broiled Tomatoes, Rappini, and Seared Salmon

Posted on Posted in Culinary Science, Recipes

During my weekend of culinary school crash coursing, I decided to learn how to make homemade pasta despite not having a machine to roll it out.  After adding too much water once and having to throw out the block of dough, it turns out the process is surprisingly simple and very relaxing– and far better than anything out of a box.  I served the pasta with a brown butter sage sauce, which is both fancier and simpler than it sounds, as well as broiled tomatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe/rappini.  On the side, I served skin-on salmon for some protein and omega-3s.

I started with the pasta, following Cook’s Illustrated’s instructions.  The ingredients are simple enough- all you have to do is combine flour, eggs plus yolks, salt, and olive oil in a food processor and process until the dough comes together into a solid mass- it will tell you when it’s ready to be processed!

Use a kitchen scale, please!
Use a kitchen scale, please!

Knead a bit, then roll into a cylinder on an UNFLOURED surface.  This was my mistake the first time around.  Yes, it might stick a bit, but too much flour will be dry, so you will be tempted to add water, which will create too much gluten, which then makes the dough completely unworkable.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour (I didn’t have that much time and everything turned out fine!).

My cute little ball of dough
My cute little ball of dough

Work in small pieces- I cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  First, use your hands to work the dough into a 3-inch square, then roll into a 6-inch square (trust me, it doesn’t have to be exact).  Flouring both sides every 6 passes or so (or if it threatens to stick), roll in one direction until the sheet is about 20 inches long and 1/8 inch thick.  My favorite rolling pin is a french rolling pin, which has no handles.  I got mine in Colonial Williamsburg, but any restaurant supply store will have one.  Set aside on a piece of plastic wrap to dry slightly while working the other pieces.

Homemade pasta | foodsciencenerd.com

Working lengthwise, roll each piece of dough into a cylinder, using more flour as necessary to prevent layers from sticking.  Use a good knife to slice crosswise into thin strips, then untangle gently and make little nests on a baking sheet.

Homemade Pasta | foodsciencenerd.com

Either freeze on the baking sheet and then transfer to a freezer bag, or cook immediately.  Boil salted water, add the pasta, and drain when done- only about 2-3 minutes!

I served the pasta with a sage brown butter sauce, which is as simple as melting a stick of butter in a small saucepan until it stops foaming and starts turning brown.  Watch very carefully- it will go from toasty and brown to burnt in a split second!  After turning off the heat, add some shredded sage leaves to crisp them up.  Pour onto the drained pasta with a touch of reserved starchy pasta water, being careful not to pour the separated milk solids (at the bottom of the saute pot) onto the pasta.  They are edible, but will add a funky texture that you might not be looking for.

Homemade pasta | foodsciencenerd.com

The vegetables I prepared to toss with the pasta were broccoli rabe and cherry tomatoes.  The cherry tomatoes I simply mixed with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper on a lined baking sheet and stuck them under the broiler, stirring them as each side turned brown.  The broccoli rabe I prepared by trimming off the very tough ends, slicing into 1 inch pieces, and sauteing until wilted in olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I tossed those, gently, into the pasta, topped with grated Parmesan, and served to a happy audience.  I even have half the pasta in the freezer waiting for next time.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to perfect a whole wheat version of this pasta so I can have my pasta and feel good about it too!

Homemade pasta | foodsciencenerd.com

To properly make the salmon, heat oil over high heat.  Dry the salmon thoroughly and season well with salt and pepper.  Place the salmon, carefully, skin side down in the pan.  Immediately turn the heat to medium-low, and hold the fish down with a spatula to keep it from curling up as the skin crisps.  Keep the fish skin side down until almost cooked through- internal temp about 120F.  Flip to sear the other side for the last minute or so, or until it releases from the pan and the internal temp is 130F.  It should be crisp on the outside, smooth, juicy, and just barely flaky on the inside.  The perfect accompaniment to the pasta and vegetables!

Skin-on salmon | foodsciencenerd.com

Homemade Pasta with Broiled Tomatoes, Rappini, and Seared Salmon

Yield: 2 servings with lots of leftovers

Homemade Pasta with Broiled Tomatoes, Rappini, and Seared Salmon

Ingredients

    For the pasta
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs plus 6 large yolks
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • For the sauce
  • 1 stick butter
  • 3 sage leaves, chiffonaded
  • Vegetables and cheese, as desired
  • For the salmon
  • 6 oz salmon fillet
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Combine flour, eggs plus yolks, salt, and olive oil in a food processor and process until the dough comes together into a solid mass- it will tell you when it's ready to be kneaded.
  2. Knead a bit, then roll into a cylinder on an UNFLOURED surface. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour (I didn't have that much time and everything turned out fine!).
  3. Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. First, use your hands to work the dough into a 3-inch square, then roll into a 6-inch square. Flouring both sides every 6 passes or so (or if it threatens to stick), roll in one direction until the sheet is about 20 inches long and 1/8 inch thick. Set aside on a piece of plastic wrap to dry slightly while working the other pieces.
  4. Working lengthwise, roll each piece of dough into a cylinder, using more flour as necessary to prevent layers from sticking. Use a good knife to slice crosswise into thin strips, then untangle gently and make little nests on a baking sheet.
  5. Either freeze on the baking sheet and then transfer to a freezer bag, or cook immediately. Boil salted water, add the pasta, and drain when done- only about 2-3 minutes!
  6. Toss with brown butter sauce: Heat butter over medium heat until foaming and solids begin to brown. Add sage and immediately remove from heat. Add pasta water as necessary to help sauce stick.
  7. Serve with vegetables and cheese as desired.
  8. To properly make the salmon, heat oil over high heat. Dry the salmon thoroughly and season well with salt and pepper.
  9. Place the salmon, carefully, skin side down in the pan. Immediately turn the heat to medium-low, and hold the fish down with a spatula to keep it from curling up as the skin crisps. Keep the fish skin side down until almost cooked through- internal temp about 120F.
  10. Flip to sear the other side for the last minute or so, or until it releases from the pan and the internal temp is 130F.
http://www.foodsciencenerd.com/homemade-pasta-with-broiled-tomatoes-rappini-and-seared-salmon/

I'd love to hear your thoughts!