There is really no comparison between freshly made pasta and dried. The fresh noodles have a satiny and gently yielding texture that comes from thorough kneading, lamination and the perfect ratio of egg to flour. This recipe has 3 whole eggs plus two egg yolks to give the exact balance of moisture from the whites and richness from the yolks.
There is also no doubt that making a fresh batch of pasta is quite a lot of work. I have incorporated some great time saving tips without compromising the texture and flavour. This is still the real deal.
First, using a food processor to mix the dough only takes a minute or two and it also provides enough physical action to replace hand kneading. A quick rest on the counter and the dough is ready for rolling. Going through each step in the rolling instructions also ensures that the dough is well laminated, elastic and smooth.
The sauce is my take on a traditional alla matriciana style. I like the light, crispy pancetta bacon and I chose the hot and spicy variety to replace the chili flakes. Grana padano adds a creamy finish to the whole thing.
Fresh Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce
- 2 large pots, food processor, pasta machine
- 12 rounds thinly sliced pancetta bacon
- 1 onion, sliced julienne
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 24 oz passata (strained tomatoes)
- 2 oz grana padano cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh basil and parsley
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- On medium high heat, in a large pot, fry the pancetta in a single layer until crisp, turning once. You will probably have to do two batches.
- Add sliced onions and a little oil if necessary. Fry until they are soft and just changing colour.
- Add garlic. Fry with the onions for about a minute.
- Add red wine, chicken stock, passata, basil and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer while you make the pasta.
- Put flour and salt into the bowl of food processor. Pulse together briefly.
- Lightly beat the eggs and extra egg yolks in a bowl.
- While food processor is running, pour the eggs into the flour. Hang on to the sides of the bowl and let the dough mix until it forms a ball that climbs the side of the food processor bowl.
- Remove the dough ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest for 20 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Put pasta water on to boil in a large pot.
- Run each ball through the pasta machine as follows: On the lowest setting, run the ball through the machine and fold in half, crosswise. Run it through again and fold it lengthwise. Repeat , folding it and putting it through, twice more.Set machine to the next setting. Run the dough through, fold, run it through again. Repeat at least once more. Set machine to the next setting. Run the dough through. Turn it 180 degrees and run it through again. Repeat the last step until you have reached the second last setting on your machine.
- Dust each sheet of pasta thoroughly with flour after it has been rolled. Gently fold it and set it aside.
- When all of the sheets have been rolled, pass each sheet through the fettucine cutter on the machine. Toss each batch with a little flour.
- Add salt and a little oil to the boiling pasta water and then add the fresh pasta.
- Cook for about 2 minutes or until the pasta starts to bubble up to the surface. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- Return pasta to the pot and pour tomato sauce over it, tossing it gently to coat.
- Serve with pancetta rounds, plenty of grated grana padano cheese and fresh herb leaves.