Pasta with tomato sauce

Cooking 101

Can’t find pasta at the store? Here’s how to make it from scratch

Brandon Whitestone, Regional Executive Chef at Alexandria Restaurant Partners, gives us the 411 on how to make pasta

Pasta is one of those foods that holds a special place in the mind, body and soul of many. Whether you’re a serious cheese lover and go for cacio e pepe or love to keep it simple with a white wine sauce, pasta is life and bae all wrapped up into one. As many of us stay home amid COVID-19 spread concerns, we’re all trying to keep ourselves happy, healthy and busy as we truck on in our new normal: working from home, long supermarket lines and a shortage of toilet paper.

Due to the influx of people that have been panic buying ingredients and products (pasta being one of them), people are starting to get creative with their cooking and calling upon the wisdom of our ancestors and Google to help us make delicious meals that won’t make us gain the “coronavirus 15.” Luckily for us, the ever-so-lovely Brandon Whitestone, Regional Executive Chef at Alexandria Restaurant Partners, shares how to make delicious fresh pasta at home with only a few simple ingredients. Check out his recipe below and make sure to read the Chef’s Tips at the bottom before starting the recipe!

Ingredients and kitchen utensils for homemade pasta (top view)©GrosbyGroup

 Homemade Pasta Recipe from Brandon Whitestone, Regional Executive Chef at Alexandria Restaurant Partners 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (9 oz by weight) of All Purpose Flour
  • ¼ teaspoon of Kosher Salt (Diamond Krystal)
  • 2 Large Eggs plus 2 egg yolks (beaten together)

Preparations:

  1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl and mix. Add the eggs and yolks and mix by hand until the dough comes together (no more loose shaggy bits). If dough is dry, add cold water a tablespoon at a time, mixing between additions, until it comes together.
  2. Transfer the dough to a wooden board (if you don’t have a board use your counter, just make sure it is clean and dry and that you have rinsed it well with clean water if you clean with any chemical based cleaners).
  3. Knead for 1 minute and form dough into a ball and has a silky texture to the touch, then press into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it rest for 2 hours at room temperature. If you want to save it to make the pasta at a later time, put directly into the refrigerator and remove from the refrigerator 3 hours before you want to use it.
  4. Divide the dough into 5 pieces, and knead until smooth (1-2 minutes).
  5. Follow the instructions on your pasta machine for cutting to desired shape, or if you don’t have a machine, follow below instructions to make fettuccini or spaghetti alla chitarra (spaghetti’s thicker cousin - see step 12).
  6. Press pasta dough until it is flat and roughly ½” thick. Dust the piece with flour on both sides and gently rub it with your fingers so that both sides of the piece are not sticky.
  7. Using a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine), roll it out as thin as possible, roughly to the thickness of a quarter. You may need to add more flour to the pasta surfaces to keep them from sticking.
  8. Once the dough is the thickness you want, dust it with semolina (a form of wheat mainly used in making upma, pasta, and couscous) or flour and loosely roll it up.
  9. Use a sharp knife and cut into ½” thick strips, then toss lightly in flour.
  10. Sprinkle semolina (or flour) on a sheet pan, and spread the fettuccini out on it and let dry for an hour.
  11. Cook in boiling salted water.
  12. To make spaghetti alla chitarra, roll the pasta slightly thicker, and cut in strips equal in width to the thickness of the pasta.


Chef’s Tips

  • When running pasta through a pasta machine, make sure it is well dusted in flour so that it doesn’t stick and tear in the rollers.
  • Never wash your pasta machine under water, just brush it clean.
  • Only work with room temperature dough, as cold dough will be very hard to shape properly.
  • Pasta cooking water should be salty to taste.
  • Fresh pasta cooks quickly, in 2-4 minutes depending on shape, so plan your cooking process accordingly.
  • If the dough tightens up and is difficult to shape, cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes before continuing.
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