Fettuccine mama mia! I bought a pasta machine many years ago. Unfortunately it has been sitting unused for many years. When I did use it, I made the best fettuccine beyond a doubt. Once cooked, it was light and fluffy. The pasta made any sauce taste better. Making the pasta was also a lot of fun. The pasta dough was easy to make (see "Basic Noodles" below), fun to roll out and cut with the machine. We put it on a rack to dry. We usually made enough for two meals at a time.
One Purim we made it for our Mishlo'ach Manot. One family, not knowing what it was, ate it raw and said it didn't have much flavor.
A noodle, as defined by the United States Department of Food and Drug Administration, is a paste made of flour, water and a minimum of 5.5 percent egg solids which may be fresh, powdered or frozen. 8 ounces of noodles yields about 4 cups of cooked noodles. 3 ounces of noodles has 33 carbohydrates, 3 mg sodium content, 4.5 fat content. Athletes need carbohydrates in the Olympics. Noodles in one form or another are served every day.
The restaurant credited with making fettuccine famous is Alfredo L'Originale in Rome. Alfredo received a golden spoon and fork from Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Sr., engraved "Alfredo, The King of the Noodle."
Alfredo attributed his superior sauce for Fettuccine Alfredo to the farm fresh dairy products he used. Plenty of butter, cream, fresh grated parmesan cheese and a dash of black pepper at the last minute. The creamy sauce for Fettuccine Alfredo may be made separately and then mixed with hot noodles.
When I first made Fettuccine Alfredo I would panic. I thought that since it tastes so good it must be difficult to make. It's not. Just relax and follow the recipe. Enjoy!
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups all-purpose flour (or you can used your own favorite flour such as semolina, soy or whole wheat)
1 tsp. Salt
4-6 tbsps. warm water
If using a food processor: With the plastic mixing blade in place, turn on the machine; add the eggs. Sift together the flour and salt and add to the machine through the feeder. Continue to process, adding water as needed, until you have a smooth, firm ball of dough.
If doing by hand: Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl or onto a board. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs. Gradually work the eggs into the flour, adding water as necessary, until you have a stiff dough. With both hands pulling and pressing, knead the dough until it is smooth or for about 20 minutes. Cut the dough in half, form each half into a ball, and wrap each ball with wax paper to keep air out. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Note: Some recipes instruct you to roll out these balls, then cover them with a kitchen towel and allow to rest.
Work with one ball of dough at a time, keeping the other wrapped. Roll out onto a floured surface as thin as possible. Cut into desired shapes and sizes.
To cut noodles by hand: Some noodles, such as tagliatelli, require you to roll up the dough jelly-roll style and slice with a sharp knife into thin strips (1/8 inch for tagliatelli). Other noodles may require that you roll out the dough and cut into sheets (ravioli), strips (lasagna), rectangles or squares (cannelloni).
If using a roller-style machine: Attach or clamp it to your kitchen counter, and set the rollers as wide apart as possible. Divide the dough into smaller balls. Keeping the unused portions covered, run one piece through the first stop, 5 to 10 times, to knead until smooth, folding in half each time. It's good to keep a small bowl of water and a pile of sifted flour handy. If the dough becomes sticky, sprinkle it with flour as you fold in half. If it is too crumbly, work with some water, pushing the dough together. Continue at the first setting until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Get all the dough up to this stage, sprinkling flour on each sheet and stacking them. Then, bring the rollers together one notch and roll the dough through the machine again. Continue this process until all the dough has passed through this width. Reduce the space again one notch and put the dough through the roller again. Continue until the dough is as thin as you desire it. At this point, some recipes suggest that you dry the dough on kitchen towels for up to 30 minutes before cutting it. Now, put the silky sheets of dough through the cutter blades. You can catch the noodles as they fall or let them pile up.
When all are cut, take your hand- or machine-made noodles and toss them with your fingers onto a lightly floured surface (the kitchen counter is fine!) to separate them and to allow them to dry.
You can use the noodles immediately, but they are best when allowed to dry slightly. For fresh noodles, let dry up to an hour, then boil them very quickly or quick-freeze them for later use. To dry them for storage, let the noodles sit on a lightly floured surface for 12 hours, then pack in air-tight containers.
Makes 4-8 servings, depending on course.
* * *
(The following 2 recipes are taken from The Great International Noodle Experience.)
FETTUCCINE ALFREDO #1
1/4 lb. sweet butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. fettuccine, cooked and drained
1/2 tsp. Salt
Fresh-cracked black pepper
Touch of grated nutmeg (optional)
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt half the butter. Stir in the cream and, as it begins to thicken, add 1/3 cup grated cheese. Add the hot noodles to the sauce and toss gently with a fork and spoon. Add all remaining ingredients, mixing and blending until the noodles are well coated and creamy. Serve very hot with additional grated cheese and fresh-cracked black pepper.
Makes 4-6 servings.
* * *
Melinda Wehrle, daughter of Ralph Sarli, the president of American Beauty Macaroni Company, developed her own family favorite. Her recipe is similar to Alfredo's but she uses a thin, angular noodle instead of the usual flat fettuccine.
10 ozs. fettuccine, cooked and drained
1/4 lb butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk or cream
1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese, or 1/4 cup of each
Chopped parsley and black pepper to taste
Pour fettuccine into a heated serving bowl. Add butter, milk and cheese and toss gently with two forks until the pasta is well coated. Mix in parsley and black pepper for color and taste. Serve at once. Pass additional cheese separately.
Makes 4-6 servings, as a first course.
* * *
(The following 3 recipes are taken from Epicurious Food: Recipe File.)
FETTUCCINE ALFREDO #2
Active time: 35 minutes, Start to finish: 40 minutes
This recipe originally appeared with an article about how to make your own fresh fettuccine. A lot has changed since those days: Being able to buy imported and high-quality pasta of all kinds is something we now take for granted.
12 oz. dried egg fettuccine
1stick (1/2 cup) plus 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (4 oz.) plus additional for sprinkling
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Cook fettuccine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water (when salting water for cooking, use 1 tbsp. salt for every 4 quarts of water) until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.
Melt 3/4 stick (6 tbsps.) butter in a 2- to 3-quart flameproof gratin dish over low heat. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat, lifting strands. Add cheese, reserved cooking water, cream, remaining 3 tbsps. butter (thinly sliced), salt, and pepper and toss to combine well. Sprinkle with additional cheese and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
* * *
PASTA WITH ALFREDO-PESTO SAUCE
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 cup whipping cream
1 lb. capellini or spaghetti, freshly cooked
Finely chop basil, pine nuts and garlic in processor. With machine running, gradually add olive oil through feed tube and process until smooth. Mix in 1/2 Parmesan. Transfer pesto to small jar. (Can be prepared 4 days ahead. Pour enough olive oil over sauce to cover. Cover and refrigerate.)
Bring cream to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in pesto. Season sauce and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan in large bowl. Toss to coat pasta evenly and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings.
* * *
FETTUCCINI ALFREDO #3
5 tbsps. unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
12 ozs. dried egg fettuccine
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste
2 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
Preheat oven to 250°F. Melt butter in a heatproof serving bowl in middle of oven, about 5 minutes. Cook fettuccine in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain fettuccine in a colander. Immediately toss fettuccine with butter and salt in bowl, then slowly add 3/4 cup cheese, tossing constantly and adding enough cooking water to keep pasta moist. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Makes 4 main-course servings.