the back room | pasta

Pasta class at South’s Back Room; bubbly, much flouring, kneading and rolling, Boomtown pappardelle.  Key takeaways?  Air bubbles are the enemy, semolina is to be used at your own risk and spaghettini is best left to the masters.  A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon with lovely people.  And a batch of fresh fettucini just in time for meat-free Monday.

Pasta-South-1

Fresh Pasta Dough: (recipe from South, serves 4)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Mound flour on a clean work surface.  Make a well in the center and break the eggs into the well.  Add the salt and oil to the eggs and gently mix with a fork.  Slowly begin pulling flour in with the fork until a dough begins to form.  Continue until all the flour is incorporated.  Knead the dough with your hands until it comes together into a ball.  If it is too try, add a small amount of water.  Add some flour if it is too wet, until you have a workable consistency.

Cover the dough with cling film to prevent it from drying out while you prep the pasta machine.  Divide the dough into 4 pieces, press each piece out into an oval shape about 1/8 in thick.  Working with one oval at a time, roll out the dough, starting on the widest setting.  Roll the dough through twice on each setting, reducing the setting as you go until the pasta reaches the desired thinness.  Dust each pasta sheet with flour and rest under a sheet of cling film until ready for cutting.

Top tip from pasta-master David ; to test if the dough is ready, cut the ball in half and check for air bubbles.  The dough is ready for rolling when it is smooth and bubble-free.

 

Easy herbed tomato, garlic and spinach fettucini: (serves 4)

  • 1 batch fresh fettucini
  • 1 punnet cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
  • 12 pieces roasted tomatoes in oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tbs dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbs olive oil, plus extra to serve
  • 4 cups baby spinach, washed and spun dry
  • freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan (enough to hold the cooked pasta) on medium heat.  Add the tomatoes, dried herbs and garlic and cook for 4-5 mins, stirring regularly, until the cherry tomatoes have released their juices and the garlic is fragrant.  Add the spinach to the pan and toss until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a rolling boil.  Add 1 tsp salt and the fettucini to the pan.  Cook for ~2-4 mins.  The pasta will cook very quickly – pull out a noodle with tongs and test frequently to check if it is ready.

Once the pasta is cooked, transfer the noodles with a pair of tongs directly into the tomato/spinach pan.  Toss to combine and splash in a bit of the starchy pasta water to loosen if needed.  Check the seasoning again before serving with a final drizzle of olive oil.

 

Pasta-South-2Pasta-South-3Pasta-South-4

South Restaurant, Anchorage AK

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