Fresh Tagliatelle all’Amatriciana with grated pecorino cheese
J & I have started a love affair with our new Marcato Atlas 150 pasta machine. Like two eager kids we attacked pasta making with excitement; taking ‘me, me, me’! turns at cranking out long strands of pasta. Gone are the days of rolling out noodle/pasta dough with a rolling pin and then painstakingly cutting up the dough that never seemed to be thin enough, into equal sized strands (which is quite backbreaking for me). Although there’s some waiting time involved, the results are worth it! The pasta tastes so fresh, silky and has a great bite to it! I have been obsessing about sugo all’Amatriciana this entire week so that’s my sauce of choice to accompany our fresh pasta. Traditionally, sugo all’Amatriciana is made up of “guanciale (dried pork cheek), pecorino cheese and tomato” but I’ve tasted a version many years ago which incorporated black olives and chilli flakes tossed through rigatoni pasta hence I’m partial to these additional ingredients; gotta jazz it up a little! I’ve used bacon here because I love that smoky flavour. It’s still a simple sauce but the flavours are beautiful especially with a splash of robust, grassy extra virgin olive oil and a generous sprinkling of pecorino cheese. Perfect for a weekend lunch!
I’m already concocting plans for our new toy; having thoughts about osso bucco ravioli, sweet potato pappardelle, Aunty Jane’s lasagne and even fresh filo pastry for baklava and börek. Bring it on - yeeeeehaaaaa!
Everday Quick Pasta Recipe
(adapted from Jamie Oliver: The Naked Chef)
500 g strong pasta flour (Tipo ’00′) (’00′ flour is superior for fresh egg pastas but you may substitute with plain flour if ’00′ is unavailable)
5 fresh, large free-range eggs ( I used 60 g eggs at room-temperature)
semolina flour for dusting ( I just used the same flour for dusting)
Making the dough (use any of the 3 following methods)
Stage 1- By hand
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the eggs. Using a fork, break up the eggs slightly as you bring in the flour from the sides. As it begins to form a semi-soft dough, start using your hands. Work the dough hard for about 3 minutes or until smooth, silky and elastic. Wrap it in clingfilm and allow it to rest in the fridge for 60 minutes.
Stage 1 – In a mixer
Use a dough hook on the mixer. Add the flour to the eggs/yolks and mix at a medium speed for about 3 minutes or until it forms a tight dough. Take it out of the mixer and finish kneading by hand for about a minute or until smooth, silky and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and allow to rest in the fridge for 60 minutes.
Stage 1 – In a food processor
Plonk it all in and turn it on. Within 30 seconds, it should look like chewy-looking breadcrumbs. Leave it just a little longer to allow it to start working the gluten. It should now start to come together into larger balls of dough. Take it all out ( the bowl should be clean) and work by hand for 2 minutes or until smooth, silky and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and allow it to rest in the fridge for 60 minutes.
The general rule of thumb for a basic pasta recipe is 1 egg per 100 g flour.
If the mixture is too dry, you may add some water. Likewise, if it’s too soft, add some flour. A good mixture should never stick to your fingers.
Rolling the pasta into sheets
I followed the instructions that came with our Marcato Atlas 150 pasta machine:
Cut the rested dough into 4 portions and roll out the dough one piece at a time; keeping the remaining dough covered at all times (Oops! I forgot to cover mind, so the last piece dried out a little)
Set the machine regulator (knob) to position 1 (this is the thickest setting) so that the two smooth rollers are completely open.
Pass a piece of pasta dough through the machine, turning the handle; repeat this operation 5-6 times, folding the dough over and adding some flour to the middle if necessary.
When the dough has taken a regular shape, pass it through the rollers once only with the regulators set on number 2, then once again on number 3 continuing until you obtain the desired thickness (I stopped at number 5 which gave me a pasta thickness of approximately 2mm. Number 9 is the finest setting at approximately 0.2mm)
With a knife, cut the dough crossways in pieces approximately 25 cm long.
Insert the handle in the hole for the tagliatelle/fettucine cutting rollers, turn it slowly and pass the dough through. (You might need a second person to help catch the cut pasta strands at the other end)
Place the pasta on a table-cloth and leave it to dry for at least an hour. (I hung mine on a pasta drying hanger)
rolled pasta sheet ready to be cut into Tagliatelle strands
Tagliatelle hanging on a pasta drying rack
Foodsze’s Tagliatelle with Sugo all’Amatriciana
200 g streaky bacon rashes (or pancetta), roughly chopped
2 large brown onions OR 3 small onions, sliced
170 g tomato paste
3 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons or 70 g pitted kalamata olives, halved
handful of Italian, flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons light olive oil
380 ml water
2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste)
salt, to taste
1/2 – 1 teaspoons chilli flakes (or to your liking)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to dress the pasta (a full bodied, grassy & fruity oil goes well with this)
Pecorino cheese, grated to serve
fresh tagliatelle ( or you can substitute with dry pasta if you wish but follow the cooking instructions listed on the back of the packet)
- Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to the boil ( I roughly dump in 1 - 2 tablespoons of rock salt into 6 litres boiling water)
- Whilst waiting for the water to boil, heat up the light olive oil in a separate pan; add the chopped bacon (or pancetta) and fry for about 1 1/2 minutes to render the fat or until fragrant; add in the sliced onions, reduce to medium heat and sweat them until softened (about 5 minutes); stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute; add in the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes; gradually stir in the water, then the olives; put a lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Season with sugar, salt and chilli flakes to taste; turn off heat and stir through the finely chopped parsley.
- Add the tagliatelle to the boiling salted water and cook until al dente (to the bite). (I cooked my 2mm thick tagliatelle for about 2 minutes in two batches)
- Strain the pasta and toss through the sugo all’Amatriciana.
- Serve warm with a splash of robust extra virgin olive oil and a generous dose of grated pecorino (the cheese makes all the difference so don’t skimp on this )
I used all the fresh pasta from the above recipe but if you prefer a saucier pasta, you can hold back a small portion of the uncooked tagliatelle, dust this with a bit of flour and keep this in an air-tight container or bag stored in the fridge. Use within 4 days.