Sunday, January 22, 2012

Fresh Tomato Pasta Noodles AKA "The Sauceless Linguine"

The first time I made homemade pasta noodles was New Years Eve two years ago. I decided to attempt 2 pounds of linguine the afternoon before my friend's dinner party. Little did I realize it was going to take 5 hours, stiff legs and a sore neck to get the job done. The result was phenomenal, completely worth the effort, and I fell in love with the art of homemade pasta. I have experimented with it several times, and after getting a pasta maker and drying rack from my grandparents this Christmas, I am ready to try every pasta variety I can think of... and I bet I can think of a lot.

I make my pasta noodles with the Roma Traditional Style Pasta Machine, rolled out to thinness setting 4 or 5 and pressed through the linguine cutter. These are whole wheat linguine noodles flavored with tomato paste. I'm not a lover of marinara sauce, so I was stuck on the idea of a pasta that could be eaten without sauce. I mixed it up with some olive oil, fresh basil and mini mozzarella balls. No sauce necessary - the tomato flavor is already in the pasta!

Fresh Tomato Pasta Noodles AKA "The Sauceless Linguine"
Makes: 1 lb  Prep: 1 hour, 30 minutes  Total: 3 hours

3 cups whole wheat flour
3 eggs
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs tomato paste
3/4 cups water

In a large bowl, pour flour and dig a well in the middle large enough to hold your other ingredients. Add eggs, olive oil, salt, tomato paste and water into the center of the flour. With a fork, begin to break the egg yolks and whisk the wet ingredients inside the flour well until fully incorporated. Gradually start to whisk in flour a small amount at a time until dough forms.
Remove dough and place onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, adding more flour or water as needed to gain the right consistency. When the dough is finally solid and elastic, cover in plastic wrap and let set for 20 minutes.
Remove plastic and cut pasta into 1-inch thick slices. Begin rolling through pasta maker until preferred thickness is achieved. Roll through linguine cutter, separate noodles and hang dry on pasta drying rack. Repeat until all dough is used. Let pasta hang until dried, about one hour, and store in an air tight container until ready to use. (Uncooked fresh pasta will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Freeze pasta for a longer keeping period.)
Boil water and cook noodles for 3 minutes. Remove, drain and enjoy!

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