Homemade Spaghetti with Shallots, Sage, Lemons & Anchovies

 

I reached a very important cooking milestone this weekend.  I learned to make my very own fresh pasta!

I see you snickering.  Big deal, you might say, and now I would tend to agree.  I was just so intimidated by the process.  I purchased my pasta-making equipment over three years ago and have just mustered the courage to take it all out of the box.  Until this weekend I found every reason not to try fresh pasta at home (store-bought “fresh” pasta is not the same).  What is the correct egg-to-flour ratio?  What kind of flour to use, all purpose or 00?  Food processor or by hand?  In the end I realized that I was over-thinking the whole thing.  I found a Youtube video of Giuliano Hazan explaining the way he learned to make egg pasta from his family (from Emilia-Romagna) and I knew I found the right teacher.

Mr. Hazan’s 8-minute video took me through the most intimidating part of pasta-making, the kneading.  He also answered my question about the number of eggs to use.  In his family, 1 egg per 3/4 cup flour is the rule and well, if it works for a Hazan then it’s more than good enough for me (I’m sure there are other egg/flour ratios that work just as well but I liked the results from this formula).  He walked me through mixing the egg and flour with a fork until it was time to use my hands.  He gave clear direction about how to knead the dough, how to get a feel for when the dough has been kneaded enough.  When I was learning to make bread I came across this comment a lot:  You’ll know when you’re done kneading.  For a newbie, that sounded so vague but with a few loaves under my belt, I now understand what that means and it was the same for the pasta dough.

Mixing and kneading the dough turned out not to be the scary exercise that I imagined but I was also concerned about the rolling part.  How many times do I pass the dough through?  Again, Mr. Hazan, in a follow-up video, showed me the proper way to roll out the dough.  He used a manual roller while I used my Kitchenaid pasta-maker attachment but it worked out great.  Overall, I felt like I had a one-on-one lesson with these videos.  If you are even just a little nervous about making your own fresh pasta, I highly recommend Mr. Hazan’s videos.

I prepared one of my go-to pasta dishes using shallots, rosemary, sage, anchovies and lemons.  You can sub capers, olives or sun-dried tomatoes for the anchovies–either way, the pasta’s freshness coupled with its toothsome bite will shine in this simple recipe.

I’ll list the best pointers I picked up from Mr. Hazan along with some observations I made that should make the next time an even better experience:

  • Use room temperature eggs.
  • 1 egg per 3/4 cup flour is a good ratio to start with but don’t incorporate all the flour into the eggs right away.  The size of your eggs will determine the final amount of flour used (the video illustrates this well)
  • Mr. Hazan prefers to work the dough on a wood surface to keep the dough from getting cold.  I used my granite counter and it worked just fine.  I’ll try working on my wood counter next time.
  • Use a rolling motion when kneading the dough (again, the video illustrates this well)
  • Never keep the dough exposed to air for too long so it doesn’t dry out.
  • You can leave the kneaded dough to rest from 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours on the counter before you roll it out. Just make sure it’s wrapped in plastic wrap.
  • When dividing the dough, Mr. Hazan’s rule is to divide it according to the number of eggs used.  We used 3 eggs here so we divided the dough in three pieces before rolling.
  • After passing the dough through the roller, make sure the pasta sheets don’t overlap or touch each other to prevent sticking.  Lay them on kitchen towels to prevent sticking on the counter.
  • When passing my sheets through the spaghetti cutter I noticed that my sheets weren’t passing through smoothly.  At this stage it would have been better to allow the sheets to dry a little before proceeding.  Allowing them to dry for 10-15 minutes (total for both sides) might prevent the slight sticking issue I had.
  • You can either hang the cut spaghetti to dry or toss them in flour on a baking tray until you use them.  I used the latter method but wasn’t generous enough with the flour in the beginning so I had some sticking issues.  I lost a couple of ounces of pasta from this but the rest of the batch was fine.

Update 10/30/2012:  I made 2 batches of fresh pasta over the weekend for lasagne and I’m adding these notes for future reference.

  • All-purpose flour vs 00 flour – I think I prefer the 00.
  • Pass the dough through the widest setting (#1) three times.  Once, as is.  Second, after you fold the dough in thirds, overlapping the folds. Third, fold in half.
  • Pass once for the other settings.  For lasagne sheets, I like a thinner pasta so I roll up to #5.  After rolling to #4, cut the pasta sheets in half so the length is more manageable as it passes through the #5 setting.

 

 

5.0 from 6 reviews
Homemade Spaghetti with Lemons and Anchovies
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Homemade pasta makes even the humblest of dishes special.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ***For about 1 pound of Fresh Pasta***
  • 3 eggs
  • 2¼ cups flour (I used 00 flour but Mr. Hazan recommended all-purpose)
  • ***For the Pasta Sauce***
  • 1-2 shallots, chopped
  • 5-7 anchovies in oil plus 1-2 tablespoons of the oil they came in (or capers, olives or sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • zest and juice of half lemon
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 6-8 fresh sage leaves
  • chili flakes, to taste
  • olive oil, a few tablespoons
  • parmigiano reggiano
Instructions
  1. To prepare the pasta, pour the flour on a clean work surface, create a well in the middle and add the eggs. Start whisking the eggs with a fork, dragging a little flour a little at a time. Continue to do this until you've incorporated enough flour into the eggs so the mixture isn't runny anymore. Before incorporating the rest of the flour, set a bit aside, maybe a few tablespoons to ¼ cup. Mix the rest of the flour (minus what you just set aside) into the egg mixture using your hands. If the dough seems too wet, add the rest of the flour you set aside. Form the dough into a ball and knead by pulling one end of the dough toward you then with the heel of your hand, push it away. Perform this motion twice then rotate the dough 45° and repeat. Keep doing this until the dough is smooth, about 3-5 minutes is good. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes before rolling and cutting. To roll and cut, follow the instructions on your pasta machine.
  2. To prepare the dish, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta once it's boiling and remember that fresh pasta only takes about 3-4 minutes to cook. While the pasta cooks, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the anchovies, chili flakes, shallots and rosemary. The anchovies will dissolve; cook until the shallots are start to color then add the garlic and sage and continue to cook until the shallots are caramelized. This will take a total of 5-6 minutes. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the cooked pasta. If the sauce looks too dry for you and/or you want a bolder flavor, pour in a tablespoon or two of the anchovy oil. Plate and garnish with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Oh Jean, this is awesome! I too, have my homemade pasta equipment still sitting in a box – this may give me the confidence to give it a try! Love the ingredients you added to the finished pasta as well!

  2. Congratulations! I think that making your very own pasts is a Huge deal! :) It’s something I have yet to attempt, but I’ll definitely bookmark Mr. Hazan’s YouTube video(s). I over-think myself out of trying things too. ;)

    Your photos are mouthwatering!

  3. Congratulations Jean- you have every right to feel very proud of your accomplishment- and such a beautiful bowl of fresh pasta and I bet it was so good….. Love the photos!

  4. Fresh pasta is the absolute best! It’s on my bucket list – now you’ve inspired me to push it up to the top of the list and make my own soon :). Gorgeous!

  5. The first time I ever made fresh pasta I was seven years old and being taught by our Italian neighbour with a metre long rolling pin and no machine! Since then I’ve not made much of my own pasta but am planning to get a machine for Christmas so I can make dishes as beautiful as this one!

    Your pasta looks beautiful, so pleased you finally got round to trying it.

  6. Fantastic and so mouthwatering! I wish I had a pasta machine…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  7. What a beautiful dish! I need to use my pasta maker, I use it for all kinds of other things except making pasta…lame! You’ve inspired me.

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Cathy, gosh, your comment made me smile. I specifically remembered reading the instructions and being specifically advised not to use for anything other than pasta, LOL! Now I’m curious what you use your pasta maker for. If they’re shortcuts I’m all ears! :)

  8. Congrats! You convinced me to try pasta-making myself. This dish looks beautiful! PS:Love your plate!!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Anna, thanks! The plate was a gift from friends many, many years ago. Would you believe I’ve just taken it out of the box recently? Now I want to use it for all my pictures! :)

  9. Jean, bookmarking this useful and informative post! My (attainable) dream is to make my own pasta as well. I haven’t found the time yet, but perhaps when my 3 kids are a bit older and they’re not as reliant on me, I will try to make my own pasta! It is definitely in my bucket list! That said, thanks for sharing your experience and useful tips with homemade pasta. By the way, your pasta looks gorgeous!

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Jen, I couldn’t believe how easy (and fun) it was. I bet that your girls would love to participate or at least enjoy watching you roll and cut the pasta. :)

  10. I know what you are saying, I have yet to try it by hand too, I had a pasta machine in the early 90’s and that’s as close as I got to making it homemade. Your instructions and pasta are fantastic, glad you shared with us your success!

  11. Sage makes all the difference. I am a huge fan of it and have been using a lot in cooking these days. I love the combination of anchovies, sage and lemons. YUM!

  12. That sauce sounds divine and bravo on making your pasta from scratch! It looks terrific – thanks for sharing the tips.

  13. What a great tutorial. It was just like watching the lasagna being made in Italy all over again. There was certainly no measuring going on and they couldn’t tell me exactly how much of the ingredients were used.It all seems to be intuition after years of experience.
    I love the simplicity of your sauce. Fresh pasta doesn’t require much dressing at all.

  14. Congrats Jean! I enjoyed your step by step photos of the pasta making experience on Instragram. I can only imagine how delicious this dish was and I bet your hubby was in heaven. Loving the combination of flavors you put together. I am a bit sage obsessed lately!!! Great photos and post!!!

  15. I love homemade pasta. And one you do it once, you realize how easy it actually is. This looks so simple, and delicious!

  16. If it involves a plate/bowl of noodles…I am in! YUM

  17. Pasta can definitely be intimidating in it’s simplicity. I like to say that it takes a lot of love. I’m still trying to master the ravioli.

    Congrats on your first pasta success!

  18. First off – I’m so happy I just found your blog! It’s gorgeous! Now, on to this pasta: OMG. Going to try and whip this up over the weekend.

  19. Congratulations Jean, that’s a mean- looking pasta dish! I love it and I love the simplicity of the sauce that you put together. I don’t do my pasta as much as I would like to because the fresh ones are everywhere here. I did making gnocchi a few times. I enjoyed it and loved the feeling that every single one of them was handmade, by me! My pasta maker is (don’t laugh!) more than 10 years old and still in its original packaging. Maybe I should take it out? LOL!

  20. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    The problem with homemade pasta is that it tastes so incredible;)Yours is gorgeous and love the lemon and anchovies. Simple and so flavorful. Great tips in this post and also great idea to watch Giuliano’s wonderful videos…makes it all less intimidating:)

  21. Spaghetti with Lemons and Anchovies? Hmmm… why does that sound so familiar? GREG

  22. First of all, CONGRATS!!! Making pasta from scratch is something I’d love to do, but I’m putting that off to AFTER making bread and desserts… I hope I can get to it before I become grandma! Your spaghetti looks AMAZING and it must be so rewarding~~!

  23. Hi, Jean…Just a quick question. So, it’s advisable to NOT let the dough too cold in the case of fresh pasta? So, just opposite of pastry, where you want to roll out in cold surface…Thanks :)

    • lemonsandanchovies says:

      Hi Jen,
      You’re right. You don’t want the dough to be cold. You must use room temperature eggs, too. Wood counters or boards are the most advisable surface to work on for pasta dough but I’ve used my granite counter with good results, though. Hope this helps. :)

Trackbacks

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