Make This: Chef Andrew Wood's Pasta

Since you've made it to this page on our site, it’s safe to assume you like to eat. We’re right there with you. There’s something great about heading out to a restaurant and letting some well-trained, hard-working chef do the cooking while you talk up the bartender or sommelier about which are the best pairings. There’s something equally great about going as-is (We're not judging if you’re in sweatpants. Actually, we applaud you.) to your favorite local spot and ordering your usual and getting that home-away-from-home feeling. But for those times when even that seems like too much trouble or you’re trying to impress Mom/a date/your handsome bulldog or you just want to prove to yourself you’ve got skills, remember to check back here. It’s where we’re gathering some really talented folks who know some things about cooking, baking and mixing drinks and asking them to share their recipes.

Today, Chef Andrew Wood of Russet shares his on pasta.

Gather the following ingredients (yield is 12 portions):

- 25 large egg yolks

- 5 whole large egg

- 1 kg (or 2 lbs) of all-purpose flour 

Combine and whisk eggs. Make a well in the pile of flour. Add all eggs and incorporate with index and middle fingers or a fork. Work together until dough forms.

Knead the dough on a stable surface for at least five minutes, until it's smooth and gluten develops (you can tell gluten has developed when it's soft but also has a stretchy quality). Allow the dough to rest for 20-30 minutes.  

Stretch dough through pasta machine to desired thinness (yeh, you gotta have a pasta machine). Be sure to pass the dough through each setting on the dial once, otherwise the gluten will reactivate and the dough won’t be able to stretch out as thin. Lay out dough across stable, even surface and cut into desired shapes.

Blanch the pasta in boiling water, and it will only take about a minute to cook. Toss the pasta directly into the sauce you are going to serve it with so that flavors can truly merge. 

Chef's notes:  "This is a simple recipe, so the quality of the ingredients is extremely important. Using very fresh and high quality eggs is paramount because lesser quality eggs have a much higher water content which will derail the dough. The amount of egg yolks is a key to success because they make the dough extremely elastic and easy to stretch, and - as the yolks are almost all fat - they limit the amount of gluten that can be developed making it nearly impossible to overwork. If using an electric mixer (as we do in the restaurant) we use the dough hook and start with the flour in the bowl and slowly drizzle in the eggs until they are all incorporated. We knead it in the machine a little longer than by hand, maybe 10 minutes total."

** Cooking and storing the pasta: Once you sheet and shape the dough it's best to leave it at room temperature on a floured cookie sheet until you cook it. It's very stable at this point and can hang out for a couple of days, although the longer you wait to cook it the longer it will take to cook.