I have a new obsession, and it's homemade pasta. It seems, lately, that I can't get enough of homemade pasta. At restaurants, I crave it, dissect it, analyze everything about it - it's shape, toothsome-ness, texture, thickness. My own homemade pasta has been limited to pappardelle, since that seems to be the only shape that I can't mess up. A couple of weeks ago, however, on one of those terribly frigid Friday nights, we stumbled into a newly opened cozy spot nearby and had one of the best squid ink pastas I'd ever had. It was in a spicy red sauce, perfectly light and hearty at the same time, with shrimp and calamari.
Naturally, I became obsessed and set out to find Tinta de Calamar, even briefly contemplating purchasing a couple of squids so I could harvest it for myself. A quick [and tourist-filled] trip to Eataly, however, proved to be the quickest solution to my hunt.
I gathered my ingredients, two eggs, all purpose flour, semolina, and the tinta.
It comes in little ketchup-like packets. The texture is slightly pasty, but quickly becomes more liquid as it reaches room temperature. The recipe I use is the regular:
- 100g All Purpose Flour (about 3/4 cup) plus more for dusting
- 100g Semolina Flour (about 3/4 cup)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 packet Tinta de Calamar
- 1 pinch kosher salt
In a wide mixing bowl, measure out your dry ingredients and mix. Dig a well into the center to crack your eggs in and add the Tinta. Using a fork, whisk up the eggs. As you whisk, it will slowly start to incorporate the surrounding flour and the squid ink. Keep whisking until a solid blob forms.Once it becomes thicker and crumbly, use your hands to knead the dough and incorporate the surrounding flour. I usually dump all of this onto a work surface. When all of the flour is incorporated, wrap it in saran wrap and let it sit for at least 35 minutes to an hour. This will let the gluten relax a bit and let the moisture from the eggs distribute throughout the dough.
After some time has passed, unwrap the dough. Knead for a good 5 minutes or so, or until there are no air bubbles visible when you cut in a cross section of it. The dough should not stick to your hands when touched, but not be crumbly. It should be nice and smooth and firm.
Using your pasta machine, set it to the lowest setting (on my Atlas machine, it is 0). Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Working one or two pieces at a time, run the piece through the 0 setting, Fold it into thirds, as if you were mailing it in a letter, and run it through the machine again at least 5 times. This creates a nice chewy texture in your pasta!
Next, run it through the 1 setting, then 2, then 3, then - well, you get it. For fettuccine, I run it through until it reaches the 6, flouring in between so that it doesn't stick to the machine. I let it rest while I roll out all of the other pieces.
Lastly, I add the fettuccine cutter attachment on the machine. With the dough slightly dried out from resting and heavily floured, I run it through the fettuccine cutter, hanging each bunch up to dry. (I made a makeshift pasta rack using two chopsticks and 2 tall jars). After the pasta hangs up for about 10 minutes, you can lay them down in little nests if you'd like to freeze it for later use. I cooked mine that evening with some spiced up marinara sauce, clams, mussels, and shrimp. Enjoy!