Homemade Pasta in a Tomato Pancetta Sauce

pasta

Homemade pasta is a revelation! This fettuccine has the most delicate tenderness but maintains a hearty chew. It is perfect for soaking up delicious sauces like this beautiful and simple tomato pancetta sauce. I have also tossed batches of homemade fettucine in a mushroom cream sauce and in chicken cacciatore for extra oomph. However you eat it, this pasta is heaven. And if you have the right equipment (i.e., an electric pasta roller), it is surprisingly easy and fun to make.

pasta

To make enough pasta for two main courses, add 1/2 cup of flour to a bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour, and crack in 1 egg. Drizzle in about 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, and throw in a pinch of salt.

pasta

Using a fork, scramble the egg in the center of the bowl. When the egg is scrambled, begin incorporating the flour. The flour should begin to form a craggy dough. Use your hands to ball the dough up, but don’t worry if you can’t pick up all of the crumbs. Those can be left behind.

pasta

Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and knead it. Smash it with the heel of your hand, fold it over, and repeat. Add flour until the dough is just barely tacky and easy to handle. The dough should take on a uniform consistency. Pat it down into a disc.

pasta

If you’re using a KitchenAid pasta roller, set it to number 1. Otherwise, use your pasta roller’s widest setting. Run the pasta through the roller. Flour the pasta lightly if it is too tacky. Then, fold it into thirds, and slap down on it to remove any air bubbles. Continue passing the pasta through the roller at setting 1, flouring if necessary, and folding it into thirds until it becomes elastic. When you pull down on the pasta, it should bounce back to its original shape.

pasta

Once the pasta is elastic, turn the roller to setting number 2, or the next thickest setting. Pass the pasta through once. Do not fold it. Continue decreasing the roller settings, passing the pasta through once, until you reach setting number 8, or the thinnest setting. If the pasta gets too long to manage during this process, you can use a sharp knife to cut it into sections. Just remember which setting the pasta was on when you cut it so you can continue rolling where you left off.

pasta

Once the pasta is rolled out, swap the pasta roller for the pasta cutter, preferably the fettucine cutter. Pass each sheet of pasta through the cutter, collecting the pasta strands. Use one hand to drop a few pasta strands at a time onto a baking sheet while using your other hand to shake on corn meal. The corn meal will keep the pasta from sticking to itself. Because the pasta has raw egg in it, do not let it sit at room temperature for longer than 1 hour. You should have your pasta sauce fully prepared before you boil the pasta.

pasta

This tomato pancetta sauce is very simple and delicious. To start, heat a pan and add 4 ounces of cubed pancetta. Let the pancetta fully render its fat and brown. If it needs more oil, drizzle in some olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-low, and drop in 2 minced garlic cloves. The garlic should soften but not brown. Then, add in 16 ounces of halved grape tomatoes. You can quickly halve grape tomatoes by placing them in a single layer between two plastic container lids- the kind that comes with wonton soup takeout. Press the lids together horizontally against a flat surface with one hand, and use a knife to cut between them. Once in the pan, the grapes will burst and melt into a sauce. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons of sliced basil.

pasta

When the sauce is ready, cook the pasta in at least 2.5 quarts of salted, boiling water for 2-3 minutes. The pasta will swell and turn paler, but you should not let it get mushy. Immediately transfer the pasta into the tomato sauce. Stir in small amounts of the pasta water if you need to thicken the sauce. Dish the pasta into bowls. Top it with grated parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and more sliced basil. I really hope you try this recipe and get to experience the pure joy fresh pasta can bring!

Shopping list:

For the pasta

  • Flour- 1/2 cup
  • Egg- 1
  • Olive oil- 1/2 tablespoon
  • Salt- a pinch

For the sauce

  • Pancetta- 4 ounces
  • Garlic- 2 cloves
  • Grape tomatoes- 16 ounces
  • Basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
  • Parmesan cheese (for topping)
  • Pine nuts (for topping)
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