I had a pastry/pasta doubleheader going yesterday. I made two loaves of sourdough bread and a batch of linguine and hand cut pappardelle. My sourdough bread is a two day affair beginning with bringing the starter to room temperature from the refrigerator. Actually, the starter was originally made from capturing yeast culture floating in the air. (For more information on that process I direct you to Rose Levy Rosenbaum’s The Bread Bible.) The rises for this sourdough are long, real long, and I always end up baking this bread at around 10:30pm. Last night after the loaves came out of the oven, Rosaria and I carved off a couple of warm slices, poured some olive oil on them, fresh-ground pepper and basil leaves, and wolfed them down. When I came downstairs this morning, I saw Rosaria had had more than just a slice last night, consequently, that’s why there’s only one-and-a-half loaves to photograph today.
So while the bread was finishing its last rise, I made a batch of pasta. For years I had always used 3 large eggs to 2-1/2 cups of flour. About a year or so ago, I read Giorgio Locatelli’s pasta dough formula which calls for 3 whole large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks to 3-1/2 cups of flour. In both cases I use a food processor to make the dough, although mixing and kneading by hand works perfectly well. I prefer Giorgio’s formula; it gives a more flavorful dough. It’s even better if you can let the dough rest for an hour or so. And if you can get your hands on some local free range eggs during the summer when the chickens have been outside eating the stuff chickens eat on the ground in the summer, the bright, almost orange color of the egg yolks give the pasta a wonderful hue.
For a long time I used a hand-cranked pasta machine that makes sheets of pasta by passing the dough through consecutively narrower rollers and then cutting the pieces into either angel hair, linguine, or fettuccine widths. About the same time that I changed my pasta dough formula I started using a pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer. When I make a lot of pasta the Kitchenaid is a real time saver. From time to time, after I roll out the dough into thin sheets, I put a sheet on a floured surface, flour it, roll it up, and then slice it into 1/2-3/4 inch wide rolls. Then I unwind each cut piece and hang it on a rack. I love hand cut pappardelle with their rustic, slightly uneven edges.
While I was making the pasta, I washed and cut up three large leeks into 1/2″ cross cut slices, put them on an oven tray along with some sliced eggplant, and roasted them for about twenty minute. I heated some of our preserved tomatoes, finished the leeks and eggplant in a saute pan with some olive oil, cooked the pasta in boiling water for about a minute, and presto! Homemade pasta with home made sauce.