On Good Chef, Bad Kitchen , professionals take on the ultimate challenge: Cooking in a bare, under-utilized kitchen. In this episode, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’s Samin Nosrat makes pasta from scratch — and a killer bowl of fettuccine alfredo.
Even the best kitchens have flaws, and great cooking environments can quickly turn sour thanks to everyday disasters. Which is basically what happened when my gas was turned off for a week, meaning I was without a stove and oven, and thus without a functional kitchen.
Of course, this wouldn’t stop a professional chef, which is why we invited Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat ‘s Samin Nosrat to make her classic handmade pasta in my purely decorative kitchen. The Chez Panisse-trained chef naturally rose to the challenge. “The first time I ever made handmade pasta, I decided to make lasagna from scratch,” Nosrat said. “I started in the afternoon thinking I would serve dinner to my friends and I wasn’t done until three days later.”
To her credit, Nosrat decided to not just make the handmade pasta, but also a creamy, decadent sauce for fettuccine alfredo, all sans stove. Watch above to see how, and read on for the recipe, below.
Samin Nosrat’s Fettuccine Alfredo
For the pasta:
2 cups “00” flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks, plus more if needed
For the sauce:
4 cups heavy cream
3 tbsps butter
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. parmesan hunk
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt, to taste
To make the pasta:
1. Mound the flour on your countertop or in a large, wide mixing bowl. Dig a well into the center of the mound and add the eggs and yolks.
2. Using a fork, beat together the eggs, and carefully, gradually begin incorporating the flour. It will come together in a shaggy mess once half the flour is incorporated.
3. Use your fingers to mix the dough; if you need it, add another egg yolk, a tablespoon of water, or some egg white to help bring it all together. Once it comes together in a ball of dough, like playdough, remove it from the bowl and knead for 4 to 5 more minutes, until it’s smooth and uniform.
4. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for at least 5 to 10 minutes if you’re using “00” flour, or 30 minutes, up to 4 hours at room temperature if you’re using all-purpose flour.
5. After resting, prepare to roll out your dough. Using a rolling pin, or a carefully wielded bottle of wine, roll it out into an inch-thick or so, then fold into thirds and repeat. This is an “extended kneading” process. Then set aside and let rest under a damp towel for another 10 minutes or so.
6. For the final rolling, treat the dough like pie crust and roll outwards from the center, and turning a quarter ever so often in order to get the dough as thin and even as possible.
7. Once you’re almost at your desired thickness, cut the pasta dough to fit your rolling pin. Then, heavily flour the dough, wrap it around the rolling pin or wine bottle, and press down and outwards in order to further stretch the dough. Once the pasta sheet is thin enough to see the outline of your hand through it, it should be ready to go.
8. Flour the pasta sheet and roll it carefully into itself. Cut into noodles about 3/8-inch thick, shake off the excess flour, and set aside under a damp towel.
To make the sauce:
1. If you’re using a microwave, pour 4 cups of cream into a wide shallow bowl. Microwave in one-minute increments or so, stopping every so often to stir the cream and let the steam escape. Your cream should reduce to about 2 cups. (If you’re using a stove, pour the cream into a medium-sized pot and simmer, stirring ever so often, until reduced to 2 cups. This should take about 30 minutes.)
2. Grate the parmesan using a vegetable peeler or grater.
3. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add your minced garlic. Cook gently over low heat until the garlic is softened, before it takes on any color. Add the garlic to the reduced cream.
4. Add the parmesan to the cream mixture, and as much freshly-ground black pepper as you want.
1. Bring a pot of water up to a boil, either in the microwave or on the stove. Salt liberally until it’s “salty as the sea.”
2. Toss in the fresh noodles and cook for 2 minutes or so, until the pasta is al dente and bouncy. Reserve one cup pasta water.
3. Add the cooked pasta to your cream sauce, toss, and add more pasta water as needed to achieve a creamy consistency. Taste, and add salt, pepper, and parmesan to taste. Serve ASAP.
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