Nothing screams Italian food like pasta, which is why when I was in Rome a couple of years ago, I leaped at the chance to take a cooking class on handmade fettuccine. The cozy cooking class was held in a charming family apartment that’d been lived in for generations, and the description claimed to provide an authentic experience with no machines or special equipment required. After that, my whole world opened up, and I was making fresh pasta left and right. I’m so thankful to Angela and her Nona Anna for sharing their love of traditional Roman food with the world. It was such a pleasure to get to know the two of them and experience their passion for food firsthand. Since then, I’ve made pasta in some form at least three dozen times and am so eager to share this super simple recipe with you! But first, a few words on the humble noodle…
The plight of the pasta noodle
An archaeological discovery revealed that China is home to the earliest evidence of noodles when the team recovered a bowl of noodles that was at least 4,000 years old! But how did they get to Italy? Well, history tells us there are a few options. One popular legend says that Marco Polo brought the technique of noodles to Italy in the 13th century when he was galavanting around the Mediterranean. While Marco Polo may have brought plenty with him on his travels, noodles weren’t one of them. An Etruscan tomb from 4th Century BC shows natives making pasta, meaning pasta not only predates Western exploration, it also predates the Romans. Some food historians will counter that even if the Etruscans were technically making pasta, it wasn’t like today’s and didn’t become popularized until the influence of Asian/Mediterranean trading. Whether it was influenced by Chinese noodles or is an ancient Etruscan dish – one thing is true, pasta is Italian. No matter the length of time and spotted origin, Italians have claimed fame to pasta, and for that – I am happy. After all, it gave us incredible dishes like vermicelli alla puttanesca, rigatoni alla carbonara, and the classic tagliatelle alla bolognese.
4 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour divided 2 + 1 cup
1 tsp salt
Start with 2 cups of flour (set aside the remaining cup) and mix in your salt. Make a nest in the center and crack in the eggs.
Mix until combined and add flour a table spoon at a time until you get a dough like consistency that is kneadable - save the rest for dusting and rolling later. Knead for about 5 minutes.
After kneading, place in a sealed bag or wrap for 40 minutes - 1 hour.
Divide the dough into four pieces. Roll out as thin as possible. Once you've got it as thin as you can, wrap the dough around the pin and work back ad forth while moving your hands between the middle and outer sides. This helps to further thin the dough.
If you prefer, you can trim the dough into a perfect rectangle if you want perfect noodles. I save the scraps for later noodles - no waste!
Now fold the dough like a letter. Pull the bottom half to the middle and fold the top over as many times as you need to have an edge to pull up from. See the photo above - there is an edge on the top that I can pull from once I cut the strips.
Cut into 1/4 strips, pull up and hang on clean hanger for 15 minutes.
Remove pasta from hangers and boil in large pot for 2-3 minutes.
Serve with sauce of choice and enjoy!