Squid Ink Pasta

I used to mix pasta dough on the countertop. Then one day I asked myself, why not make it in a bowl? It would contain all of the ingredients – you know so that there wouldn’t be flour everywhere! I’ve been making this dough in a stainless steel bowl ever since. This recipe is inspired by one from Thomas Keller as well as a recipe that I learned while leading one of my culinary tours to Provence. When we were in Provence we served it with seared scallops on rosemary skewers.

1 ¾ cups (8 oz) all-purpose flour, plus some for dusting countertop
6 large egg yolks, room temperature (freeze egg whites for another use)
1 large egg, room temperature
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon squid ink*

Mound the flour in a large bowl. Create a well in the center that is large enough to hold the other ingredients without spilling over the sides.

Pour the remaining ingredients into the well. Using two fingers break up the eggs and begin stirring in a circular motion, keeping everything within the well. This circular motion allows the eggs to gradually pull in flour from the sides of the well. It is important that the flour not be incorporated too fast, otherwise the dough may have lumps.

Keep stirring the eggs while slowly incorporating the flour. The dough will begin to hold together. At that time add any remaining flour with a flexible pastry scraper by lifting the flour up and over the dough that’s beginning to form into a ball. Bring the dough together with the palms of your hands and form it into a ball. Note: If the time of year is very dry all of the flour may not be incorporated.

Clean your fingers of dough and wash your hands. (It’s surprising how much easier it is to knead the dough with clean hands.) Turn the dough onto a clean, smooth countertop dusted with a bit of flour. Knead the dough by pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand. Form the dough into a ball and knead it again.  If the dough becomes too sticky add a bit more flour to the countertop.

Keep kneading the dough by pushing it away from you until the dough becomes silky-smooth.  The dough is ready when you can push your finger into the dough and it snaps back into place. The kneading process can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. Even if you think you are finished kneading, knead it for another 10 minutes. You cannot over-knead this dough! It is important to work the dough long enough to pass the poke test; otherwise, when it rests, it will collapse.

Double-wrap the dough in plastic wrap to ensure that it does not dry out. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour before rolling it through a pasta machine. The dough can be made a day ahead, well wrapped and refrigerated; bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Cut the dough into quarters setting 3 of the 4 pieces under the plastic wrap. Flatten the piece of dough so that it will fit through the first setting of the pasta machine. Fold the dough into thirds and roll again on the first setting. Do this 3 or 4 times before moving to the second setting. The dough gains strength, as it were, by re-rolling it through the first setting.

Next roll it once through the second setting and then move to the third setting. Proceed in this manner until you have reached the eighth setting. (Note – my machine has nine settings with the last one rolling the dough too thin.) After the final rolling out of the dough set it on a well floured surface and cover with plastic wrap. Do the same for the other 3 pieces of dough.

After all the dough been rolled out move to the linguini or fettuccine setting and cut each of the four pieces on this setting.  Hang the dough over a wooden dowel to dry for up to a couple of hours.

When ready to cook bring water to a boil in a large stock or pasta pot. Add a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt to the water. Cook the pasta for about 3 minutes or until al-dente. Top with a light sauce and serve.

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