Monday, September 16, 2013

Spinach Fettuccine w/ Seared Scallops [Matt]

I've never attempted to measure my ingredients for making pasta. Half the fun comes from getting your hands into the dough and adding pinches of things as you go along. Here's my best attempt at the process of making fettuccine (supplement with YouTube videos if you're more of a visual learner).

Fettuccine Ingredients:
4 Whole Eggs
3 Additional Egg Yolks
3 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/3 Cup Half-&-Half
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
(For Spinach variation, food process 2 cups spinach into a minced consistency and add to the bowl)

Since I have no one to impress with fancy cooking antics, I mix my dough in a large mixing bowl. This saves me from dealing with the mess of yolks ingrained into my counter top and keeps flour from going in every direction.

Dump the 3~ cups flour into the large mixing bowl. Make a divot in the center of the flour to put your eggs. Add in the 4 whole eggs and 3 additional yolks (please, do yourself a favor and splurge on the 'cage-free organic'. It REALLY does make a difference with end pasta texture). Add the olive oil, half-&-half, sea salt and spinach (if you're swinging that way).

I use a solid-state whisk to slowly start blending the eggs together. You want to gradually start pulling in flour until it clumps to the point where you wonder why I told you to use a whisk in the first place. Scrape the dough off the whisk with your fingers. Start mashing the dough together in the bowl with your hands until it doesn't really seem like any more flour is getting added to your ball. 

Remove the semi-dough ball from the bowl, flour your counter, and pretend your dough ball is a Bop-It (twist-it, turn-it, mash-it, press-it, etc?). Once your dough ball has reached the strange state of firming up, yet a bit smooth when pulled, put the ball aside under a damp dish towel. Let it rest while you set up your pasta crank.

Once your pasta crank is together, make sure you have some place to rack your pasta. I use pasta rack trees. They're dope.

Take a pinch of dough, you'll really have to eyeball it, and run through the crank in descending numerical order. Fold the dough over a few times when putting it through the initial notch 8, eventually progressing down to notch 2 (second to last as far as thickness).

I recommend dusting your counter / the bottom of the rolled pasta sheet with flour. This will help prevent the pasta sheet from sticking as it slides through the machine.

Run the sheet of dough through the fettuccine crank attachment. Take the shaped pasta and hang it on your drying rack(s). Do this until you're out of dough. 

Scallop Ingredients: 
1 lb Large Bay Scallops

Get a big pot of water boiling - add in a splash of olive oil and pinch of salt. This helps the pasta from sticking to itself and raises boiling point. 

Take out your favorite large searing pan. Lightly coat the bottom with melted butter as you bring the heat up to med-high. Lightly dust both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper, then plop them onto the pan. It's key not to shift their position or turn them over until the bottom of scallops have a proper light brown sear, otherwise the meat will tear. The sear will take around 2 - 3 minutes on each side pending heat. The key is to get that golden brown without over cooking the scallops. 

When you are about to turn your scallops over, add your pasta to the boiling water. The pasta, since it's fresh, should only take 2 - 4 minutes to cook (depends on thickness of pasta vs. water temp). Pull out a strand or two and be sure to try it before dumping it into the sieve. 

Time to multi-task. Flip your scallop, then start to heat up a third pan. Add in a splash of olive oil on medium heat to the fresh pan. When your pasta finishes boiling, sieve it, then shake it to get any remaining water out. Dump the pasta into the heated oil. Sauté the pasta for about a minute and a half, then plate. Your scallops will probably finish cooking before the pasta, so put them to the side to rest.

To go next-level, like the dish below, you can sauté onion, asparagus and prosciutto before adding in you pasta. This will take a bit more planning and should be started right around when you dump you pasta in to begin boiling.

Finish with some fresh grated lemon zest and parmesan reggiano.

Best of luck and feel free to experiment once you get the hang of it!

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