Once you've perfected basic techniques like frying an egg and cooking rice, it's time to move on to those things that may have initially scared you off. Every other Monday, chef Camille Becerra is going beyond the basics to help us tackle even the scariest cooking techniques.
Everyone seems to love squid ink pasta for its shocking color and extra dimension of flavor; the squid ink adds salty, ocean-y notes to fresh pasta. While it's normally found in restaurants, this is a dish that is simple enough to make at home. You just need a little extra time, and one special ingredient.
Homemade pasta is great to make when you're home all day on a weekend and you can leisurely spend the day in the kitchen. Pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, and enjoy the process of pasta making.
To start, measure out 3 cups of flour on your counter or tabletop. If you're not using squid ink, add 3 pinches of salt.
Make a well. Crack four eggs into the well followed by 3 tablespoons of squid ink. With a fork, beat the eggs until smooth. Little by little, add the flour into your egg-ink mixture, making sure that the flour is absorbed before you add more. Do this until you find you no longer need the fork -- this is when you want to begin kneading.
If you find that the dough is forming and you have an excess amount of flour, move the dough off to the side, adding flour only as needed. Keep kneading until a beautiful, smooth dough has formed.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap, then let it rest for at least 2 hours: one in the fridge and one on the counter. This dough can be made up to a day before, and kept in the fridge. Remove from the fridge an hour before you plan on rolling it out.
Cut the dough into quarters, and as you roll out each piece, keep the others covered. When rolling pasta with a rolling pin, be prepared to use a good amount of flour to prevent sticking.
Fold the pasta over itself a few times, and then cut it to your desired width. (Folding it first ensures uniform size.) Let it rest on clean kitchen towels while you prepare to cook it.
Cook in a large pot of sea-salty water until al dente. I like to serve it simply with fresh chili, chili oil, lemon, and grated parmesan.
Photos by Tara Sgroi