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Author Notes: I'm absolutely addicted to pasta, so I don't need much of an excuse to make it on a weekly basis, but my mother's pasta maker -- passed down from her Italian family -- is what turns a weeknight tradition into a weekend dinner party. When kneading the dough, I always have a moment where I think it won't all come together, but, magically, it does every time, so this shouldn't be an intimidating recipe to any first-time pasta makers. The dough recipe is adapted from the one in Jamie Oliver's "The Naked Chef," because, let's be honest, we all have a bit of a crush on the Naked Chef. —MaggieRosenthal
For the pasta
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 5 large eggs
- Mix the all-purpose flour and the semolina flour in a bowl and until well combined.
- Pour onto a clean surface (or keep in the bowl if you want to keep the pasta dough contained) and create a well in the center of the flour, so that it looks like a volcano.
- Gently whisk your eggs together in a separate bowl, and then pour into the center of the well.
- Slowly pull the flour in from the sides of the well, mixing it with the fork you used to whisk the eggs, or make a swirling motion with your fingers so that the flour is mixed into the egg bit by bit. If some of the egg makes a mad dash for it out of the side of the flour volcano, stop its passage with some flour and guide it back to the middle of the pile.
- When there is enough flour mixed with the eggs so it is not a complete runny mess, knead in the rest of the flour. Knead it for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is silky and elastic.
- Wrap the dough in cling-film and leave it to rest in the fridge for 45 minutes.
- Take it out of the fridge, cut it up into 3-4 portions so it is more manageable, and flatten with your hands.
- Put it through the thickest setting on your pasta maker. Fold it into thirds and repeat. Do this a couple of times -- this is a continuation of the kneading process, making sure that all of the flour and egg is evenly and smoothly combined. Then continue to put it through thinner and thinner settings until your pasta is about 1/16 of an inch thick -- it should be slightly translucent. Then put it through whatever shape cutter you desire -- fettucini works really nicely with this sauce -- and hang it up to dry for 30 minutes, or, like me, let it dry on the counter, but without all of the strands of pasta touching so that they cling together in a ball. (If you don't have a pasta maker, follow all of these steps but use a rolling pin instead of the pasta maker. When you've reached the desired thickness, lightly flower the surface of the pasta sheet, roll it up, and cut it by hand however you like it.)
For the cream sauce
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 cups spinach
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Steam the peas, just enough to defrost them, and set them aside.
- Pour the cream into a pot over a medium heat. Add the cornstarch, whisk, and then the parmesan, and continue whisking together. Heat for five minutes.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and turn the heat down a bit. Add the salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cook the pasta (if freshly homemade, it will cook in about 3 minutes, if packaged, cook al dente according to package's instructions) and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
- Return the pasta to the pot and gently toss with the tablespoon of butter until evenly coated. Then coat with the cream sauce and the reserved cooking water and add in the spinach a handful at a time.
- Serve with the peas on top, along with extra parmesan.