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|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
|MAKING EGG NOODLES AT HOME|
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour (1 lb)
4 eggs, at room temperature
3 egg yolks (or 3 tablespoons water)
1 teaspoon salt (optional)
Remove any rings or other jewelry and scrub well with soap and water. Prepare a clean surface for working.
Measure flour and pile in a mountain shape on a clean board. Scoop a well in the center, about 4 inches in diameter. Break 4 eggs, one at a time into a small bowl and drop them into the center well (or if you're confident in your egg-breaking skills, eggs may be broken directly into the well. Add the salt, for extra flavor.
Using your fingertips, stir tiny portions of flour from the inner edges of the flour mound into the egg, incorporating just a little at a time (keep the walls intact or the egg will run out onto the board). Keep stirring until all of the egg, water, and flour is combined to make a pasty mass of somewhat sticky, but dryish dough.
Gather the dough into a mound, make a new indent at the top and then add yolks (or water). Knead the dough into a smooth ball, adding tiny amounts of flour as needed (but try to avoid adding too much). Roll into a ball, and place a bowl or piece of plastic wrap over the dough right on the work surface and leave it to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Flatten, dust the work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll the dough flat, fold into thirds over itself, and roll out again, stretching the dough until it is flat and smooth. Alternatively, the dough can be run through a pasta rolling machine instead of kneading and rolling flat.
To use a pasta rolling machine, get the dough to a consistency where it is coherent and well mixed, roll it into a long thin flattened log shape and pinch one end to feed into the pasta rollers which have been set at the widest setting; feed through. Fold the dough over itself and feed through again, folding either to make the dough narrower to fit the machine or wider if it is too narrow. As the dough approaches the correct width, set the rollers to a thinner setting and continue to decrease until the dough is very thin (this is setting number 3 in the test kitchen's Imperia machine).
The dough may now be air dried for 10 minutes or so and put through a noodle cutter on the roller machine or rolled up jelly-roll fashion and sliced through with a knife at the desired width. Or use the flat sheet of pasta to make ravioli or lasagne.
Noodles will keep several hours covered loosely with a towel, but we use them right away. Freeze the excess, or hang to dry over a broomstick or pasta dryer or dry in a food dehydrator on racks and store in an air-tight jar (be very sure they are thoroughly dried before storing this way).
Clean up: To make clean up easy, allow pasta to air dry, then scrape off surface using a flat-edged spatula, pancake turner, or dough scraper. Clean pasta machines by using a brush. Allow pasta in dies to dry overnight and clean with a pin. Dried pasta flakes off and is easy to clean; do not use water or a glue will form!
Variation: Prepare 1 lb spinach (wash, remove stems, blanch and press dry, chop until very fine in food processor). Substitute the spinach for the 3 egg yolks in above recipe. Dough will be somewhat mottled looking at the start, but becomes smoother with successive rollings.
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