A16 Madness: Maccaronara

April 2, 2010

What Nate Appleman explains on one sturdy sheet of paper, I try to do in pictures.  This recipe is from A16:Food+Wine (p.144).  Since getting my tomato stained hands on it, I have regaled this excellent piece of literature and made all of its iconic dishes.

Maccaronara originates from Campana, Italy.  It is a long noodle, yet square in width and depth, roughly 1/8".  It only has one egg, which seems to be 2 eggs too few, but that modesty is what gives it an excellence bite.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, there is no setting on the pasta machine that spits out a decent maccaronara.  Thus, it is rolled out by machine, but cut by hand.

I knead the dough by hand, but you can do it in a Kitchenaid as well-- but what would be the fun in that?! I have paired it with a simple tomato sauce or even a Ragu Napoletana.  It shouldn't be eaten with a very chunky sauce. Leave that to the cavatellis of the world.

Maccaronara Adapted from A16:Food+Wine
Makes 2.5 pounds (Can be frozen for up to 3 weeks), Total time 2 hrs

Note: It is recommended that you have a pasta machine for this.  If you don't, you can always use an empty wine bottle and some good elbow grease to roll it out.

6 c + more for rolling "00" flour (I wouldn't substitute with all-purpose flour, but Nate says you can)
2 t kosher salt
1+1/2 c water
1 egg, lightly beaten

1. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, combine the water and egg.  Mix to combine.
3. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring constantly with a fork to make sure that the liquid is begin distributed evenly.  Knead to incorporate the ingredients, 3 minutes (if using a mixer, set to med-low).
4. If the dough continues to stick to your fingers, add 1/4 c more flour.
5. Remove from bowl and start kneading, a total of 10-12 minutes (if you are using a mixer, continue at med-low).

The point of kneading is the develop the glutens, which will give the noodle a chewy, but not hard, texture.  I like to turn my dough 90 degrees every 10 seconds.  I also like to fold the dough over itself, which stretches the glutens out.
At first the dough will look very bedraggled.  But as you continue to develop the gluten, they will become more pliable.  Those lumps will turn into sheets of stretched out gluten.  

By the twelth minute, the dough will be smoother and will stretch out further.  I have cut a cross section of the dough to show you how evenly distributed the gluten is.  

6. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a moist towel and allow to sit for 30 minutes.  When you push your finger in, it should bounce back slowly. 

7. Cut your dough into 6 pieces and work which each piece individually.  I will describe the mechanism of action for one piece, with the assumption that you will repeat with the rest of the pieces. 

Clear smooth countertop and dust with flour.  Get a large rolling pin or an empty wine bottle -- for all you sober sisters out there, perhaps a long olive jar.  Set up your pasta machine with smooth rollers.  Place a floured cookie sheet into the freezer.  

8. Generously flour and roll out one piece of dough to 1/3 of an inch. Try to make it oblong, so it can fit into your pasta machine.  My machine is about 6 inches wide, so I don't want to roll the dough more than 6 inches wide. 

9.  Pass it through the pasta machine at the #7 setting (~1/6").  Fold the dough into thirds lengthwise and pass it through the machine again.  Fold into thirds and pass through 2 more times. 

10.  Cut the rolled pasta sheet into thirds, approximately 5x5" each.  Generously flour each sheet.  For each third, pass it through the pasta roller at setting #6 (1/7") twice, and then setting #5 (1/8") twice.  The sheet will get longer as you go.  Remember to flour the sheet, so that it does not get stuck to the rollers. The resultant sheets should be 1/8" thick, 5" wide, and 10" long.

11. Stack the three sheets on top of each other, with flour in between each layer.  Roll the three stacks up like sushi. Cut off the uneven ends with a sharp knife.  

12. Cut the roll into 1/8" slices to make slender pinwheels.  Uncoil the pinwheels into strands of noodles.  Dust generously with flour. 

13. Make two small nests out of the noodles. Top with a bit of flour and place on the cookie sheet that has been chilling in the freezer.  

Repeat steps eight through thirteen five more times.  The noodles are very delicate, so they are best kept in the freezer.

To cook, boil the noodles for 60 seconds in salted water.  CAUTION: These noodles cook very fast.  When you think they are 80% done, yank them from the water or else they will overcook!!!!!


gastroanthropologist said...

Just made this! Having pasta for dinner later tonight. I love the a16 cookbook - sadly mine is thousands of miles away. Like your picture explanations esp. because it's so much easier to see how easy pasta is to make when done with pictures.

We Are Never Full said...

nice...very nice.

you want to try a pasta that's not only hand rolled buy hand cut AND then rolled again? ok, maybe you don't. but it's worth it in the end and uses NO eggs: http://www.weareneverfull.com/pici-con-ragu-dellanatra-hand-rolled-tuscan-pasta-with-duck-ragu/

elra said...

Admiring your step by step photos, I also like to use the basic recipe like this tomato sauce from the same author. Well done Katie. I shall try your pasta.

Anonymous said...

Bookmarked to make this pasta soon! Excellent recipe!

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