Fresh Fettuccini (with Truffle Essence)

I love living on a dock where the evening cocktail conversation turns to “Have you cut your pasta yet?” That’s what happens when your skipper turns into Chef Boyardee and you live a few slips down from the Tiny Galley Chef.  Fresh pasta reigns on the C Dock! For my Skipper Doug it all started with the lockdown, turning to bread first, then onto pasta. Hand made and cut initially, until he convinced himself that a hand cranked pasta cutter and pasta drying rack really could fit somewhere on a sailboat.

Fresh pasta is amazingly practical on a cruising sailboat. All you need are eggs, flour and a little olive oil and you’re good to go. Mixing and kneading only takes 15 minutes or so, then it needs to rest. The time consuming part is rolling out and cutting the noodles. But if you’re good with a little more front-end production, it takes far less fuel and water to cook fresh pasta than dried pasta, with less hot steam flowing into your cabin.

Fresh Pasta with Truffle Essence

3 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup semolina
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons truffle salt
Dash of truffle oil

Semolina flour is a bonus but not entirely necessary. You can replace the semolina with regular flour. Place the flour in a bowl. Beat the eggs and olive oil in a separate bowl and add to the flour.

Mix with a spoon, then with your hands, then turn the dough out onto a pastry board. Start kneading…

…and knead and knead and knead. For 10-15 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest in the ice box for at least an hour. Next are the two ways of rolling out and cutting the pasta. First the hard way, free of fancy Italian equipment.

Cut the pasta dough in smaller pieces, like quarters of fifths, to make it easier to roll out. The dough is fairly stiff. Roll out one piece of the dough onto a floured pastry board to about 1/8″ thick and as long as you want the pasta noodles to be. Continue that with the other pieces of dough.

Make sure the pasta sheets are well floured. Starting with the long end, fold over once, then fold over again.  With a very sharp knife, cut the pasta into strips, unfold and let dry. An easy place to let them dry is a cooling rack if you have one on board.

And now for the easy and efficient way to cut pasta, which requires some fancy Italian equipment and some deeps pockets to buy it! The beauty about these pasta machines is that they are hand cranked and do not require electricity. We use the Atlas 150 Macchina Per Pasta made by Marcato.  It can be purchased from a number of places on the internet. It’s fastened by a clamp so you will need a table to secure it to.

The Atlas 150 comes with the flat roller which create the “sheets” and two other sizes of rollers for cutting pasta. It has 13 different accessories for all the different pastas you want to create. 

The Marcato Tacapasta drying rack is very self explanatory to set up. It comes with this cool little gizmo which uses a hollowed out rod for easily placing your noodles on the drying rack arms.

While Skipper Doug is cutting up the pasta, I’m making a light tomato basil sauce to go on top. Since this is pasta infused with truffle essence we don’t want anything too heavy on the sauce. In fact a simple EVOO and herbs would suffice just fine. A diced up mixture of shallots, garlic, hot peppers and tomatoes is all you need. Sauté the first three items in EVOO, add the fresh tomatoes and let cook down to a sauce. Throw in some salt, a couple pinches of sugar and lastly some minced basil.

Next, heat a big pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Gently lay in the pasta and let boil until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and stir in a little EVOO to keep the pasta from sticking together. Serve hot with sauce or straight up with some more EVOO, a press of garlic and herbs.

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