Making pasta again, this time with a High Gluten flour. Gluten is a combination of the natural proteins found in wheat. High gluten flours are also called strong flours and are used in making bread, bagels, pasta and pizza dough, while weak flours are used for cakes and pastries. The more a dough is kneaded or mixed, the more the gluten is stretched and forms little pockets, that are inflated by the gases from a leavening agent. This is why occasionally you will read a recipe that cautions in over mixing, so you don't stretch the gluten too much, resulting in say, an airy type muffin, when in fact it should be dense.
The February issue of Bon Appetit has a great article on pasta. After reading through the recipe for Spaghetti with Mussels and White Beans, I knew it was time to make fresh pasta.
Pasta Dough Ingredients:
1 2/3 C high gluten flour
2 large eggs
1 Tb olive oil
a pinch of salt
The basics of making pasta is always the same, only some of the ingredients change. Put your pasta in a mound on a clean work surface, make a well in the center to place your eggs, oil and salt. Slowly start working the mixture with your hands from the outside in, until it's cohesive. You may need to add water if it's too dry, or a little more flour if it's too wet or sticky.
Knead it for 5-10 minutes until smooth, then cover and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Proceed to make the particular type of pasta you want, with either a rolling pin and a knife or a rolling machine.
While the spaghetti is drying, begin the sauce.
2 Tb unsalted butter
4 Tb olive oil, plus more for drizzling
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 lb of spaghetti
1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 C dry white wine
2 lb mussels, scrubbed, debearded
1/4 C chopped flat-leaf parsley
Heat butter and 2 Tb oil in a large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, crushing tomatoes lightly with your hands. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens, 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. For fresh pasta, add about 2 Tb of salt to 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Stir only once or twice after adding the pasta, it should not stick, do not cover the pot, and bring it back to a boil. This should take only a couple of minutes to cook until al dente. Taste often to check for doneness. Drain, reserving 1 cup of liquid.
Add beans and wine to sauce. Cook, stirring often, until wine has almost evaporated, about 4 minutes.
Add mussels and 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until mussels open, about 4 minutes. Add pasta and 1/4 cup liquid to mussels and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta.
Divide among bowls. Drizzle with oil; garnish with parsley. I served a wedge of Parmesan on the side for grating.
This was so delicious!