serves: 1 1/2 pounds
Make a whole batch of this pasta dough for Fresh Pasta Quills with Chicken Sauce, Roast Goose with Mlinzi, or Pasutice with Seafood Sauce. Roll, cut, and shape the pasta as detailed below, and use in whichever dish you are preparing.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 tablespoons very cold water, plus more as needed
Put the flour in the bowl of a food processor and process for a few seconds to aerate. Mix the eggs, olive oil, and 7 tablespoons water in a measuring cup or other spouted container. Start the food processor running and pour in the liquids through the feed tube. Process for 30 to 40 seconds until a soft dough forms and gathers on the blade. If the dough does not gather and is wet and sticky, process in more flour in small additions. If it is dry and stiff, process in more water, by spoonfuls.
Turn the dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for a minute until it's smooth, soft and stretchy. Press it into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before using. For later use, refrigerate for up to a day or freeze it for a month or more. Defrost frozen dough in the refrigerator; return it to room temperature before rolling.
Rolling and Shaping Pasutice and Fuzi
To roll the dough in a standard home pasta roller, cut it into 6 pieces. Keeping the dough lightly floured, roll the pieces at progressively narrower settings, gradually stretching them into strips about 2-feet long and as wide as your machine allows, usually about 5-inches. Cut each strip in half crosswise, so you have 12 strips, about a foot in length. Lay them flat on a lightly floured surface and keep covered with towels.
One at a time, slice the strips lengthwise into long ribbons, about 1-1/2 inches wide, using a sharp knife or a rotary pasta cutter and a ruler to guide the blade. You should get 3 such ribbons from a 5-inch wide strip.
Cut across the ribbons with parallel, diagonal slices, spaced 2-inches apart, forming diamond-shaped pasutice (also called maltagliati). Lay them flat on a lightly floured tray or sheet pan, spaced apart in a single layer. When the tray is filled, cover the pasutice with a lightly floured towel, and lay another layer of diamonds on top. Leave the pasutice at room temperature on the tray for a few hours. For longer storage, freeze on the tray until solid, then pack in zipped plastic bags until you are ready to cook them.
First, cut a pasta strip into ribbons and then into diamond-shaped pasutice, as described above.
Roll each diamond around a lightly-floured chopstick or similar-size thin rod to form a hollow tube, resembling a quill. Press on the overlapping pasta to seal the cylinder and slide it off the stick. Roll all the pasta diamonds into fuzi, using up all the remaining dough.
Place the fuzi, spaced apart, on a lightly floured tray, and cover with a floured towel. Fill another tray if needed (do not put one layer on top of another like pasutice). Leave at room temperature for a few hours or freeze on the tray then pack in plastic bags until you cook them.
For mlinzi, you'll need a rolling pin or pasta machine to roll the dough and several half-sheet pans (12- by 18-inches) or other large baking sheets. Arrange your oven racks to hold as many baking sheets as fit comfortably inside and preheat to 300°.
To roll mlinzi by hand, cut the dough into 4 pieces. On a lightly floured board, roll each piece to a rectangle about 11- by 17- inches (to fit in a half-sheet). To roll out in a pasta machine, cut the dough in 6 pieces and roll each piece at progressively narrower settings, into strips about 2-feet long and as wide as your machine allows. Always keep the dough lightly floured and roll until very thin, as for any fresh pasta.
Lay the rolled pasta out flat on the sheet pans, cutting it, as needed to fit, Arrange as many pans as you can in your oven, rotating the pans front to back so the sheets brown evenly and shaking to pans so they don't stick. When they appear dry, flip them over and bake a total of 18 to 20 minutes until the mlinzi are completely crisp and crack apart when bent. They should be pale gold all over or even darker, for a nuttier taste.
Let the mlinzi cool on the sheet pans or move to wire racks, if you need the pans to bake more rolled pasta. When all the mlinzi sheets are baked and cool, stack them up on a tray and leave them uncovered, in a dry place, so the air circulates between the sheets and they remain crisp.