Homemade Fettuccine with a Fresh Tomato Olive Sauce

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on August 9, 2013

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As many of you know, the husband and I recently returned from an amazing trip to Italy. One of the highlights of our trip was a day-long cooking class we took through Convivio Rome – run by a husband and wife team, Sally and Guido, in a tiny medieval town named Toffia.

We literally spent the entire day with them – from 10am-5:30pm and enjoyed every minute of it! And as a result, I came away with three delicious, authentic, healthy Italian recipes to share with all of you 🙂

So this is Part One of Cook like an Italian: Fettuccine alle Olive (or: Fettuccine made from scratch with a fresh tomato and olive sauce, served with shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese)

Before I start with the recipe, I have to tell you a little bit about our cooking class experience. We took about a 45 minute train ride from Rome to a small town near Toffia, where Sally was there to greet us with a warm smile and enthusiastic welcome. On the drive to her and Guido’s house, we learned a bit about the history of these medieval towns and what our day would be like. Toffia is a quaint, rustic, cozy little town that makes you feel like you are far away from the bustling city of Rome. It has gorgeous views with groves of fresh olive trees everywhere – and we couldn’t resist taking a few pictures.

TOFFIA CLASS COLLAGE-2

We arrived in Toffia and took a little walking tour through the town, picked fresh herbs from a nearby garden to use in our cooking (I nearly died when I smelled the fresh lemon verbena), and headed to meet Guido – our chef instructor for the day.

Our class started with making the fresh pasta from scratch – using nothing but our hands and an enormous wooden cutting board. First, we had to get all of our ingredients ready.

The Ingredients

For The Pasta: 

  • 350g (about 1.5 cups) of flour (you can use any combo you like – we used half 00 and half 0 flour – but you can mix it up with whole wheat, semolina, etc.)
  • 3-4 eggs

For The Sauce:

  • 100g (0.4 cups – a little more than 1/3 cup) of whole, unpitted black olives (get a smaller variety as they will remain whole in the sauce)
  • 1 carrot minced
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 sticks celery minced
  • fresh marjoram or oregano (a couple sprigs)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bottle of tomato passata (you can also use 28oz crushed tomatoes and run them through a seive)
  • salt to taste
  • garlic – at least 1 clove, up to 3-4 cloves if you really love garlicky sauces
The Directions – Pasta
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Step 1: On a clean, wooden cutting board, create a well in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into the center. Carefully mix the eggs with a fork as if you were making an omelette, bringing a little bit of flour each time you mix into the eggs. The key here is not to break the outside of the “well” before the eggs are completely mixed into the flour, otherwise you’ll have eggs running all over your cutting board (not fun!).
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Step 2: Once the eggs and flour begin to mix (so there are no runny eggs left), start working the dough with your hands until the mixture is smooth but firm. Kneading the dough takes a bit of time! At first the dough isn’t completely mixed together and is a bit rougher to the touch…
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We all took turns kneading the dough because it was tiring 🙂 My turn next…
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Finally when the dough is ready, it becomes super soft and a little shiny too.
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Step 3: Let dough rest for 20-30 minutes. After 30 minutes, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until extremely thin (you should be able to see the dark part of the cutting board faintly through the dough) and as circular as possible. Keep dusting with flour as you roll it out. This rolling out process also takes quite a bit of time. First, we rolled out the edges of the ball of dough – making it look a little like a flying saucer (see the first picture in the sequence below).
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Guido taught us a trick of rolling the dough around the rolling pin and spreading it out with our hands — helped to make the dough stay rolled out instead of springing back.
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ROME PASTA RECIPE FINAL-2
The dough kept growing and growing in size, getting thinner and thinner, as we rolled it out. Eventually it was almost paper thin! We really could see the cutting board through the dough.
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Step 4: When it’s thin enough, sprinkle cornmeal on the cutting board and the dough (to help prevent it from sticking). Fold up the dough into a flat “burrito” before you begin slicing it with a sharp knife.
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IMG_7981 ROME PASTA RECIPE FINAL1-2
Step 5: Now the dough is ready to cut! Slice the dough with a sharp knife into 1/4 inch thick (or slightly less thick) slices.
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Step 6: As you cut the fettuccine, be sure to ruffle it up with your hands a bit and add cornmeal as needed to keep it light and to prevent sticking (as it sits)
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Step 7: Cook in salty, boiling water for just 3-4 minutes until al dente.
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Tip for cooking pasta: Italians always cook pasta super “al dente.” Al dente pasta (which in Italy, is more than what you’re typically used to thinking of as “al dente”)  is actually much healthier than cooking pasta for the entire time most package directions call for. Al dente pasta is lower glycemic – which means that it doesn’t give you that blood sugar spike and crash that typical carbs do. It also takes much longer to chew and digest, which means you’re likely to eat much less of it in the same period of time. After eating al dente pasta you don’t feel that same heavy/bloatedness that you could get from eating a whole plate of regularly cooked pasta. I actually like the taste and texture of al dente pasta better too. So next time you make pasta – try cooking it just a little bit less than normal – enough so that it has a noticeable “bite.” That way you can have your pasta and eat it too!
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Before we actually cooked the pasta, we started on the sauce.
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The Directions – Sauce
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Step 1: Finely mince all the vegetables and the garlic. This is called “sofrito” in Italy.
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Step 2: Fry the veggies in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add a little white wine to reduce, then add the tomato sauce (passata), whole olives, marjoram/oregano and salt.
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Step 3: Simmer the sauce for 40 minutes. When the sauce is about 5 minutes from being done, cook your pasta. Drain your pasta (don’t rinse it!) and mix the sauce with the pasta.
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Step 4: Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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And then, we started on the next two dishes on our menu – the stuffed zucchini blossoms and ricotta tart! But those two recipes are coming soon in a later post 🙂

Needless to say, we had worked up quite an appetite when we got around to eating!

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The pasta was perfectly cooked, the sauce was full of flavor, and I couldn’t believe how simple this recipe was with just a few ingredients. You could really tell how fresh and high-quality the ingredients were, and it was undeniable that homemade pasta was in a different echelon of food.

It was truly slow food, hand-made, locally sourced, and felt healthy and hearty.

You can use this pasta recipe as a base for just about any additional ingredients – veggies, cheeses, etc. But sometimes it’s just fun to eat the simple original version.

Don’t you just want to take a bite?

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Homemade Fettuccine with a Fresh Tomato Olive Sauce

Total Time: 2 hours

Yield: 10 servings

Calories per serving: 209

Fat per serving: 8.1g

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 209 Calories, 8.1g Fat, 366.8mg Sodium, 24g Carbs, 1.5g Fiber, 4.9g Sugar, 10.3g Protein

Ingredients

    Pasta
  • 350g (about 1.5 cups) of flour (you can use any combo you like - we used half 00 and half 0 flour - but you can mix it up with whole wheat, semolina, etc.)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • Sauce
  • 100g (0.4 cups - a little more than 1/3 cup) of whole, unpitted black olives (get a smaller variety as they will remain whole in the sauce)
  • 1 carrot minced
  • 1 small onion minced
  • 2 sticks celery minced
  • fresh marjoram or oregano (a couple sprigs)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bottle of tomato passata (you can also use 28oz crushed tomatoes and run them through a seive)
  • salt to taste
  • garlic - at least 1 clove, up to 3-4 cloves if you really love garlicky sauces
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (to top the pasta)

Directions

    Pasta
  1. On a clean, wooden cutting board, create a well in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into the center. Carefully mix the eggs with a fork as if you were making an omelette, bringing a little bit of flour each time you mix into the eggs. The key here is not to break the outside of the "well" before the eggs are completely mixed into the flour, otherwise you'll have eggs running all over your cutting board (not fun!).
  2. Once the eggs and flour begin to mix (so there are no runny eggs left), start working the dough with your hands until the mixture is smooth but firm. Kneading the dough takes a bit of time! Finally when the dough is ready, it becomes super soft and a little shiny too.
  3. Let dough rest for 20-30 minutes. After 30 minutes, roll out the dough with a rolling pin until extremely thin (you should be able to see the dark part of the cutting board faintly through the dough) and as circular as possible. Keep dusting with flour as you roll it out.
  4. When it's thin enough, sprinkle cornmeal on the cutting board and the dough (to help prevent it from sticking). Fold up the dough into a flat "burrito" before you begin slicing it with a sharp knife.
  5. Slice the dough with a sharp knife into 1/4 inch thick (or slightly less thick) slices.
  6. As you cut the fettuccine, be sure to ruffle it up with your hands a bit and add cornmeal as needed to keep it light and to prevent sticking (as it sits)
  7. Cook in salty, boiling water for just 3-4 minutes until al dente. Note: Wait to cook the pasta until the sauce is done.
  8. Sauce
  9. Finely mince all the vegetables and the garlic.
  10. Fry the veggies in 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add a little white wine to reduce, then add the tomato sauce (passata), whole olives, marjoram/oregano and salt.
  11. Simmer the sauce for 40 minutes. When the sauce is about 5 minutes from being done, cook your pasta. Drain your pasta (don't rinse it!) and mix the sauce with the pasta.
  12. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese

Notes

http://pickyeaterblog.com/homemade-fettuccine-with-a-fresh-tomato-olive-sauce/

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

swathi August 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Love this post and the detailed steps for making the pasta! You truly made most of your holiday in Rome and I can’t wait for you to share the rest of the recipes you learnt from your trip.

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 11, 2013 at 8:43 am

Aw thank you so much Swathi! 🙂 This recipe is certainly time intensive but was super fun to make with a group (it also goes by faster that way!) More recipes coming soon!

Reply

Melanie @ Just Some Salt and Pepper August 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

I’ve always thought about making my own pasta, but I’ve never done it. Your trip sounds like it was fabulous and this dish looks yummy!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater August 13, 2013 at 7:45 pm

You should definitely try it! It’s time intensive for sure, but is really fun to do once in a while 🙂 If you end up trying it out let me know!

Reply

Sally February 27, 2014 at 8:51 am

Hi Anjali,
I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to let you know that as your account and photos of your 1 Day cooking class with us are so spectacular, we would like to place an excerpt from your blog onto our ‘Press’ page on our Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Holidays site. Of course we will acknowledge you and your site and our thanks for your wonderful account. I hope this is all OK with you.
All the best to you and your husband,
from Sally and Guido
Convivio Rome Italian Cooking Holidays

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Hi Sally!
That sounds great! It’s totally ok with me 🙂 I’m so glad you liked my post and photos! We are doing well — our daughter was born on January 12th so we are now adjusting to newborn parent life! Hope you and Guido are doing great too!

Reply

Sally March 2, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Hi Anjali,
Congratulations on the birth of your baby girl, I hope all is going well for all three of you 🙂 Yes it is certainly a big adjustment and the best thing is when she begins to sleep through the whole night!
Guido has uploaded your post and a couple of photos onto our Press page and you can see it (just scroll down) on .
Thanks again for such a great account of your day with us. Good luck with everything and hope to see all three of you back some day, soon. All the best, Sally, Guido and Gemma

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 4, 2014 at 12:16 am

Thanks Sally!! And yes — we are definitely looking forward to a night of uninterrupted sleep hopefully sometime soon! I took a look at your press page and it looks great! Thanks again 🙂

Reply

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