How To Make Foolproof Fettuccine

If our salute to the food carts of Portland, Oregon, taught us anything, it's that cooking in a scaled-back kitchen doesn't have to mean cutting corners. Rachael Grossman at the cart Artigiano wowed us with her method for making fresh fettuccine. Allowing the pasta to dry out before slicing it prevents sticking, makes for easy cutting, and yields noodles that retain their shape and bite during cooking. See the recipe for Fettuccine with Heirloom Tomatoes »

Rachael Grossman takes her homemade dough and cuts it into manageable pieces. Using a hand-crank pasta-rolling machine, she passes the dough through the rollers repeatedly, decreasing the thickness each time, until she has sheets of pasta that are about 1/16" thick (the 5 on a pasta machine) and smooth.
Then, Grossman drapes the sheets of pasta over a pasta drying rack (you can use a tie rack, dish-drying rack, or sweater-drying rack) for about 5 minutes to allow moisture to evaporate from the surface of the pasta. This keeps the sheets from sticking to one another and makes them easier to cut.
Grossman sprinkles some cornmeal across her work surface, then stacks the sheets of pasta, one on top of another, sprinkling more cornmeal between each layer. Beginning at one end of the stack, she rolls the sheets up into a tight cylinder and positions it seam-side down.
Using a chef's knife, Grossman slices the cylinder crosswise into ¼"-wide ribbons of pasta. She unravels the ribbons by tossing them with a little more cornmeal and separating the ribbons with her fingers. She lets the pasta sit uncovered for a further 10 minutes to dry a little more before she cooks it or transfers to a storage container to use later.
Grossman serves her homemade fettuccine by simply tossing it with heirloom tomatoes. See the recipe »

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