25 July 2011

Egg Linguine turned Fettuccine with Italian Sausage and Zucchini Tomato Sauce

Homemade noodles in homemade tomato sauce.

Making pasta for the Daring Cooks challenge gave me the confidence I needed to try it again. And so I did. On a weeknight. When Bender and I were both hungry. Maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had, but it ended up not being a terrible one. If you only ask me.

I was determined not to over-flour the dough this time. The Pappardelle as so difficult to roll out, and I had such a headache while doing it that it was actually a quite unpleasant experience. The noodles were pretty thick and chewy, not a favorite around here, despite Bender’s comment that they were well made (I’m beginning to think he might have said that in hopes that I wouldn’t make pasta again). Overall, I was okay with the final dish, but not pleased. So I had to make pasta again and make it tasty, right? Silly me, having to prove to myself that I can make something properly.

I’ve been making an Italian Sausage and Zucchini Tomato sauce probably 2-3 times a month during the summer and weekly during the winter since Bender and I got married. During this time it has evolved quite a bit, but it mostly resembles the original. Of course, I measured when I first started making it and never do now, but I’ll give you my rough estimate for the sauce.

Italian Sausage and Zucchini Tomato Sauce
source: Fabulously Fun Food original, serves 4

1-28 ounce can tomatoes, whole (or diced or crushed)

1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 medium zucchini, shredded using the coarse shredder on your box grater
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
½-1 pound Italian sausage (hot or mild), depending on how much meat you like in your sauce, castings removed
1 pinch sugar (if needed)
salt and pepper, to taste
red chile flakes, to taste (optional)
Freshly grated Parmesan to pass

Add can of tomatoes to a cold pot and break up using your hands or the back of a spoon. Rinse can with ¼ can of water, twice, adding the liquid to the pot instead of dumping down the drain. Add basil through zucchini, cover loosely and turn heat to medium.

In a skillet, add olive oil and onions. Turn heat to medium high and sauté until onions become translucent, stirring occasionally (~5-8 minutes, depending on how quickly your pan heats up). Add onions to tomato sauce, turning down the heat on the sauce if needed.

Return your skillet to the medium high heat and add Italian sausage. Brown sausage, crumbling it as it cooks (~8 minutes). If needed, drain meat before adding it to the tomato sauce. By now the sauce should be able to simmer over low heat, loosely covered.

Taste the sauce for salt, pepper, red chile flakes, and garlic, adding more spice if needed. At this point in time you can either walk away and let the sauce simmer for up to an hour (or two, stirring occasionally) or you can proceed with making or cooking your pasta, depending on how much time you have.

Taste sauce again for salt, pepper, and garlic before serving over pasta of your choice (we enjoy spaghetti and angel hair, but it would also be good with a tubular ribbed pasta). I like to let everyone serve themselves because everyone has their own perfect sauce to noodle ratio. Pass freshly grated Parmesan at the table.

Egg Linguine turned Fettuccine
source: adapted from the Daring Cooks Challenge recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 jumbo eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
water, as needed (I needed about a teaspoon)

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Push the flour out of the very center of the bowl, to make a well. Add the olive oil to the beaten eggs and mix lightly. Pour the egg mixture into the well.

Slowly incorporate the flour into the egg by mixing a small amount of flour into the well at a time and mixing until incorporated. Start by mixing in flour around the perimeter of the egg, and gradually widening the mixing to include more and more flour. Mix until all of the egg is mixed into the flour.

At this stage, use your hands to try to form a rough ball. If the dough is too dry, add a few drops of water and incorporate. Be careful to not add too much liquid – it's better to slowly add water as needed, as opposed to trying to add more flour to a sticky dough. Use your fingers instead of pouring water directly into the dough. This ensures a minimal amount of water is added, and is more evenly distributed.

Knead the dough for a few minutes, until it is smooth. Roll the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside to rest. It should be allowed to rest for at least 15 minutes, at most 2 hours. Take this time to set up your pasta roller, and/or to prepare the sauce. (Or hang your laundry and go to the store for the forgotten Parmesan cheese.)

Divide dough into four equal pieces. Take one piece to start, and put the remaining back into the plastic wrap so that they don't dry out.

Form the piece of dough into a ball, and then flatten using the palm of your hand. Use a rolling pin to create a thin elongated oval. 

Place the dough horizontally on your work surface, and fold the long ends into the center, so that they meet. Press down on the edges to seal them. At this stage, you should have a rectangular shape.

Roll into a long, thin rectangle. Carefully flip the thin dough over, and dust with flour on both sides. 

Carefully roll the dough up (like rolling up a yoga mat). Choose how wide your noodle will be, and using a very sharp knife, cut through the rolled up dough. Unroll the noodles as you go to prevent sticking.

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water (put at least 2 tablespoons of sea salt in a 6 quart pot). Cook for just 1-2 minutes or until the pasta floats and is tender.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Serve immediately with sauce of choice.

Noodles, anyone?

Sauce: We like our tomato sauce with a lot of kick, both in the sausage and in the sauce. We prefer it to leave a slow burn in the mouth, so I generally add several pinches of red chile flakes. Rest assured, the sauce is still good without it. If I’m in hurry to get dinner on the table, I will start the water boiling for the pasta as soon as the meat goes into the tomato sauce, but we enjoy it a bit more when the sauce has more time to simmer. To loosely cover my pot, I leave a wooden spoon in the sauce before covering it with the lid. This allows some water to escape and prevents the sauce from bubbling too much.

Noodles: Putting the dough together is super fast (~5 minutes). Rolling out the dough is surprisingly fast when you have enough liquid in the dough. Unrolling the dough after cutting? That’s when “Dinner will be ready in half an hour” turned into (half an hour later) “Dinner will be ready when I finish unrolling these darn noodles.” To be fair, I did not flour the dough enough before rolling it up like a yoga mat, so that slowed me down. Rolling out the second half of the dough went much faster than the first half because I learned to use more flour. And why did I turn the linguine into fettuccine? Fettuccine is wider so I wouldn’t have as many strips of dough to unroll! As it turns out, Bender would have preferred all the noodles to be the same width and length. With a pasta roller, that is very doable. I may be making a purchase in the next couple years...

Yep-you've-still-got-it: 1 vote
Yep-I've-still-got-it: 1 vote

These-noodles-don’t-stay-on-my-fork-properly: 1 vote
These-noodles-are-good-but-I-need-more-practice-before-I-can-pull-this-off-on-a-weeknight: 1 vote

We might like our Parmesan...


  1. WOW! Homemade fettuccine looks amazing!

  2. Ok I'm impressed! Those noodles look amazing, and the sauce... DANG! I'm hungry

  3. It looks really yummy to me!

  4. You made them without a machine - bravo and top spot goes to you. It looks wonderful....and yep, understand all too well about the sticking! We learn....

  5. Yum this looks delicious!

  6. Hi there. Food on Friday this time is all about sausages! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.


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