Chef Michael White doesn't need much of an introduction. He's a long-standing Italian food king of New York, with a constantly-expanding portfolio of baller restaurants where there's always pasta on the menu. He stopped by the MUNCHIES test kitchen to show us how he makes fresh pasta.
"It looks like a lot of work," he says, "and sure, it's a little time-consuming, and the first time you do it it might be a little bit daunting, but once you do it a couple of times, it's therapeutic."
When White makes pasta for filled noodles (which these were destined to be), he takes extra steps to make sure the double-dough parts don't get all chewy. To get the necessary super-tender dough action, he opts for 00 flour, an ultra-powdery flour ground twice as finely as all-purpose. (His restaurants keep four different kinds of flour in stock for pasta-making: 00; durum wheat semolina; semolina remacinata, which is kind of like the 00 of semolina; and Manitoba flour, which is a high-gluten wheat flour.)
Once he has his flour measured out, he pours it out on the counter and makes a well in the middle and cracks eggs straight into it. Then he starts whisking the eggs, slowly incorporating bits of flour from the retaining wall—carefully so that the flour dam doesn't flood—till the full amount of flour is incorporated into the eggs. Once that happens, he starts kneading: "your goal is to work the gluten together, and as you do, the dough gets tighter. When you get to the point where the dough starts to dry out, you can cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let it rest and that helps it hydrate."
MAKE THIS: Simple Pasta Dough
We made him use our not-terribly-amazing pasta machine to roll out his dough, which gave us a quick lesson in how to handle ripped-ass dough. "If ravioli dough tears while you're rolling it out, turn it into long pasta or rags—re-rolling's not going to give you a good texture," he explained. He got the dough down to the thinnest possible setting, thin enough to see the wood grain through, and then used a pizza cutter to cut it into 2x2" squares, which he then piped with filling, sprayed with water, and folded into perfect little hat-like blobs, straight up like magic.