If I have a few unspoken for hours on a Sunday, I’ll make pasta. Fettuccine is the preferred meditation. Something about the thick strands. Or maybe I just find attempting angel hair causes the release of too many four-letter words. That level of delicacy often has me swearing like a sailor.
I scooped up some duck eggs at a recent Formaggio Kitchen trip. Duck. A four-letter word much more suitable for pasta.
It’s entirely unnecessary to use such eggs of grandeur in this setting. But there is something lovely about the sound of duck egg pasta. And—if you’ll allow me to get overly precious—the whole wheat flour used here is from Misty Brook Farm, a local.
Misty Brook grows and mills heirloom Red Fife wheat in Barre, Massachusetts. And while whole wheat pasta can be gummy and heavy, old Red Fife wants none of that. It’s a hard red spring grain often used for bread flour. Here the pasta emerges nutty and earthy, speckled with hazelnut-colored flecks.
It also requires less than a minute of cooking once tossed in a pot of water. And it made for the most incredible Tuesday night dinner, paired with linguiça, chickpeas, a little garlic and sherry vinegar, and a shaving of pecorino. A roll this pasta was born to play.
So three duck eggs replace the standard four chicken. Two parts whole wheat to one part white flour. Sheets of pasta cut whisper thin. No swearing. Just fettuccine fork twirling.
Whole Wheat Duck Egg Fettuccine
3 duck eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
fine cornmeal, for dusting
Place the eggs in a food processor and add the flour and salt and pulse until it comes together and forms a rough dough (you may need to add a little water to soften it, I added about 3 tbsp). The dough should hold together when pressed into a mass and should be soft, but not sticky. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest about 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into manageable portions (4 to 6 pieces) and pass each piece through a pasta roller or press. (I use a Kitchen Aid attachment and start at “1” and then pass the dough through until setting “6.”) You want it as thin as you can get it without tearing.
Cut into strands (I used the fettuccine cutter attachment). Hang the strands over a clothes drying rack, broom handles, chairs, whatever works, to let them dry out slightly. (Dust whatever you are using with flour to prevent sticking.)
After the pasta becomes a little less soft and flexible (though you should still be able to bend it), dust it with cornmeal and shape the strands into little nests. At this point you can store them in the freezer for awhile or in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Makes enough for 4
-If you don’t have duck eggs, you should be able to substitute 4 chicken eggs. Add a little flour or water if the dough is too sticky or too dry. (Usually I don’t have to add any water with this ratio if I’m using 3 cups of all-purpose flour.)