I had a suspicion that when I made fresh pasta/noodles for the first time, I would likely get addicted to the process.
It is incredibly satisfying knowing that all it takes is flour, a liquid like eggs or water, time and a pasta machine to make fresh pasta/noodles from scratch. So here is my encouraging nudge to dust off a pasta machine you may have tucked away in your pantry and bring it out for the sake of trying something new!
I’ve been meaning eyeing the Scallion-Ginger Chicken Soup from Cynthia’s new cookbook, A Common Table, for several months now, and the rainy weather the past few weeks was all I needed to make this comforting soup. I like recipes that are simple, with very few ingredients, but have great flavor, and this soup is that type of recipe. Cynthia’s recipe boils dumplings or pieces of dough in the hot soup. I recommended this recipe to my sister, Kristen, and she said she switched out the dumplings for soup noodles. I knew I would like noodles better, so I decided it was finally time to try using a pasta machine for the first time.
You can make noodles completely by hand with a rolling pin and a knife, but since I had the machine and had never used it, I thought it was now or never. It was very satisfying to roll out flat sheets of noodle dough and then use the spaghetti adjustment to cut them into thin noodles. With the spaghetti adjustment, these noodles became very ramen-like and had just the right width and chew that I envisioned they would.
This soup was perfect for the cold, rainy days and was my food of choice to protect me from getting sick. Either it was that or the amount of mandarin oranges I had this weekend. *touch wood* Nonetheless, I’m very happy that it was a successful dish for my first time making noodles from scratch.
Now, I’m thinking of a million other ways to use a pasta machine, including drying pasta for future Christmas gifts. I’m open to suggestions!
Scallion-Ginger Chicken Soup with Fresh Noodles
Soup adapted from A Common Table
Noodles from Omnivore’s Cookbook
Yields: 6 servings
The noodles can be frozen raw and boiled when desired. There is no need to thaw them out. However, they literally only need to boil a minute or two before they become overdone and too soft so I would recommend only cooking the amount you are going to eat immediately and watching them closely.
Because you are boiling skin-on and bone-in chicken to make the broth, the end result is rather fatty. If you’d like to eliminate as much of the fat as possible, after boiling, let the soup barely simmer undisturbed. This will allow the fat to remain on top of the broth and not homogenize with the soup itself. Use a spoon to scrap as much of the fat off as possible. You can also strain the broth, chill it over night and scrape the fat off the next morning. Bring to a simmer and add the shredded chicken to reheat.
3½ cups (500 grams) flour, plus extra to dust the working surface
240 milliliters water (slightly less than 1 cup), room temperature
Scallion-Ginger Chicken Soup
2 pounds chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin-on and bone-in
1½ teaspoons salt
3-4 scallions, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about ½ cup)
3 inches ginger root, sliced into ⅛-inch pieces (about ⅓ cup)
6 cups water
Soy sauce, for serving
Add flour into a large bowl. Slowly add water and mix with a spatula until water is fully absorbed. Knead by hand in the bowl until dough forms and the bowl is clean of flour. You may need to add a few more drops of more water if the dough is too dry. Dust a working surface (or large cutting board) with flour and transfer the dough onto it. Knead until the surface of the dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. The dough should feel very tough and should be able to easily be lifted from the bowl without sticking to the bottom.
Dust a bowl with flour and transfer the dough into the bowl. Cover the dough with a clean dish towel. Cover the bowl with a lid (or plastic wrap). Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to 3 hours. Alternatively, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge overnight. Bring to room temperature before using again.
When ready to form noodles (you can do this while the soup below is simmering), cut the dough into four parts for flattening. Cover the rest of the parts with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent the dough from drying out. Set up your pasta machine and dial it to the widest setting (on the machine I have, this is setting 7). Flatten your first piece of dough to about ¼-inch thick. This will help when you are feeding it into the pasta machine. Dust with flour and feed through the widest setting. Dust with flour again and fold in half length-wise. Feed the bottom edge of the folded dough in the machine for the next round. Repeat this process 2-4 more times until your sheet becomes an even-ish rectangle. Then begin to thin out the dough, feed it through the machine, decreasing the width each time and dusting with flour in between. I stopped at setting 2 for these noodles. Set aside these sheets to dry for about 10 minutes. Repeat process with the remaining sections of dough.
Add on the spaghetti attachment and feed your noodle sheet in the last time. Gather all of your noodles together and fluff with flour to prevent the strands from sticking together. Split into two nests and let rest on a baking sheet, lightly dusted with flour. Repeat process with the remaining sections of dough.
When ready to cook, bring water to boil, and place noodles in the water. Stir to prevent them from sticking on the bottom of the pot. Cook for a minute or two, and drain and serve immediately.
Scallion-Ginger Chicken Soup
Season the chicken generously with 1 teaspoon salt. Place in a medium pot with the scallions, ginger, and water. (If desired, tie the ginger in cheesecloth to make it easier to remove later.) Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low, keeping the soup at a bare simmer for an hour.
Skim any scum and fat off the top of the broth and remove ginger, if desired. Transfer chicken to a plate or cutting board and use a fork to pull the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the pot and let the soup continue to simmer gently while you boil the noodles.
Ladle soup into individual bowls and add desired amount of noodles into each bowl. Top with extra scallions and soy sauce if desired. Serve immediately and enjoy!