* If possible, make pasta on a dry day. However, avoid making fresh pasta near a hot stove or radiator or near a fan. The heat and breeze may dry the pasta out too quickly.
* A pasta machine is very helpful if you enjoy making fresh pasta and want to do it frequently. The most familiar machine is hand-cranked. It kneads, stretches, and cuts pasta dough perfectly. Most machines come with a variety of cutting attachments, but all you need are a fettuccine and tagliarini cutter. Buy a wide machine that feels heavy for its size. Smaller machines are flimsy and hard to handle. If you have a heavy-duty mixer, you may be able to purchase a pasta attachment for the mixer. I have one for my heavy-duty Kitchen Aid mixer that works very well.
* Avoid the type of pasta maker that combines all the ingredients and extrudes them through a die (metal cutting mold). It makes poor-quality pasta.
* Flour quality varies according to the weather and how, where, and how long it has been stored. Be prepared to adjust the amount of flour needed.
* Eggs vary in moisture content and lose moisture through their shells as they age. If they have been stored for a while, they may be slightly drier than fresh eggs. I have used large eggs for all of the recipes in this book. If you use another size egg for making pasta, you may need to adjust the amount of flour accordingly.
* When saucing fresh pasta, use just enough sauce to coat the pasta without leaving a pool of sauce in the bottom of the bowl. I have given quantities with each recipe, but consider these suggestions. The amount really depends on the type of sauce, how thick it is, and other factors.
From "1,000 Italian Recipes." Copyright 2004 by Michele Scicolone. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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