Fit the thinning rollers, the pair of smooth cylinders, into the pasta machine and set them at their largest opening. Pummel one of the pieces of dough with your palm to flatten it; then run it through the machine (photo G). Fold the dough twice, reducing its length by two-thirds, and feed it by its narrower end through the machine once again (photo H). Repeat the procedure, turning the dough back into the machine two or three times, thus duplicating hand kneading. Then lay the strip of pasta perfectly flat over a towel on the counter. Start at one end of the counter, leaving room for the strips to come.
When all the pasta strips have gone through the narrower opening once, bring the rollers closer together by another notch, and run the strips of pasta through them once again, as described. The strips become longer as they get thinner (photo I), and if there is not enough room to spread them out on the counter, you can let them hang over the edge. Continue thinning the strips in sequence, progressively narrowing the opening between the rollers one notch at a time, until the pasta is as thin as you want it. This step-by-step thinning procedure, which commercial makers of so-called fresh pasta greatly abbreviate or skip altogether, is responsible, along with proper kneading, for giving good pasta its body and structure.
For all cut pasta such as fettuccine, tagliatelle, pappardelle, and the like, allow the strips spread on the towels to dry for 10 minutes or more, depending on the temperature and ventilation of your kitchen. From time to time, turn the strips over. Do not dry the pasta too much because it must still be pliant enough that it won’t crack and split when cut. You can’t cut it, however, if it is still too soft and moist, because the noodles would stick to each other.
Use the broader set of cutters on the machine to make fettuccine, the narrower ones for tonnarelli, feeding the pasta strips, one at a time, through the cutter of choice. As the ribbons of noodles emerge (photo J), separate them and spread them out on the cloth towels.
© 1997 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.