Kitchen Skills
Corporate Chef Kurt Kwaitkowski, MSU Residential Dining Services
Featured Food: Homemade Pasta Yield: 4-6 servings


  • Dough:
  • 2 c + 2 T all-purpose flour plus extra for kneading and handling
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 - 2 T water
  • Filling:
  • Equal parts herb-infused butter and Ricotta cheese
  • Sauce:
  • 2 T pasta cooking water
  • 2 T herb-infused butter
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh-cracked pepper


To make dough: 
Put flour, egg yolks, olive oil, and salt in bowl of food processor. Process for 30 seconds. With food processor running, add water gradually. When dough begins to form beads and a small ball, stop the food processor. Transfer dough to lightly-floured cutting board. Sprinkle dough with a little flour. Knead until pliable. 

Wrap dough ball in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. Okay to let it rest longer, just put it in the fridge. Use within 2 days. 

Flour board.  Take about 1/3 of dough ball. Use your hands to flatten it. Run it through the pasta maker on the largest setting. Fold both ends into the center (booking it). Then send it through 2 to 3 more times. This kneads the dough, preparing it for the next setting. Send dough through the pasta maker on each successive setting. Do not skip a setting.

To make little pillows :
With pasta dough pressed thin, cut a 2 1/2- to 3-inch wide strip depending on how big you want your pillows. Pipe a small amount of filling approximately 1/4-inch in from the long edge of your dough strip. Leave 1/2-inch between each dollop of filling and repeat. Fold over lengthwise and press the dough between dollops and along the edges. With a knife or pasta cutter, cut in between each dollop, pinch and seal edges to form little pillows.

To make tortellini:
With pasta dough pressed thin, use large (#70, about 3-inch diameter) round cutter to make circles of dough. Place a small dollop of filling onto each circle being careful not to overfill. Dip your finger in water and run along half of the circle. Fold circle in half (to make a half moon), get as much air out as possible, and carefully squeeze the rounded edge. Draw the two corners together allowing the rounded side to fold up (to form a bishop's hat!), wet the overlapped edge and pinch tightly to seal. The secret to successful tortellini is a good seal so they don't open up while cooking in boiling water.

To make tagliatelle:
Run through pasta maker, stopping at setting number 4. Dust cutting board with flour before placing dough on it. Cut into strips into desired width. 

To cook pasta:
Bring pot of water to boil. Add salt, about 1 T per quart of water. Carefully drop cheese stuffed pasta into the pot of boiling water and cook for 3 1/2 minutes. Cook tagliatelle for 70 seconds. Do not overcook. Lift out with slotted spoon or spider. 

To make sauce: 
Heat empty skillet over high heat until screaming hot. Scoop 2 T pasta water into the skillet; you can tell the pan is hot enough if water forms little pellets when it hits the skillet. Add cooked pasta to skillet. Turn off the heat. Add a knob of butter or compound butter, Parmesan cheese, and pepper. 


  • Use all-purpose flour.
  • Use a smooth filling, not too loose or too chunky.
  • When stuffing pasta, don't "stuff" (overfill) them. 
  • Dust the pasta with all-purpose flour after cutting.
  • After stuffing and sealing the pasta, refrigerate for 1/2 hour before cooking to firm up the cheese filling. 
  • Never wash your pasta maker. Use a stiff brush and a dry cloth to remove any dough particles and flour. Consult the manual for your machine and follow manufacturer's recommendations. 

Featured Recipes

Want to expand your repertoire for serving butternut squash so abundant right now? Chef Kurt uses butternut squash two ways: to make a thick pasta sauce; and lightly pickled to top your dish with a pop of flavor from some of fall’s favorite spices.

Muhammara is a classic Levantine dip made with roasted red peppers and walnuts. Usually thickened with bread, Chef Kurt uses cooked red lentils instead. Use a food processor if you want a smooth texture. For more texture, use a mortar and pestle.

These “meatballs” have just the right amount of spice. Treat these like traditional meatballs...serve with marinara sauce or pesto on a bed of pasta or make a meatball sub. Or change things up by making the mix into patties for delicious veggie burgers.

Michigan raspberries abound in summer and fall. This simple vinaigrette uses raspberries as one of the acidic ingredients, fundamental to making a flavorful salad dressing. Particularly delicious on vegetable salad accented with fruit.

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