March 5, 2011

So much fun

Yes I make my own pasta. No it is not difficult. In fact, it’s really quite fun. Especially when you need to make enough to feed forty people and Nonna's twenty-five year-old pasta-making machine chooses to die... and you have to do the last two batches old school. Christmas 2009. So. Much. Fun.  


Untimely as the breakdown of The Pasta Machine was, it was ultimately saved by a gracious elderly gentleman from the local hardware store who took the whole thing apart, gave it a good cleaning and put it back together again.


I cannot over emphasize my family’s gratitude for this good deed. In a frantic attempt to replace said machine Nonna had dispatched children and grandchildren alike in search for its replacement. We searched restaurant supply stores (on Christmas Eve), we crossed country borders (Canada), we scoured the Internet (you would think that ebay would be helpful) but it was to no avail. The company, which still exists today, no longer makes pasta machines. Bialetti, if you’re reading this perhaps its time to consider the return of the pasta machine. Do it for overworked, pasta-making Nonna’s everywhere.


In the meantime the rest of us will have to make do with suitable alternatives. My alternative comes in pink.


Ironically, it’s not as fast or as sturdy as the twenty-five year-old Bialetti but it works just fine if you don’t have to feed forty people.

Nonna’s Pasta Dough 


Don’t let the long list of steps intimidate you. The end result is worth it- nothing beats the texture and feel of well-made pasta.  And there is something therapeutic about the rolling, stretching and cutting. It’s like playdough for grownups!

2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
3 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
*Milk or cream, as needed
*The goal is to use as little liquid as possible. It’s best if your dough comes together without the addition of milk or cream

**Special equipment
Standing mixer with paddle and hook attachments and bowl guard
Electronic pasta maker with pasta cutting attachment, or if you’re a glutton for punishment (a hem… Mom) a manual one will work just fine
A large table or bed covered with an old sheet that you’ve floured
**The following are directions based on a using a KitchenAid mixer

To make the dough
This recipe makes about a pound of pasta. I usually make two recipes, which feeds about eight people. Do NOT double the dough recipe- you need to make each batch separately. So says Nonna.

  1. Place 2 cups of flour in the bowl of the mixer. Push the flour from the middle of the bowl to the sides to create a well.
  2. Place the eggs in the well.
  3. Using the paddle attachment and mix flour and eggs on medium speed for about thirty seconds. If the dough does not come together add a small amount of milk or cream to bring the dough together. Use as little liquid as possible- you do not want the dough to be sticky.
  4. Once the dough has come together use the hook attachment on medium speed to knead the dough for about one minute.
  5. Flour a work surface and your hands. Remove dough from bowl and using your hands knead it two or three times. Wrap it in plastic wrap until you are ready to roll it out.
Rolling the dough
  1. Tear off a piece of the dough roughly the size of the palm of your hand. Be sure to keep the remaining dough wrapped when not working with it.
  2. Form dough into a rectangle of even thickness. Sprinkle with flour so that the dough is not sticky. Turn roller on setting “2” (the second widest setting), turn mixer on to speed “2”. Put the dough through the roller. Re-fold into a rectangle, flour and put through roller until you have done this five times in total. On the last time through setting “2” do not refold- leave dough as is. Be sure to properly dust with flour to prevent sticking.
  3. Proceed to move the pasta roller setting to “3”. Put the dough through the roller once. DO NOT FOLD THE DOUGH. Adjust setting to “4” and roll. Continue this process until you have rolled through setting “6” (or desired thickness of pasta).
  4. Transfer the rolled dough to your floured table. Dust dough with some more flour.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 until you’ve rolled out all of your dough.
  6. More than likely your rolled dough will stretch to about 3 feet. You will want to take a sharp knife and cut the dough in half so that you don’t end up with extra long spaghetti!
Cutting the dough
  1. Using the pasta cutting attachment of your choice (I prefer fettuccini) run the rolled dough through being careful to catch the pasta as it is cut.
  2. Return the pasta to the table. Separate it out so that no individual piece is touching.
  3. Continue until all dough has been cut.
A few notes on cooking and storing

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta.

Fresh pasta takes less time to cook than the dried stuff so keep. I tend to stand over the pot and watch it cook so that I can pull it off the heat precisely the right moment. Over cooked fresh pasta can taste gummy.

The sooner you cook the pasta after cutting it, the less time it takes to cook. Usually I let it dry out a bit (an hour or so) and gather it in a large box lined with paper towels. It will keep for a couple of days if covered, or you can freeze it.

1 comment:

  1. I own a Bialetti pasta machine that I have had since 1979. It's still working. The only thing that is missing are the little red rubber feet from the bottom. A wonderful machine!

    ReplyDelete