Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pasta in the Making

Ever get the urge to make your own pasta?  If the Italian grannies can do it, so can you.  After receiving a KitchenAid pasta making attachment for Christmas, I decided to give this whole pasta thing a go! 

The first attempted dough recipe almost broke my mixer.  Let's just say, I had no idea what consistency of pasta dough was appropriate for the machine. After feeding the dough in, it became stuck in the attachment and I thought I was going to fry the motor. It made a low droning sound and I almost burnt my hand when I felt the top of the mixer . I panicked once I realized that I probably forgot to fill out the warranty and turned it off immediately.  I was pretty annoyed at this point, so I threw the clump of dough away. No pasta for dinner that night!

After a few more rounds of pasta dough and egg adjustments,  I figured out a recipe that has been working quite well.  I've used the pasta attachment to make angel hair, macaroni, and alfredo noodles.  The noodles are great, but I'm already over the fancy attachment. I was trying to figure out why I dislike the attachment and then I read this review on Amazon, which pretty much describes my experience perfectly. 

"The object is to continue to drop walnut-sized pieces of dough into the tube, while also catching the pasta as it comes out of the machine. Because it tends to get warm and stick together in one huge blob, people on the KitchenAid boards have suggested sprinkling the emerging pasta with flour. And for this, you need three hands. Those of us lucky enough to have been born with three arms may find it a breeze, but the rest of us will struggle. And this is not even to mention the additional mess (and wastage) of the sprinkled flour! By the time I was finished (or rather, surrendered), the place looked like an explosion in a flour mill!)."

From now on, I am sticking to the basics and using my rolling pin! (See discussion below for details) The grannies in Italy know best and they will tell you this! Good thing my grandma does not subscribe, I can already hear her telling me I should have used her recipe and directions.  :)

Whole Wheat Pasta
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Mix on low speed with a dough hook for 5 minutes.  Add extra flour if the dough is too sticky (I had to add a few teaspoons).  Remove the dough from the mixer and knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 4 minutes.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and allow the dough to relax in the fridge for 30-40 minutes.

Divide the dough into 3-4 sections, keeping the unused dough wrapped tightly in the fridge.  Roll the dough out thin, like a stick of gum.  Fold the dough in half and cut long strips.  Allow the cut pasta to dry for 45 minutes on a towel or thick string. 

Boil water, add salt, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until al dente. Due to the large amount of pasta created in one session, I've been freezing the dried out pasta and cooking from frozen.  -amy w.

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