Notes From A Nester: Make the Pasta! Jan13

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Notes From A Nester: Make the Pasta!


a blogumn by Debra Barlow

pasta-rollerSanta smiled on me this holiday season and I did receive my much drooled over pasta maker.  Once the holiday craziness was over, my husband and I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

I always thought pasta making would be a labor-intensive ordeal.   In my mind, it’s up there with making your own bread as the height of tedium.  After all, there must be a reason that there are so many lovely, pre-packaged versions of pasta lining the grocery store shelves, right?  If it is an easy thing to make at home, there’d be no reason for the time saving dried variety. 

Consider that bubble burst.  It took a little time, but making our own pasta could not have been easier or more fun!  It’s not something I would undertake on a weeknight after work, but for a Saturday evening meal, it was perfect.  The attachments came with a handy recipe book and we started our odyssey into homemade pasta with a basic egg recipe. 

I was amazed that I didn’t have to buy anything special – it only called for eggs, flour, water and salt.  Then I began to realize why pasta is such a staple for so many different cuisines:  it’s cheap to make and requires the most basic of ingredients.* 

pasta-cutterAfter the dough was mixed, kneaded and rested, we had to thin the dough into flat sheets.  This was the most time consuming part because you have to feed it through again and again, each time narrowing the width of the roller. 

Then, the fun part –putting it through the pasta cutter! We opted for fettuccine. As first timers, we thought the bigger pasta might be easier.  Our one big mistake was not using enough flour to dust the pasta sheets before we cut them, so we ended up with some noodles stuck to others. For the most part it broke apart in the water, but next time we’ll be more careful.

pasta-finishedThe pasta, though, was like nothing I’ve ever tasted.  I paired it with a simple tomato sauce and the fresh pasta flavor really came through.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat boxed pasta again!  I’m thinking of scheduling bi-weekly pasta making nights where we make pounds of it to dry and freeze for later use.  And you’re saving pennies on the dollar by making it yourself (minus the cost of the equipment, of course).  In this economy, that just seems right.

My next mountain to climb in the realm of kitchen frugality is making bread!

The basic egg pasta recipe is below.  Anyone else a homemade pasta convert?  Or a quick and easy bread recipe?  Do share!

*Other recipes in the book call for things like semolina or whole wheat flour, which of course we didn’t have on hand – but do plan to try very soon!
Basic Egg Pasta

4 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
3 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt

Mix eggs, water, flour and salt (if you have a standing mixer, use the dough hook to knead for 2 minutes after mixture is combined).  Hand knead dough for an additional 2 minutes (4 minutes total if you don’t have the dough hook).  Let it rest for 20 minutes, then divide dough into 4 pieces.  Feed each piece through the pasta roller.  Repeat until dough reaches the desired thickness.  Feed flattened sheets through the pasta cutter of your choice.

You can dry the noodles, or cook immediately.  Enjoy!