A few months ago a friend gave me a pasta machine. I put it in the cabinet and promptly forgot about it. One day my sister-in-law and I had gotten together to make bread and I happened to remember the pasta machine so we set a date to try it out.
This pasta machine is electric and is really pretty neat. It comes with the measuring cups necessary to insure a proper consistency of the dough, as well as about 10 discs for assorted pastas.
Neither of us had ever made pasta before so we were not sure how this would go but we gathered our supplies; unbleached flour, water and semolina flour. Semolina flour is made from durum wheat. We tried to find the wheat berries but had to settle for the flour.
The other part of our supplies included something on which to dry the pasta. We had no idea how much pasta we would be making so we used my clothes drying rack (washed off, of course!).
The actual pasta making is really easy-you put one measure of unbleached flour in the machine along with one measure of semolina and turn the machine on. After a few seconds you slowly add one measure of water. The machine does all the work of mixing and as long as the consistency is right it works great.
The instructions say to add the water slowly and to only use about 90% and if the dough looks too dry then add the remaining water. One of our batches came out too moist and when we tried to add more flour to it the machine clogged up. Unfortunately the only way to fix this is to take the entire machine apart, wash all the components, put it back together and try again. We had to stop and do this several times before we got the hang of it and by the end of the day we didn’t need the instructions to assemble the machine, we were experts!
We finally gave up on that batch and started with fresh ingredients, from then on the machine worked perfectly.
Our favorite pasta to make was spaghetti. It looks so neat to see it come out of the machine in neat strings.
We also tried to make whole wheat pasta using half whole wheat and half unbleached flour. We made fettucini using this combination.
All of the small macaroni, rigatoni and assorted pastas were put on wax paper on cooling racks to dry.
We had 2 large cooling racks and several small ones full of assorted pastas.
The long pasta we hung on the drying rack. We will not use this rack next time even though it did a great job of air drying the pasta. When it came time to remove the dried pasta most of them broke around the bend where they were hung. Of course, they taste the same but just don’t look as pretty. So from now on we will spread wax paper out on the counters and lay the pasta flat to air dry.
By the time we were finished this rack was full of pasta hanging to dry. It dries pretty quickly, most of it in a few hours, and can then be packed in air tight containers and stored in the cupboard.
We had some of the fettucini the night we made it. I served it with a few veggies sauteed in butter and fresh parsley and it was very good.
Homemade pasta is fun to make, when you have a good friend to help, but none of us noticed a difference in the flavor from what is available in the store. Next time we will try using only whole wheat flour and adding some flavors to make tomato pasta or spinach pasta. Now those sound really yummy!!