Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's a matter of making Pasta....

As we are focusing on White flour this week, I thought I would try my hand at making pasta using this wonderful food storage staple.

In a previous post, I alluded to how ridiculous it was that I have acquired so many "gadgets" over the past few years because I was thinking that "I just might need it"!  Well, I just might!  The gadgets today fall within that category.  I have a Kitchen Aid mixer.  One day I was browsing the clearance area of a large store and saw that the price of the pasta attachment was really significantly reduced.  My "I just might need it" thinking started to to come to the forefront, and I purchased the needed items.  I promptly put them in my cupboard and forgot about them for about a year.  So, I felt it was time to try them as we are focusing on White flour this week.  This is another way to use this staple as well.

I am making a Basic Pasta Dough without eggs as I may not use all the pasta that I am making right now.  If I did incorporate eggs, I could not store the pasta because of the threat of salmonella.

I decided to try the "old school method" and try to do it by never know when you might have to do it that way.  The instructions for the recipe I used state that you need to make a well in the flour.  Some hard-core pasta makers make a mound of flour right on the counter with the well in the middle and start mixing from there.  I am not so trusting.

Next add your water to the well.

If you don't recognize the "EVOO", this is a throw-back to Rachel Ray's nick name for Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Add your olive oil as well

Begin to mix the wet and dry ingredients together very slowly with a fork.  Only incorporate a little flour at a time so that it mixes smoothly and evenly. 

After a while, the fork was not longer effective, so it was time to use come clean hands to assist in the matter.

Eventually I made this ball, and it looks a little sorry...but remember I am just learning here!


The instructions said to cover the dough and let it rest for about 30 minutes.  This really did make a difference as the dough did soften become more pliable after I did this.  The instructions also say to repeat this a couple of times....which adds to the overall time spent doing this.  Now, do you see why I choose to not make egg noodles...after all this work, I wanted to keep the left over pasta and not discard it.

Yes, it is another ridiculous item that I picked up "just in case I needed it".  However, you need to know that the LRH has what I call a "birth defect".  Are you ready to know what it is?  Well,  I just can't pay full price for anything without a significant amount of pain....and this is my "defect".  So, please know that this item was on clearance...somewhere.  It is a pasta stand.  You do not need to have one of these.  I have read that you can use a towel on the back of a chair to place your pasta, and even a cloth-covered broom handle that is propped between 2 chairs.  Please don't think you have to acquire this....although it was fun to use.

So, it was time to try my pasta attachment.  These are the "screens" that come with it.  It can make Macaroni, Angel Hair, Spaghetti, Egg, and Lasagna noodles. This is a pretty nice selection huh?

My son choose Angel Hair Pasta, so I put that screen on the attachment.

This is how it looks when it is coming out of the machine.

I hung the pasta on the stand, however the pasta came out so quickly that I didn't successfully separate it well.  I need to work on that particular skill.  The young Rooster of the house ate and ate and ate the pasta...but I have enough to make a pasta dish...when my life slows down a little bit this week!

Finally, I want to show you a non-electrical model that I acquired and have used in the past.  Believe it or not, I got this a a closeout store for very little money at the time.  It has several attachments that you can get and attaches to your counter to stabilize it.  So, if I really didn't have power, I could mix by hand and shape the pasta without power. can use a knife to cut your pasta if you choose to roll it out on your counter with a rolling pin.  I have also done that many times as well.  You don't have to get ridiculous with the gadget acquisition process as I seem to have done.

Lessons learned!

  1. I will mix the dough in my Kitchen Aid or in my Food Processor next time.....I am always in a hurry!
  2. I will let the dough rest before forming the really makes a difference.
  3. I will try other ways to take the pasta off my machine without clumping it all together.  I have some ideas and will attempt to try them and hopefully share them with you later.
  4. I will try to make vegetable pasta with other food storage staples.  You can use Tomato Sauce or puree your dehydrated vegetables (and you wondered if you would ever use these in a unique way!).
  5. Don't give tasted delicious and is another wonderful way to use your flour.

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