Friday, March 28, 2008

I Actually Made Homemade Pasta!

Okay, so I've had a machine for quite a few years, but just never went to the trouble and the mess of making the pasta myself. I used to watch my Grandma make it and always thought it was a lot of work and mess, but she never once complained about it.

Well, it's STILL a lot of work and a lot of mess! I made it yesterday, and even took pictures to show you.

First, I got out the eggs, the flour, and the good old Kitchen Aid mixer. It's basically one egg to one cup of flour, as per Grandma's recipe. HOWEVER, it took me a little while to remember that she had an egg man who delivered fresh eggs to her house once or twice a week, and they were gigantic!

I cracked four eggs into a bowl, and beat them a little bit with a fork.

I'm right handed, and it wasn't easy beating eggs with my right hand while taking a picture with my left hand, but I somehow managed to do it!

Then I poured the eggs into the bowl for the mixer.

I only put the mixer on Speed 2, as I didn't want flour flying all over the kitchen. I added the four cups of flour one cup at a time.

So this is what it looked like, and I just kept mixing it and mixing it, but it still didn't do the trick. That's when I realized that because she used humungous eggs and I was just using large eggs, I should add another egg. And I did.

That's when it finally formed a ball, like it was supposed to. (thank goodness!)

After that, I kneaded it for just about a minute on a floured cutting board, then put a little bit of oil in the bowl, rolled the dough around in the oil, to get all the edges of it covered.

Then, because this is how Grandma did it, I put it on a plate and covered it with the bowl. A lot of recipes will tell you to wrap it in plastic wrap, but plastic wrap absolutely drives me NUTS!! It gets all clingy and you can never get it apart and it sticks to itself, and it's just not worth the trouble.

Then I let the dough rest for about half an hour or so.

After that, I uncovered it, cut off a section of it, and flattened it out a little. Then I dusted it with flour and began running it through the pasta machine.

This is where it got a little messy, as you can see. The machine has 7 settings for thickness and I ran it through each setting twice. Occasionally it would start to stick to the rollers, so I had to unroll it, dust it with more flour, then do it again.

I started at setting 7, then worked my way down to setting 2. I just wasn't comfortable going down to setting 1. Did it make a difference? I don't know...but I really didn't want it any thinner. I did the same thing to each section of dough, and then cut the sections in half before going on to the next step. I didn't think it was necessary to have strands of pasta over 2 feet long!

Then I put on the cutting attachment. It only gave me two choices: spaghetti or fettucini. I prefer fettucini. Most of my family doesn't really care all that much, so since I was the one making it, I went with what I preferred.

(And for the record, I really don't like this cheap pasta machine. The attachment kept sliding off and I really would like a couple more choices for pasta width. I have an attachment that hooks onto my mixer, but I just didn't want to get it out and try it yesterday. I got this one through Amazon and only paid about $13 or $14 for it at least 5 years ago.)

After it's cut, the pasta needs to go on a lint free cloth, so I just used a clean pillowcase. It served the purpose.

At this point, I could either cook it immediately, or let it dry out so it could be used at some point in the future.

I chose to cook it.

At this point I need to add that Alex was a huge help in this process. He was in charge of thawing out the frozen homemade sauce and meatballs, and heating it up. He also got the pot of water boiling for the pasta, and set the table. Oh yeah, and he made the salad too.

It only took about 4 or 5 minutes to cook, and I had forgotten how much it "swelled up" when cooking.

By the time it was finished, we were all hungry and started to eat, and I forgot to take a picture until Alex was on his second bowl.

(You can see how totally informal we are at dinner...the sauce and meatballs were served in the pot that they were heated up in, and the pasta was drained, then returned to the pot it was cooked in. I see no need in dirtying up any more "things" than necessary!)

Ted thought it was great too!

I'm sure I'll do it again sometime, but probably not until summer vacation. Cleaning up afterwards was pretty time consuming and that's not how I like to spend my school nights.

Anyway, it tasted GREAT! If I can do it, anyone can do it!


Paulie said...

Looks like a lot of work -- hope it tasted great so it was worth it! BTW, you are supposed to give the award away to ten people too. You were caught reading my blog before I could have time to announce it to you! Thanks!

PS I am waiting for the next installment of the "LOVE" story. . . Ü

Jen said...

Wow! It looks great. I have a KitchenAid mixer too. (I love it.) I usually make my pasta in my bread machine on the dough setting. You just have to stick it in and forget about it. Then I use my pasta maker attachments for my KitchenAid. :) I haven't done it in ages though.