Okay let’s just be clear up front. This is not a post about taking the easy way out….. it certainly is tons easier and faster to just open the box of dried pasta, dump it into boiling water and have dinner ready in less than 15 minutes. And 99% of the time…. that’s how we roll too. But when you have the time, and you want to cook with the kids, and want make something that is so much tastier than the boxed variety- I highly recommend making your own homemade pasta! It’s not hard, the kids love to get involved with the pasta machine, and it actually is kind of fun!
In the 90′s I had a pasta maker like this- and man- how I loved to use that thing.
You literally spooned in the flour, dropped in the eggs and it did all of the mixing for you. Then you pressed the extrude button and out it came. Delicious, doughy pasta elbows (or whatever shape you wanted to make). I used that machine until I burned out the motor. And then for a long time I forgot all about making homemade pasta.
Until recently….. I came across a recipe that reminded me that pasta is just a few simple ingredients: flour, salt, eggs, and water- and I dug out an old hand-crack pasta maker from a closet, and decided to call in the troops for some help. Here’s how it’s done:
Homemade Pasta Dough:
In your food processor- mix together 2 cups of flour (I just used unbleached flour which I always have on hand), and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and blend for 5 seconds. Add 2 large eggs and 4 tablespoons of warm water, and pulse to blend until a moist dough forms. You can add more warm water, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too dry.
Remove the dough from the food processor and knead it on your kitchen counter for 5-10 minutes until dough is silky and pliable. You can sprinkle in more flour if it is too sticky. Form a ball, lightly dust the outside of the dough with flour, and wrap in plastic wrap to “rest” for about an hour.
Rolling the Pasta Dough:
Crank it through the machine once. Adjust the knob to a thinner setting (I skipped down two), run the pasta through again, and then adjust the knob to an even thinner setting, and run it through one more time.
Next, add the cutting attachment to the end of the pasta maker and switch the handle to “drive” the attachment rather than the base. We decided to make fettuccine noodles- so that is the attachment that we used. Run the pasta through again to cut the noodles.
After we created the noodles, we used our hands to gently spilt them apart, and tossed them in a bit of flour we dusted on top, to keep them from sticking together while we cut the rest of the pasta.
Boiling the Pasta:
Fresh pasta cooks very quickly- about 2-3 minutes in boiling water is all that it takes!
A little sauce (homemade of course!), some meatballs and garlic bread (um- purchased frozen!), a nice salad and a glass of wine- and you are all set!
So who’s up for a little homemade pasta? (And if any of you once owned the electric pasta extruding machine like I did- I would love to hear about it!)