Saturday, May 30, 2009

PASTA MACHINE UPDATE

I have been trying out various fresh pasta recipes and I thought I would give you a brief report. I have found that, no matter what recipe you use, it is absolutely necessary for the dough to rest after it is kneaded...at least 30 minutes, wrapped in plastic at room temperature. I have also learned that you have to be flexible when it comes to moisture amounts in the recipe. Some flours hold more moisture than others, so when a pasta recipe says xxx tablespoons of oil or xxx eggs, you might have to adjust a little, depending on the stickiness of your dough. If you are rolling by hand, it is not quite as crucial. If you are using a pasta roller/cutter, stickiness is your enemy

This is my latest attempt at making fettuccine with a new flour combo. It was quite good and worked fairly easily. The key is to knead it long enough and then let it rest.
CLICK ON PHOTO
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups semolina flour
1 pinch of salt (see note)
6 extra large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sift (or whisk) the flours together. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and oil together until smooth. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients in your stand mixer. Here is where you might have to make some moisture adjustments because no two eggs have the same amount of moisture in them. If you mix for a few minutes and the dough still seems sticky, add another tablespoon of flour. If it seems dry and shaggy, add another tablespoon of water (or oil). When the dough starts to come away from the sides of your bowl cleanly, set your timer and knead the dough for about 8 minutes. After it has kneaded, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let it sit, at room temperature, for at least 30 minutes to an hour. This will make the dough much easier to handle.

Pinch off pieces of dough and flatten it just a little in your hands. Dust it with flour before you run it through your pasta roller on the widest setting. Each time you run it through, fold the dough over onto itself, a couple of times and run it through again. Do this about three times before you start to reduce the thickness setting on your roller.

Now that you have run it through the widest setting a few times, reduce the thickness setting and run it through again. It will take about 3-4 thickness reductions to get it to a commercial thickness. Finally, dust it with flour (brush off excess with a pastry brush) and run it through your pasta cutter. Place pasta on a baking rack (or pasta rack) so that air can get to all sides of it.

If you cook it right away, it will take about 3-4 minutes in boiling salted water.
If you dry the pasta, it will take 8 to 10 minutes to boil.
NOTE: This recipe calls for a pinch of salt in the dough; however, my pasta roller (in big bold letters) says never put salt in the dough with this cutter. I'm not sure if it is harmful to the machine or what, but I don't want to take a chance, so I skip the salt and just boil the pasta in salted water, it seems just fine.
NOTE: If you are rolling this dough by hand, flour your counter and roll the dough out with small strokes in one direction...rolling it as thin as you can get it. Cut pasta with a pizza cutter. Use a pastry brush to dust off excess flour before you cut it.

11 comments:

Heatherfeather said...

Wow that looks great! And such a beautiful picture too.

Katy ~ said...

Coleen, that plate of pasta deserves to be in a magazine.

You are inspiring me to drag out my pasta maker. I know it's in the cabinet somewhere..... the one over the refrigerator I think... or maybe it's in....

Kristen said...

That pasta looks so good - It must be nice to have fresh pasta like that!
I have an award for you on my blog
http://whatcha-eatin.blogspot.com/
Cheers!

girlichef said...

Looks beautiful! A pasta maker is one of those things I've always wanted, but never gotten. I need to look for the attachment for the Kitchen-Aid...I'd kind of forgotten about it until you reminded me how much better fresh pasta really is!

Wandering Coyote said...

Very nice! I have a pasta maker but haven't used it in eons. It has a vice-like thingy you attach it to a counter with, but I haven't lived anywhere recently where I am able to do this.

Your picture is beautiful, too, BTW!

Elyse said...

Looks like you're having major success with your pasta-making, Coleen. This pasta looks absolutely fabulous. I'm so impressed! Loved reading about your pasta-making tips, too.

Carrie said...

Your pasta picture looks incredible! You have some great tips too! I've never made pasta before (besides noodles for Grandma's chicken and noodle gravy), pasta making has always seemed so scary! You inspire me though!

Kim said...

Wow! It looks terrific!! Sounds like pasta making takes a lot of work and patience. My mom use to make fresh pasta and there was such a difference when it was fresh. Looks like it was worth the work though, it really looks good.

Bunny said...

OMG your noodles look fantastic, you're making me wish I had a pasta machine Coleen!!

Heidi said...

You have turned into the pasta making queen! It really looks great. Your pasta machine is going to be getting its moneys worth :)

Terry & Dennis Macri said...

Wow!! Looks great, I think I want a pasta maker.