Monday, October 29, 2007

Salad and Homemade Pasta

On Sunday SP made fresh pasta from scratch using the pasta maker we got as a wedding gift. Sadly, we've only used that thing twice in our 4 years of marriage. It's relatively easy to make fresh pasta, but as SP found out this weekend, it's also time consuming. He made most of the dough into thin spaghetti:

... that we had with marinara sauce for dinner last night. The pasta was tasty, but I ruined the sauce. SP asked me to chop veggies for the sauce while he finished up the pasta and I used way too much celery. My parents got organic celery as part of the veggie box this weekend and I put two large ribs (including the leafy greens) into the sauce. Way, way, way too much celery flavor.

We also had a huge salad to use up the rest of the lettuces we got last week:

... as well as chopped bacon, hardboiled eggs, red pepper, Spanish olives, scallions, carrots, and mushroom stems. I had mine with creamy Caesar and it was fantastic.
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  1. I LOVE making homemade pasta. But you are definitely have to have a lot of time! :) Looks great!!!

  2. It really takes you guys a lot of time? I think the worst it has been for me was about 15 minutes of measuring, mixing, and kneading, 30 minutes of resting (so the glutens can relax) (during which time you can put a real nice sauce together), 5 minutes to roll out the pasta and heat the water, and then cook in no time at all.

    Hour tops (for the whole meal)?

    Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

  3. Katie - Thanks! We're anxious to try more varieties. :)

    longhair - The recipe SP used called for mixing (which took maybe 15 minutes), resting for an hour and then running 6 pieces of dough through the pasta machine, going through each of 8 settings with all 6 pieces of dough. That took him forever - 40 passes through the machine, at least a minute per pass. Then there was the cutting...that took him at least 20 minutes because the dough didn't always want to go through the machine.

    Maybe the answer is WE'RE doing something wrong!

  4. Ok...a couple of things:

    You absolutely have to knead the dough for at least 10 minutes, any less, because you're feeling lazy that day (...and I've only done this once...ok, twice to confirm), and your pasta will be a mushy mess...imagine boiling cookie dough.

    I usually aim for 30min. Now that you've got the glutens all worked up you need to let them relax so the dough won't instantly spring back like a sheet or rubber. If you skip this step good luck with rolling it out :)

    Running through pasta machine:
    I have an Atlas (which is pretty basic, and manual of course) I'll usually run a ball through on the widest setting, 1, 3-4 times folding it over on itself, and adding flour as necessary. I try to shoot for a moisture level similar to a baby's butt after you give them a bath and dry them can gauge this with SP next time he gets out of the shower. Now, you don't have to go through all of the thicknesses 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, but rather only every other one. So if you like yours rolled out to 8 do 3-4 passes at 1, then change to 2, 4, 6, and finish at 8. While you're rolling it our you want to be constantly judging the moisture level and maintaining the likeness of SP's bottom, add flour as necessary, but not too much because when you have gone too far it's difficult to add the water and make it successful.

    Trouble shooting:
    If the dough won't go through the rollers or cutters, your moisture is to low. I've been fairly successful in dampening my hands, mostly drying them off, and then kind of running them over the length of the sheet...the key here is only moisten it enough so that the machine grabs it. If the dough gets stuck in the rollers cutters, or balls up underneath the rollers at the scraper, then your moisture level is too high, so, add flour.

    Working amount:
    How long are your arms? If I do 1 pound of fresh pasta I know that if I divide it into 5 balls then I can handle the 5' +/- sheet that comes off the end while cranking...I can do the 4 balls, but can only reach about 5.5' and crank, so some will fold over on itself underneath the machine. 6 balls...normally, I don't do this since the overall length doesn't work out to where I like it.

    Cutting the pasta:
    I use the machine 50% of the time and the other I do with a knife. Before I cut the pasta with the machine, I cut my 5' sheet into about 12"-15" lengths which are fun for me; I like the longer noodles. And then I feed these into the cutter. Trying to work the whole 5' sheet is nearly impossible for me to do. As for cutting it with a knife I'll take the 12" long piece and fold over about 2.5" inches and then "flatly" roll it up. Then you can do a quasi chiffonade with the pasta. Yes I know that's a French term but it really describes the technique.

    If I didn’t have t get ready for our “Post Tick-or-Treating Social” I would make some pasta tonight. Oh well, maybe I’ll make it this weekend. I’m going to the Sausage Chalet on Saturday, so maybe I can mix the pasta with something cool from there!

    Hope this helps.

  5. longhair - Holy cow!! Thanks for all the info. I'll share this with SP (after I measure the softness of his bottom...ewww...) for next time.

    Have fun at the social and the Sausage Chalet. :)

  6. holy cow is right. now I really AM scared. I think I'll keep buying mine packaged for now. O_o

    after I measure the softness of his bottom


  7. Melissa - LOL!! I know, it's definitely intimidating to read all of that, but it's not a hard process. Just time consuming, at least more time consuming then open a box. :P

  8. Melissa (and everyone else),

    Don't be scared! It is definitely worth it, especially if you love pasta. If you're willing to go the extra mile to make an awesome sauce/gravy then why not go the extra two and make the pasta.

    It is not that hard, these are just things to consider (basically I mind melded my mind to my fingers and let my thoughts go...usually my mouth is the thing that is running). If I called you and told you these things over the phone, It wouldn't have taken that long at all. Except, you would have had to write them down!

  9. Don't feel bad about only using it twice. I've only used the bread maker (that I had to have) and the ice cream machine (I didn't think anyone would actually buy it) once.

    It now resides in my tall cupboard above the fridge that I can't reach without the husbands assistance!

    I also bought a sushi kit (make your own sushi at home) 2 years ago that never even made it out of the box!!!!! I'm an impulsive kitchen gadget buyer! lol!

    The pasta looks delicious! Hmmm...maybe I need a pasta maker?

  10. Jessy - I know! If I knew then what I knew now I wouldn't have registered for half the stuff we got for our wedding.

    Don't do it!! LOL!


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