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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Using My Noodle, or, Homemade Pasta is Delicious

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Using My Noodle, or, Homemade Pasta is Delicious

Several days ago, I told you all about Lidia Bastianich's bolognese recipe.  Her delicious, decadent (can a pasta sauce BE decadent? Uh, yes it can), rich and satisfying bolognese.  It should be against the law but happily, it is not.

I knew that such a special sauce deserved a special accompaniment, aka homemade pasta.  

Would store-bought dried pasta be just as good? Yes.  I am 150% certain that it would (even if I hadn't eaten leftovers with dried pasta I'd still be certain of this).  I just figured at the time that if I was diving in, I might as well go off the deep end.  It's how I roll, in case you didn't already know.

I had tried in the past to make my own pasta but it was never much fun.  As much as I adore the idea of my Kitchenaid pasta attachment...we've never been good friends.  I think this comes from the fact that I can never seem to keep the noodles from sticking together without drenching them with flour as they're being extruded and basically making a big fat floury mess.  I don't know.  It just never worked well for me.

But then. Oh, then.  Santa brought me a shiny pasta machine for Christmas!

Seriously.  No one should ever be as excited about something without diamonds in it as I was about this pasta machine.  Although it is kinda shiny...

Anyway, I figured that if I was making Lidia's bolgonese, I might as well use Lidia's recipe for homemade pasta as well! So I took her recipe for homemade tagliatelle...

3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more as needed)
3 large, cold eggs
3 large, cold egg yolks
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs ice water (plus more as needed)

...and followed her instructions.  The flour went into my food processor and was pulsed a few times to aerate.  My wet ingredients were then mixed in a separate measuring cup and, with the processor running, I poured them through the feed tube and processed until the dough came together and just about cleared the sides of the bowl.

The dough was a bit too wet, though, so when I emptied it onto my (clean!) counter, I added a bit more flour and kneaded it in for a few minutes until the dough was smooth.

Pretty.  Then the dough was wrapped in plastic and allowed to rest for 30 minutes (a little more, actually - remember I had that sauce taking up all of my attention, too!).  At this point the dough can be left in the fridge for a day or frozen for "a month or more", according to Lidia - just defrost in the fridge and allow to return to room temp before rolling.

And speaking of rolling...I divided the dough into 6 pieces and floured each piece generously before starting the rolling process.

Rolling the dough is my favorite part, and I'm well aware of how dorky I sound when I say that.  

You start with the machine on its highest setting - in this case, level 7.  

Roll the dough through a few times to get it ready to be rolled more thinly.  Then just turn the knob down one number and re-roll.  Repeat this step until you're at your desired thinness.  I usually stop at 3 - I like a little bite to my pasta.  But that's up to you - experiment as you will.

As each sheet is finished rolling I lay it out over a dish towel and allow it to dry a little bit in order to make the cutting process easier.  Now, I have both spaghetti and fettuccine cutters on my machine and in this case I used the fettuccine cutters.  But you could just as easily fold the pasta sheets into thirds or fourths, then cut into strips and shake them out when finished.  Either way, when pasta is cut it's important to toss the noodles with a bit of flour to ensure that they don't stick together.  Just give them a shake to remove excess flour before putting them in your boiling water.

Fresh pasta doesn't require much cooking time - a few minutes should do.  I test frequently to make sure I don't cook it into mush.

So, in case you didn't already know this: Making fresh pasta takes time.  But anyone who has ever had the chance to eat fresh pasta will tell you, the difference is mind-blowing.  The texture and flavor exists in a world of its own.  Is it as perfectly uniform as store-bought fresh or dried pasta? No.  But that's part of the fun.  Plus there's the knowledge that your finished product contains good, fresh ingredients and isn't concealing any secrets - which of course is the point of all home cooking, right?


Have you ever made fresh pasta by hand? How did it turn out? If not, do you think you'd be interested in trying this yourself?

Sharing with The Girl Creative, A Southern Fairytale, Blessed With Grace, 33 Shades of Green, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, Somewhat Simple, It's a Keeper, House of Hepworths, Life as Mom, Miz Helen's Country Cottage, Prairie Story, Simple Lives Thursday & A Glimpse Inside - come on over and see what everyone else has been creating!



Blogger Joann Mannix said...

My mother-in-law is an Italian gourmet cook. She considers store bought noodles a sacrilege. We have a pasta maker because my husband figured he'd make homemade pasta all the time, too. (He's the cook.) Instead we go to Carrabbas. But you're right the difference is out of this world.

January 29, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Blogger Jennifer said...

ahhh how fun!!! I've always wanted to make my own pasta! Lucky girl =) Santa was goooood to you!

and btw your blog is super fun! we have to be new bloggy buddies =) haha <3

Jenn @ Peas and Crayons

January 29, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Blogger Gigi said...

We had homemade pasta last night. I agree - it is superlative.

However...I have a similar pasta machine and frankly...I cannot stand dealing with it. I got it as an anniversary gift from hubs. I love making homeamde stuff but for some reason I don't have the patience for the machine. He loves it...and is now the designated pasta maker.

Last night we didn't eat until 7:30 because it took so damn long to do the pasta. Ugh!

January 30, 2011 at 8:03 AM

Anonymous Amy at TheSceneFromMe said...

I used to have a pasta maker and made some spinach and tomato pasta one, it was so good!

January 30, 2011 at 11:24 AM

Blogger Real Life Reslers said...

i have never tried making pasta but that looks fun!

January 30, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Blogger The Zany Housewife said...

I recently made a batch but without a machine. I may rival Popeye with my bitchin biceps. Taste-wise- it has store bought beat.

January 31, 2011 at 8:21 PM

Blogger KB and Whitesnake said...

One of my to dos for this year is to make my own pasta. Thanks for sharing. I have a recipe up too.

February 1, 2011 at 12:16 AM

Blogger Shell said...

I've never made it, but my mom used to when I was a kid. I don't rememeber what it tasted like, though.

Oh, wait...I did make an egg noodle type of pasta last year. It was...interesting. LOL

February 1, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Blogger Liz said...

No, I haven't, though we have a stand mixer that takes a pasta attachment. I'm too lazy to do, if I'm being honest. :)

February 1, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Blogger Sue said...

I've never made pasta from scratch, but have always wanted to try. My husband attempted homemade raviloli, but it was a bit tough(I ate it anyway:)). I should definitely give your recipe a whirl!

February 1, 2011 at 2:25 PM

Blogger KLZ said...

What do you do with the family while you do this? I can barely make frozen pizza without them burning the house down while I do it.

I made spinach gnocchi in a cooking class once. Not as hard as I thought - but definitely easier with a pro there to help me.

February 1, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Blogger Kristin Davis said...

Thanks for the bolognese recipe- I'm still looking for the one that suits my taste, and I'll definitely give this one a try.

Want an easy-peasy recipe that actually takes less time to make than the store-bought???? It really does, because you can make it while waiting for the water to boil! I use it every time.

1 3/4 c. flour
2 eggs
1 T. ice water
pinch of salt

Put your water on to boil. I add a little salt to the water.

Pulse all ingredients in the food processor. You may have to add a little more water, depending on the weather. (Sometimes I add too much water- no prob- I just add a little more flour to balance it). It should look like cornmeal, but stick together when you squish it with your fingers.

Divide into 3 parts. Roll each one flat, and lay them out on a dish towel. Cut across the width, in half or thirds. Then use whatever pasta setting you want, laying back on dish towel when done. (It is at the flattening setting that I realize if it is too sticky or dry- and I put it back in the food processor and add more water or flour)

Once water is boiling, dump pasta in. It is done when it floats to the top (around 3 minutes, depending on the thickness).

A couple notes- it takes a few tries to know what the correct texture is. Don't give up!

For anyone who is considering a hand-crank machine, please be aware that it has to attach to something underneath it. My mom was fortunate to have a wood table that was the perfect thickness. I am not so fortunate. I have a small slab of granite which I have hang over the counter. Even then, I prefer two people- one person holding down the granite, the other feeding the dough and cranking. I'm definitely thinking about the Kitchen-Aid attachment...but for now, the taste and texture of homemade pasta is worth it.

February 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM

Blogger It's a Keeper said...

HI! I'm hosting a link up this week -- It's a Keeper Thursdays! I hope you can come over and link up!

It's a Keeper

February 3, 2011 at 7:59 AM

Blogger Donna said...

oh goodness...that looks SO good! Homeade pasta is soo on my "to do" list:) Thanks for sharing!

February 3, 2011 at 3:23 PM

Blogger Allison {A Glimpse Inside} said...

I've never made homemade pasta but have always wanted too. Maybe some day I will! lol Thanks for linking this up as well.

February 3, 2011 at 5:28 PM

Blogger Miz Helen said...

Hi Jen,
There is truly nothing better than a homemade noodle. Looks like to have it done to an art form. They look wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing them with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope to see you next week!

February 3, 2011 at 9:30 PM

Blogger Holly said...

Baking bread from scratch and making my own pasta are both on my short to-do list...I have never attempted either one. I hear I won't go back once I start though. YUMMY!

February 4, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Blogger Amy said...

I always want to make fresh pasta at home. Unfortunately, I wasn't as lucky as you because Santa didn't get me one of those shinny machine! I'm been looking to see what brand is good and comparing the price! Can't wait to try this recipe. It looks absolutely delicious!

February 5, 2011 at 3:50 AM

Blogger Nerdy Mom said...

Looks delicious! I tried a fantastic soaked whole wheat pasta recipe once and loved it, but my husband thought the linguine-type noodles looked like worms and asked me not to make that shape anymore! Working up the determination to try again - you have inspired me, thanks! I found you through Simple Lives Thursday, by the way.

February 6, 2011 at 10:28 AM


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