Sunday, March 21, 2010

Home Made Spaghetti

Home made fresh pasta is simple enough, but it's more fun with gadgets. In this case, it's the Pasta Press attachement for the KitchenAid stand mixer. The press makes spaghetti, rotini, and several sizes of hollow pasta including buccatini and rigatoni.

The press attaches to the front of the mixer and it extrudes pasta in a variety of shapes depending on the die you use. Sort of like a cookie press, but pasta dough is much stiffer.

This recipe is based on the Basic Egg Noodle Pasta recipe in the booklet that came with the Pasta Press. But really, pasta is something you can make without a recipe if you know what the pasta dough is supposed to feel like.

Traditional recipes start with a pile of flour on a countertop. You make a well in the center of the pile, then one or more eggs go into the well and are slowly mixed into the flour until it's a dense dough. While you can roll out and hand-cut softer pasta doughs, I've found that the pasta machines work better with a denser dough. It should come together and be kneaded, but it's not soft at all. It more like a really chilly pie crust dough than like any sort of bread dough.

Egg Noodles

1 1/2 cups white wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
Water, as needed

The flour and salt went into the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. I added the eggs slowly, plus enough water to moisten all the dough. Moist, not wet.

Then I put in the dough hook and let it knead for a few minutes. It was still a bit crumbly and not together, so I took it out of the mixer and hand kneaded it into a cohesive lump that was smooth.

Then I attached the pasta press with the spaghetti die, and started extruding. It's easiest to break the dough into small lumps and let them feed that way, rather than trying to push a larger piece through.

As they extruded, I caught them with my hand, then when they were about the length I was looking for,
I cut them off and hung them over a dowel that I had hooked over my kitchen cabinet knobs. I wasn't trying to dry them, but it seemed to be the best way to keep the strands separated before they went into boilng water.

I boiled them in salted water. The noodles floated, so I needed to stir now and then so they'd cook evenly. When they were just about done, they went into a pasta sauce for the last seconds of cooking.

Mmmmm....spaghetti! Stay tuned for a killer sauce recipe...
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