05 Aug2007

pasta1

If you have never tasted fresh homemade pasta, you are missing something good. Really good. While I have to admit I eat dry store bought pasta 99% of the time, and I do really like the al dente state characteristic of properly cooked, superior quality, dry pasta, I occasionally love a taste of ravioli just recently made, or a lasagna with superbly thin noodles (not wet cardboard like sheets), or a special shape of noodle or pasta that is the perfect foil to cuddle with a particular pasta sauce. This past weekend at the beach was Mediterranean themed, it just seemed that everything we cooked could have come from the South of France, Italy, etc. And after many years hidden in a cupboard, we decided to take out our pasta machine…

pasta2

Afraid that the sea air would have reduced the machine to a pile of rusted parts after several years of no use (we did, after all go through that “eschew all carbohydrates phase,” haha, failed there), we decided to make a batch of pasta dough knowing that we would just be passing it through the machine again and again to rid it of any cooties. Thank goodness for this plan as the first batch of dough rapidly turned into a disaster. What is normally the simplest thing to make had a Pinatubo proportion cave-in and so we ended up with a horrific dough. At any rate, to make the dough, place about 4 cups (you can start with 3.5 cups if you like, add more later if needed) unbleached all-purpose flour on a clean large wooden chopping board. Make a crater in the mountain of flour into which you should add 4 extra large organic eggs; or since I didn’t have extra large, I tried five regular eggs. Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Now you whould have something that looks like taal lake with eggs in it. With a fork, gently mix up the eggs, drawing a little flour from the sides of the “volcano” to incorporate into the liquid. Don’t worry if it looks lumpy, it comes together nicely a little later in the process. Keep doing this mixing gently until about 2/3 of the flour is incorporated into the eggs and oil…

pasta3

In our first attempt, one of the sides of my flour volcano gave way and a “egg” flow rapidly escaped and some of it landed on my bare feet. I added an egg and tried to mix it all in but it resulted in a hard, somewhat play-dough result. Not to worry, this would be our rust cleaner batch. We made a second batch of dough and it was much better. Once most of the flour is incorporated into the egg, knead the dough with the palms of your hands until it comes together. This will take a few minutes. Form the dough into a ball, place in a small bowl, cover with some plastic wrap and let it “rest” for 20-30 minutes.

pasta4

Next, divide the dough into smaller segments, roll briefly with a rolling pin, then pass the dough through a pasta machine. In case you are rolling your eyes just now with this exasperated thought like “Is he crazy, me, make pasta?,” let me tell you that all of the pasta you see up top was made by The Kid herself. While I mixed up the dough, she flattened the dough and did all the work with the pasta machine. She was so fascinated with the process that she spent a good hour or more making pasta. And she is good at it, despite this being the first attempt ever… She even took it upon herself to make the thinnest pasta ever, and she did, practically thinner than tracing paper, and it dried up perfectly… Hang any noodles to dry out a bit; they are ready to cook almost immediately. Recognize that fresh noodles cook in less than half the time of other dry pastas, and they have a different cooked texture. Yum.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Mangaranon says:

    Yummy, MM! You could also make a simple sauce — sage, butter and Parmigiano Reggiano. Viola, you have a very good pasta dish. With a salad on the side, you have a complete meal. Somehow, homemade pasta seems to have less calories than the store bought ones. Am I correct or just dreaming?

    Aug 5, 2007 | 6:25 pm

     
  2. Liza says:

    My mom borrowed a pasta machine from someone a long time ago when I wasn’t the least bit interested in the kitchen. I don’t remember whether she made anything with it. But I have recently been thinking about getting one for the house. It is mainly because I want to have some ravioli. I hesitate to get one because I wonder whether (1) I’ll be any good at making fresh pasta, (2) it is worth the expense, (3) it will end up just gathering dust in the kitchen.

    If I ever take the plunge and go for a pasta machine, can you please give me some input on what I should be looking for and what I should avoid. About how much would a decent one cost and where do I get one.

    Thanks.

    Aug 5, 2007 | 8:47 pm

     
  3. nang says:

    making home-made pasta is a bonding activity that my brother and i enjoy with the kids. the young ones have so much fun kneading the dough and are quite fascinated with the pasta as it is cranked out of the machine. home-made pasta is chewier than the dry, store-bought ones and the kids just love it especially with lots of gooey cheese!

    Aug 5, 2007 | 9:16 pm

     
  4. Marketman says:

    Mangaranon, you are reading my mind… had some fresh sage but didn’t get to that recipe over the weekend… Liza, thanks for catching those typos… nang, I think kids are fascinated with the process…and of course love to eat the results…

    Aug 5, 2007 | 9:57 pm

     
  5. connie says:

    I’m always fascinated of that machine called the pasta maker. Although I admit I’ve never tried making pasta myself, I do love going to some Italian resto were they use only fresh pastas.

    MM, ever thought of adding spinach to the pasta? You can make some spinach tortellinis also which will be good for salads and soups. Since you have one, better make good use of it. LOL.

    Aug 5, 2007 | 10:24 pm

     
  6. Jade186 says:

    Plain and simple pasta is delicious as it is, but if you’d like to make it a bit fancier and more colourful, try adding some spinach (or kangkong) puree to the dough for green, or tomato puree for red/orange. Children like the colours, and parents the added nutrition to them (kids), and flavour (adults)!

    Aug 5, 2007 | 10:40 pm

     
  7. apm says:

    I noticed the use of organic eggs–they have superior yolks. When making fresh pasta with store bought eggs I tend to add several extra yolks. Some chefs cheat on the color by adding a saffron infusion but I find that if you use high quality organic eggs there is no need for any additional ingredients.
    I also like using a mix of all purpose flour and semolina but I guess that’s a personal preference. My favorite sauce for homemade pasta would be a reduced chicken broth (brodo) mounted with butter along with some herbs and vegetables.

    Aug 5, 2007 | 10:50 pm

     
  8. Mila says:

    I remember the disastrous spinach pasta I made once. It turned into lumpy green strands and when I tried to cook it, deconstructed in the pot, looking like a gooey green dough ball at the bottom of the boiling water.
    There’s a beautiful picture of beet infused gnocchi that I’m tempted to try. No pasta machine required!

    Aug 6, 2007 | 7:51 am

     
  9. bernadette says:

    Thanks for the reminder of making home-made pasta. I’m a pasta eater and not a rice eater…sorry, for being a traitor :-). But with this entry, I think I’ll push for getting a pasta machine. Where can I get one? I do not see pasta machines displayed in Abenson.

    Aug 6, 2007 | 8:23 am

     
  10. acidboy says:

    My wife tried, successfully, doing pasta from scratch sans machine pa! I must say the texture, the bite and the taste of fresh pasta (at least with what my wife made, and of course there is a little bias there) is far superior to the dried grocery kind, even the imported ones.

    Aug 6, 2007 | 9:27 am

     
  11. Candygirl says:

    Oops, we also have a pasta machine somewhere. How does one clean and store it?

    Aug 6, 2007 | 9:50 am

     
  12. Blaise Fortuna says:

    Used to do this for a project in Food Technology back in highschool.. Yes, it really is good.. First I tried to make supposedly a spinach liguine, but it was too thick for a linguine, but still good though.. Oh, the fresh lasagana you should try, there’s such a big difference with the store bought one.. ;)

    Aug 6, 2007 | 1:29 pm

     
  13. Maria Clara says:

    You really have a magic touch – you did not even use semolina flour and you came up with a good bite and textured pasta! All the pasta dough recipe I have seen to date asked for at least a cup of semolina and all purpose flour.

    Aug 7, 2007 | 1:57 am

     
  14. Steph says:

    Yum. Where can I get a pasta making machine? Quiapo? I haven’t seen one in any local department store. I’m actually thinking of getting one from Amazon.com! :)

    Aug 25, 2007 | 5:35 pm

     
  15. Marketman says:

    Steph, sorry, we bought ours over 15 years ago and brought it back to Manila… I haven’t seen one for sale here that I can recall… perhaps Rustan’s or SM home department?

    Aug 25, 2007 | 9:51 pm

     
  16. Miles says:

    fresh pasta is the best!! i use it for my lasagna. the usual ratio is 3/4 cups of flour to 1 medium sized egg. i bought a pasta maker in shoemart(makati branch, 4th flr) two years ago and it has more than proved its worth. it is less expensive than the ones in rustans, i think about 1/3 the rustans price (maybe because the one in SM is made in china and the rustans one is from italy). quick rule for cooking is, once the pasta rises to the top, it’s cooked.

    Oct 10, 2007 | 6:00 pm

     
  17. kayenne says:

    for steph,

    in case she still hasn’t bought one, Cook’s Exchange(megamall, glorietta 4)

    or gourdo’s/living well(podium, promenade – ghills, glorietta 4, gateway, trinoma, fort) should carry pasta machines and additional accessories.

    Nov 17, 2007 | 2:49 am

     
 

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