Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gadgets: Pasta Maker

There are few things quite as indulgent and therapeutic as making your own pasta. It takes time to knead the dough until the gluten is perfectly bouncy and then time to roll it flat over and over and then finally to cut the dough into perfect sized strips.

We used to make homemade pasta the old fashioned way... by brute force, a rolling pin, and knife. Luckily for us, I bought us an Imperia pasta maker last Valentine's Day, which we used this year.

I thought long and hard about which brand of pasta maker to buy. From my research it seemed like the most common hand-cranked brands were Imperia and Altas with equally favorable reviews from their fans.  I decided to go for the Imperia because it was red and because it was available at our local Williams Sonoma. It's also made in Italy and surely they know what they are doing...

We have been super pleased with it.  It's easy and so much fun to use.

Note: We were told not to buy the ravioli attachment and the motorized cranker, but you can decide for yourself. We've never had any use for those items so far.

Pasta Dough Recipe

1.5 cups all purpose flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

1. Mix all ingredients together until it forms a ball. Remove from bowl and place on well-floured countertop.

2. Use your hands to knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes until the dough bounces back when you push your finger into it. This means that the gluten has been sufficiently activated and will provide that al dente texture.

3. Split dough ball into 4 quarters, flour them and flatten with your hand and begin feeding it through your pasta machine.  (If making without pasta machine, generously flour your counter top and begin rolling out to desired thickness with a rolling pin).

4. Remember to continue to flour everything otherwise the dough will stick while running through the machine.

5. Cut with your pasta machine cutter or fold long strips of dough over on itself and cut thin strips.

6. Cook in salted water very briefly as fresh pasta can cook in about a minute.

Nothing compared to fresh pasta and you can make it too!

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