Adventures in Pasta-making

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Carolyn got me a pasta maker for my birthday. Today being a bank holiday and all, I had some time to do a little shopping. Alas, right around the time I had planned on taking a leisurely stroll through the park on my way to get some cooking items, it decided to rain. It hasn’t rained in the London in over 6 weeks. So this wasn’t a bad thing. Alas, it wasn’t the usual gentle drizzle I’ve been told about. Plus, I managed to buy and lose an umbrella in about 30 minutes (this is why I don’t even bother — fortunately, it only cost me a pound).

Anyhoo, now that I had some more things to make real food (a frying pan, a baking pan, measuring implements, ETC), I decided it was the perfect day to try out my new toy. In a nutshell, I am having trouble believing that people don’t just make their own pasta. Of all the things that are simple to make, pasta is braindead. It requires two ingredients and a little bit of money on something to make it look pretty.

As I had only made pasta once before so I didn’t need to spend a lot of time researching. All you do is take equal parts flour and egg (so 1 cup of flour and 1 egg), put the flour in a mound with a cup-shape in the middle, stick the egg in middle and make a mixture until it’s nice and dough-like. It is, however, easier said than done. The egg never sits in the flour happily and just wants to ooze all over the place. Since I’d seen it happen before, I was prepared and managed to sort of recover. But recovering meant the pasta was a little too dry so it didn’t ball up nicely. I set it aside and let it breath for a couple of hours (covered) and then it was time to break out the pasta maker. It’s basically a combination built-in rolling pin and cutter (this one has spaghetti and fettuccine shaped). I was nervous about the dough being too dry and not rolling well and it didn’t. But I decided that, even if this went into the trash, I should practice to get used to the past maker. The learning curve was about 10 minutes of trying and re-trying to flatten the pasta. It was really simple and wonderful and it managed to make my dry ball of dough look good. Once it was made, I let it sit whilst I boiled some water. It cooked in less than 5 minutes and, even with my lack of skills in dough-making, it tastes 10x better than the shit in a bag. It even tastes good using crappy store-bought sauce. Never again. I’ll just take an hour on the weekend and make enough pasta for the week.

Next up: I start making sauces again. Carolyn also got me a cooking book (Anne, you’ll recognize it!) called “How to Cook Everything” and it’s got a bunch of good looking sauce recipes. I’m starting to cook again. Baby steps.

In the meantime, here’s the pasta shortly after it was rolled and the implement that made it possible:


7 Responses to “Adventures in Pasta-making”

  1. Mom Says:

    You’re hired! I’ve always been to frightened to try homemade pasta, so you’re very brave. Enjoy!

  2. matt Says:

    It’s really really easy. I figure, after one or two more times, i’ll be a pro and can make it in my sleep! 🙂

    Give it a try. you can just roll it out really really flat and cut it if you don’t think you wanna spend a little dough (hee hee) on a pasta maker at first. But the dough is simple and you can improvise and add other things to it.

  3. Ben Says:

    English cuisine is pretty awful, but I didn’t realize that “shit in a bag” was a staple. Sounds like Carolyn’s gift saved your life.

    Hope all is well in foggy London-town.

  4. anne Says:

    Does this mean that you’ve had boxes of stuff sent over if you’ve got your pasta maker? Looks great! I’m glad she got you that cookbook too! I just used my copy last night for stir fry. yum!

  5. matt Says:

    Naw. Carolyn was going to buy me one for Christmas. But, with the move, she waited until my birthday and found a UK site to buy it from. The book was Such resourceful thinking! 🙂
    I’d love to make something tonight, but I won’t be leaving work until 7:30pm (looooong day of fires to put out. yuck!). So it’ll be chicken and pre-made sauce with rice.

    And Ben! So nice of you to join the comments! I’m not as repulsed by British cuisine as I expected. In fact, pubs have been going ‘gastro’ which means they serve overpriced quasi-French food. But a few of them serve some tasty shit in a bag!

  6. Mom Says:

    This pasta is now stale. Need some fresh stuff!

  7. matt Says:

    If you wait about 15 seconds, you’ll get something “fresher” (although not in time).