Pasta From Scratch Made Easy

I love scratching things off my to-do list.  I’m currently taking out my New Years Resolution list and x-ing out make pasta from scratch.  I did it.  Ha! Feels so good.

Fettucinne with Pesto

The pasta press attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer makes pasta from scratch super easy!  Although I wouldn’t catagorize this process as being super fast, its so much fun, the time seems to speed by!  I know a lot of you may not have a Kitchenaid or if you do, you may not have the attachment, but I can only say, if you have the opportunity or resources to get them, DO IT!

How It Works:

Make your pasta dough:  Although I usually like to be wild and inventive even when trying something out for the first time, I decided to go with the standard pasta dough recipe given in the book.  Here is the basic egg pasta recipe, along with my notes, which I have posted separate for easy future reference.

Attach the press to your blender:  The pasta press comes with a few attachments, one roller and two cutters.  They will all be labeled and easiy distiguishable from another.  The pasta press fastens into the motor port which is easily found covered by a circular metal cover which flips open at the top of your blender.  Slide the press atttachment in and screw down with the black nob.  Now you’re pretty much ready to go.

Press your dough: Now we get to the exciting part! This is where the magic happens.  Take your dough and seperate it into 4-8 parts.  The guide says 8, because it may be more easily handled, but I like four because it’s quicker (and I didn’t have any problem handling it alone).   Your press attachment will have a dial at the end with numbers 1-8.  These numbers designate the space between the rollers controlling the pasta thickness.  At 1, the rollers are really far apart and this is for starting the pasta out.  You keep tightening the rollers as you pass the pasta through the press to make it thinner and thinner.

Start Dial out at 1: Since we’re just starting, we want the rollers as far apart as possible.  Set the dial to 1 and set your motor to speed 2.  Take one of your chunks of dough.  I found it quickened the process to give a quick roll with a rolling pin to my dough to flatten it out a bit.  Feed the flattened dough roll into the press.

Hint: You can set your motor speed to 2-4 depending on your skill at this press. If you are just beginning use a slower speed, which will press the pasta slower, allowing you more reaction time.  If you are a seasoned pro, set it to 4!

The rollers will grab onto the dough and feed it through.  Don’t worry if the first time through or even the first couple of times through the roller, the dough comes out all broken.  After each time through the roller, its getting broken in, and will soon start to behave.

Take broken pieces and fold over themselves and keep feeding into the press, until a smooth sheet comes out.  (Don’t worry if the edges are a bit frayed).

Move Dial to #2 and on: Once the dough has been pressed into a flat sheet, dial up a notch and pass through the second dial a few times.  This will begin to flatten the dough out even more.  Once the dough comes through the press, fold it over on itself and refeed through.  This folding will provide a consistent thickness.  Once the dough is consistent enough at this thickness move on to the next dial number.

Hint: After feeding dough through press, do not hold dough but let it rest over the right edge of the pasta press.  This will let the press help feed the dough through the press and eliminate the rough edges.

Check thickness suggested for your pasta: Each pasta has a suggested thickness range.  If you plan to use the fettuccine cutter, this will require a thicker pasta then the spaghetti cutter and will require less passes through the press.  Keep passing your pasta through the various numbered stages until your desired thickness has been met.

Hint: Each dial number will require less passes through the press. When in dial 1 stage, multiple passes through the press are necessary to get the correct consistency.  In stage two you won’t need as many as stage 1 and on.  You don’t need to keep feeding the dough through multiple times when  the dial is set at 4 or 5. Once or twice should be enough. Just feel your way through.

Roller Settings For Noodle Types:
1 or 2:   Kneading and thinning dough
3:           Thick noodles
4:           Egg noodles
4 or 5:   Lasagna noodles, fettuccine, spaghetti and ravioli
6 or 7:  Tortellini, thin fettuccine and linguine fini
7 or 8:  Angel Hair

I chose fettuccine for this pasta test, so we only pressed the pasta through until the 5th setting.

Hint:  If your sheets are too long for you to handle, use less dough in the first stage. At each turn of the dial, your pasta sheet will get longer and longer.  This is where the size of dough ball you use in stage one comes in.

Sprinkle each sheet with flour and lay flat on a floured surface while you continue to press other dough balls.  Repeat this process until all your dough has been pressed.

Cut your dough: Now its time to cut this stuff up.  The basic pasta kit comes with a fettuccine cutter and a spaghetti cutter.  As I said above, I chose fettuccine for my first pasta, so I attached the fettuccine cutter in place of the pasta press.   If you’re making lasagna, ravioli, or tortellini, you can move on and cut it by hand.

Hint:  Before feeding through the pasta cutter, cut your sheets down to your desired noodle length. Once your noodles are cut, they are not as easy to deal with.

Feed Pasta sheets through the cutter: After place the pasta cutter attachment on to the blender motor in the same position the press was in, you can begin feeding your pasta through the press.  Feed the sheets through the press in the same way as before.  Allow the end feeding through to rest over the edge of the pasta cutter and this will allow the machine to guide the pasta through better.  Catch your cut pasta with both hands as it comes out of the left of the cutter.

Sprinkle with flour and set aside on your floured surface until all pasta is cut.

And that’s it!  You have just made your own pasta! Doesn’t it feel good.  Now you can cook it up and top it with whatever you feel like.  Making your own pasta is guaranteed to help you win friends and influence people.  Use organic eggs and flour to seal the deal.  So don’t be intimidated.  Get out there and make some pasta!

Hint: Oh wait. Don’t forget to clean up.  Never wash or submerge your pasta presses in water!  Just remove the excess flour with a brush.  Easy!

All the photos in this post were taken by and courtesy of Meena Singh.

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