Friday, May 6, 2011

Making pasta from scratch!

It was about this time 2 years ago when I started making baby food for my son. I remember back then, I was excited for a new challenge, but nervous that I might feed him something that wouldn't be good for him.

I did not make him 100% organic food all the time, but I tried. I did feed him just about everything that I could find in local produce. At the time, vegetables and fruits were starting to come into season, so I used anything that my family and friends gave me out of their gardens as well as what I had in my own garden.

I had no idea how to start and was constantly worried that I would fine my self in a position where I didn't have food for my son. Bananas became our best friends! We could pack them without having to make them ahead of time and they could be ready with just the "mash" of a fork. The true test came when we were going to Disney for 9 days. My son was just turning 9 months and I had no idea how we were going to feed him. I took a ton of bananas from home for emergencies and everything turned out just fine.

At the time, I got really interested in making food from scratch. I started using a bread machine to make bread once a week. I also started looking up recipes for things that I was used to buying in the store. That was when I got my pasta machine from freecycle.

I had wanted to try making my own pasta for a long time, but I knew a pasta machine would be expensive and I had a feeling that it would be the kind of thing that I did once just to say that I did it, but never again. So, I waited to see one come up on freecycle. When it did, I was so excited! However, as days turned into weeks and then months, I realized having that thing in my kitchen just wasn't worth it! I finally banished it to the attic with a number of other baking and cooking things that I use sometimes, but not regularly.

This week, I started reading a new blog and it encouraged me to break out that pasta machine and challenge myself to do something new again. I tried it out yesterday and it did not go well! I was pretty disappointed, but I'm not usually much for quitting. This morning I tried again! Here is what I got and how I got there!

The recipe that I used came from instructions that I found online for a similar pasta machine.

1 lb. of soft whole wheat flour
5 eggs

As it turns out, 1 pound of flour is about 2 cups. This reciepe made very sticky dough for me. I ended up adding a lot of extra flour to the mixer to get it to the point where it was ready to be cut into spaghetti. I made a note to try only 4 eggs next time.

This is what it looks like on the first run in the machine....very sticky and wet.

This is another early run. I thought that the holes meant that I did something wrong or that I added too much flour and dried it out so that it was cracking. As it turned out, I just added more flour and kept folding it in half (or stacking pieces in some cases) until it stopped doing that.

Here is folding it in half and putting it through again.

You keep folding it over and over and running it through until it starts to come out like this.

Eventually, you will get it to the point where it is done on the flatten side (they suggested 5 or 6 runs through with the wheels spread as far apart as possible, then close them one or two notches to get the thickness that you want). Then, you will be ready to run through the pasta attachments. I choose a simple spaghetti here, but I also did some fettuccine. I had problems getting the ends to come off the machine. I'm not sure if that's normal, but each time that I did this, most of the noodles would just hang there until I either cut or pulled them off of the machine. I did try to turn the crank backwards a couple times to see if that would get them off, but that didn't work.

And that's the end! I had to lay everything out for 1 hour to dry out a little bit before cooking. The cooking directions said 2-5 minutes in salted boiling water. I ended needing about 4 minutes for the spaghetti noodles. I have not cooked the thicker fettuccine yet.

I should have taken a picture of the finished product out on the table. It really turned out nice! The only issue that I had was with the sauce. I know that having homemade pasta warrants homemade sauce! What was I thinking!!! Time to go plant some tomatoes!

1 comment:

  1. Love making homemade pasta! Such a difference in taste, isn't it! :)