Archive for September, 2008

Perfection, thy name is "Pasta"

September 9, 2008
So, I don’t know if I’ve ever explained my Craigslist addiction before. To date, I have found: my last two housing situations, my Pottery Barn mixing bowls, my Kitchen Aid mixer, a very cute pair of red patent leather Rampage flats, my friends Heather and Carissa, and my now ex-boyfriend. I LOVE CRAIGSLIST. You can seriously find anything under the sun for a bargain, although sometimes, in the case of the ex, I wish that they had a return policy.
My latest conquest was a pasta rolling/cutting attachment for my mixer. I’d been dying to try out an attachment for this thing, but even on Amazon the prices are outrageous! $130 could buy me an awfully cute pair of shoes. I found one listed for $20 and immediately beseiged the poor girl with emails. She said that she had already promised it to someone, but if they fell through, I could have it. Fortunately for me, the first bidder dropped the ball, and I proudly drove out and picked it up. The power of persistance!
You can’t make pasta without drinking wine. It’s just not Italian.
So I decided, with much encouragement, to bring the mixer and attachments home for Labor Day weekend and to make pasta with my parents. My Italian grandmother used to make homemade pasta for my dad and his brothers and I don’t think that he’s had it much since then, so he was especially looking forward to this. The last time I remember doing this was in Colorado with my extended family and I was probably only about 6 or 7 at the time, so I didn’t retain anything about the process or the recipe. I decided to use the recipe in my mixer manual, which is as follows:
Basic Egg Pasta Dough

4 large eggs
1 tbsp. water
3 1/2 c. sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
Directions: Place eggs, water, flour and salt in mixer bowl. Attach bowl and flat beater. Turn to Speed 2 and mix 30 seconds. Exchange flat beater for dough hook. Turn to Speed 2 and knead 2 minutes. Removed dough from bowl and hand knead for 1-2 minutes. Divide dough into eight pieces (I used a floured and VERY sharp knife to do this) before processing with the pasta roller
To Cook: After rolling, cutting, and drying, add pasta to salted boiling water. Cook until al dente. This makes 1 1/4 lbs of dough, which is enough for 4 or 5 large bowls.
When you cut it, make sure you catch it.

This attachment was glorious. It worked well and is small and I just can’t say enough nice things about it! Here are my pasta tips, mostly learned through trial and error.

Make sure you keep everything well floured so that nothing sticks. Below is a picture of my beautiful cut pasta stuck into a lump for lack of flour.

Don’t do this. This is what not to do.

This is really a 2 person or more job. It’s helpful to have one person rolling/cutting and one person to hand off the cut pasta to. Trust me on this. Also, make sure you’re both well supplied with wine. This is very important.

Good thing Dad was there to show us the proper way to dry pasta.

Make sure you have a large flat surface like a table, counter top, or ironing board to spread out your flour and pasta to dry. This was Dad’s contribution. Thankfully, he swooped in when he saw me having sticking problems and showed me the way that Gramma used to do it.

Man catcher.

My dad was practically choked up eating this meal. I was so happy to see him happy. Now I know how my Gramma must have felt feeding her family. I’m so glad that I was able to do something that brought me closer to her, even though she’s no longer here. This is how we keep them here, even when they’re gone.