Friday, 7 September 2012

Pasta makes you Fasta

Can you loose your virginity twice in one week?  Tuesday it was venison and today its pasta.  Following on from the demo we saw at The Scottish Home Show me and K decided that we had to attempt to make our own pasta before we totally forgot what we'd learned.  In reality we probably shouldn't have left it 5 days.
Ingredients were purchased (I'll explain the semolina later) and pasta making machines were unearthed.  Mine was in the garage, somewhat dusty and rusty.  I must have actually attempted to use it on a previous occasion as when I tried to clean it there were crusty bits of dried up pasta in it.  Nice.  K's was still totally brand spanking new and had never even been out of its box.  It was also considerably bigger than mine - but size isn't everything.
Little and Large
Our first surprise was opening the box and discovering that the red pasta maker was in fact duck egg blue in colour.  Do you think 9 years is too long to leave it to complain?! 275g of 00 Pasta flour and 3 eggs in the food processor and blitz until it looks like cous cous.  If it all clumps together into a big ball just add more flour until it breaks down again. It doesn't look like its going to stick together for rolling out but fear not as it will.
It was at this point that we began to question what exactly to do next.  At the demo Nick Nairn Cook School chef Colin Halliday said to use semolina for working on rather than flour as it would act like ball bearings and stop the pasta from sticking.  But we couldn't quite remember at which point he used the semolina so we just used flour to dust the worksurface before forming the dough into a ball, dividing into three, wrapping in clingfilm and popping it in the fridge for half an hour.  
Spot the difference competition
After resting it was time to roll.  We reckoned that this might be the point to use the semolina instead of flour to dust the surface.  The dough was pretty tough to roll out but eventually we got it kinda the right shape and thickness to start feeding it through the machine.  Confusion ensued about what setting to have it on as the machines were opposites.  My largest setting was 9 and it went down to 1 whereas K's went from 1 being the largest to 7 as the smallest.
At this point you really need three hands.  Even moreso if you are trying to take photographs.  It's a bit of a challenge to get it feeding through, keep it straight, guide it coming out, wind the handle and stop it all falling on the floor.  We were stupidly excited and screamed like girls when it started coming out in spaghetti and tagliatelle like strands.  
The next bone of contention was how to store it before it was time to cook.  I thought just bung it in the fridge. K remembered something about adding oil to stop it sticking together.  In retrospect the oil might have been a good idea as it was all a bit congealed when I put it in the pan.  Only a couple of minutes to cook and it was ready to eat.  It was a bit stuck together and possibly a bit thin and noodle like but it was homemade and the languishing wedding present had been utilised.  The jury is out on the use of semolina as it left little spots in the pasta which caused it to rip.  
So with tea eaten I'm carb loaded up and heading off for a run.  Only time will tell if homemade pasta really does make you fasta.  Anyone got any semolina recipes?

2 comments :

  1. It looks like you had a lot of fun! I store my tagliatelle hanging from knitting needles wedged under cook books. I am going to build a special pasta hanger from wood soon. Necessity is the mother of invention!

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  2. What a great post. I don't have a pasta machine ...yet! I liked the way Angela Hartnet made it by hand on Food and Drink, but probably made it look easier than it really is.

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