Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fresh Pasta

Fresh PastaOne of my favorite kitchen gadgets is my KitchenAid stand mixer. I’ve thrown some tough doughs its way and it has yet to fail me. Recently, I was pleased to receive the pasta attachment as a gift. The KitchenAid Companions Gourmet Pasta Kit came with the following items:

• a metal pasta roller
• a metal fettuccine cutter
• a pasta server and slotted spoon
• two boxes of Ecco La Pasta flour (egg and spinach)
• a cleaning brush

The timing of this gift was fantastic, since we had just covered fresh pasta dough in Lesson 6 at Le Cordon Bleu and practicing making pasta at home was the perfect way to test out this attachment.

Now, in the Basic Cuisine course no kitchen machinery is allowed and all work must be done by hand to develop a sense for the feel of the dough at various stages. So I decided it would be fun to do a "bake off" so to speak: half of the pasta I hand rolled and cut and the other half I made using the mixer attachment. As an extra experiment, I made one batch with just yolks (and added extra water) and the other with whole eggs. The chef had suggested we try this to see if we preferred one dough over the other.

Using the attachment was twice as fast as without. Within the hour, I had fresh pasta ready for lunch. Not only that but it was easy enough to use that my 10-year-old daughter quickly figured it out and had fun putting the dough through, each time moving the dial to a thinner setting appropriate for fettucini. Hand rolling took a lot of effort, but eventually, after much rolling, I rolled it to the proper thickness. My daughter found it difficult to get it thin enough, so I helped her. Even so, our dough was uneven and squaring it off to cut even lengths meant re-rolling. Though not impossible to hand roll, we both preferred the attachment, which makes pasta making a breeze.

As far as the eggs are concerned, no one could taste a difference between the two so I would use whole eggs next time, just for the sake of convenience.

All in all, we're looking forward to making more pasta and using the roller to make lasagna noodles (a family favorite). Clean-up was also easy! My daughter just wiped it with a cloth and used the small brush to get any bits out. She was so pleased with her homemade pasta that she took it to school the next day in her lunch. With this pasta making attachment, I'll be making homemade pasta often! Or maybe my daughter will be making it for me!


Serves 6

Fresh Pasta ingredients
250 grams flour
5 grams salt
10 ml olive oil (you may need more)
2 eggs
10 ml cold water

Sift flour onto counter. Whisk in salt. Make a well. Add the oil, eggs and water. Using your fingers, slowly mix the wet ingredients and carefully stir in the flour, making a paste. After incorporating the flour, use a pastry scraper to cut the dough into small, sandy-like pieces. Add a bit more oil and water, if needed, to bring the dough together. Gently knead. Add flour if the dough seems too wet. The dough should be bouncy, and you should see a fingerprint in the dough when pressed. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator before rolling, about 20 minutes.

To hand roll the dough, use a pin and roll it to a 1-2 mm thickness. With a knife, square off the edges. Fold the bottom up 5 cm and then fold it up again 5 cm (and so on until it's folded evenly). Cut with a knife on a cutting board into fettucini strips. Dust with flour or hang to dry before cooking in boiling, salted water until al dente (about 3-5 minutes). Serve with fresh tomato sauce.

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    Monica H said...

    Fun! I gotta get me one of these.

    Carol Peterman/TableFare said...

    Homemade pasta is great, and it cooks in about 2 minutes. I don't have the KA attachment, but the other week when making pasta for a dinner party I had the next best thing - my husband. He rolled and cut all of the pasta beautifully with our hand-crank machine while I ran around frantically getting the rest of the meal prepared.

    Dolce said...

    I am actually planning on getting this accessory as a Christmas gift... :)

    Anonymous said...

    I've been wanting to get the KA pasta kit for a while.

    angela@spinachtiger said...

    I'm still hand-cranking, so I'm a bit jealous.

    Annie said...

    There is nothing, and I mean nooothing, like pasta made from scratch. I'm from an Italian family and my grandma used to make the most chewy, yummy pasta I've ever had. I appreciate this post and thanks so much for sharing! I'm looking forward to trying it out :). I actually work with Del Monte, and if you visit our website we're sharing light and easily prepared recipes. Try the Shanghai chicken salad, that's a good one! Our new citrus bowls and Superfruits find an inviting way to compliment different flavor combinations, and the fruit comes pre-peeled and in a container that's affordable. Here's the link, and you can even pick up some coupons while you're there :) Enjoy!

    Sippity Sup said...

    Did you find much difference in the egg yolk versus whole egg versions? GREG

    Sippity Sup said...

    Never mind... I see on my second read that my question got answered! GREG

    Eliana said...

    These is something about working with your hands that is very rewarding. But there is nothing like a Kitchen Aid mixer - my best friend in the kitchen.

    TeaLady said...

    I have discovered I LOVE making my own pasta, but do it all by hand because I don't have the KA attachment. Will have to put that on my Christmas Wish List. **SIGH**

    Velva said...

    Fresh pasta! It just does not get much better. This was a great post! Thanks.

    katie said...

    i have been eyeing these attachments on forever. do you think it is worth it vs. the hand Italian ones? I want to use it for making dumpling wrappers.

    syrie said...

    Nothing beats homemade pasta. It was one of my best investments and I use it all the time. Hope your course it going well!

    Michele said...

    Your pasta looks fantastic!

    Maria said...

    We love making our own pasta! It is so fun, cheap, and tons better than the boxed stuff! Nice work!

    Leslie said...

    MMM.I love homemade pasta!!
    Do you find that with your spaghetti attachment, the noodles dont seperate very well? Mine seem to stick in "2's" but only with the thin spaghetti attachment. Hmmm
    I called KA and they sent me a new one but it still does it. I was just wondering if anyone else has the same issue

    vibi said...

    WOW! I've received a pasta maker through the mail months ago... still haven't used it. I should, I know. Cool, I know. Especially with those elves of yours!

    Well done elves!

    I hope all is well, that Summer has been good, and that Fall announces itself just as great.

    Juliana said...

    Oh! It is so neat to see the pictures of "making pasta"...I think I can eat this pasta without any sauce :-)

    DessertObsessed said...

    oh my, fresh pasta?! how scrumptious!

    Shandy said...

    Oh, Your and your daughter's pasta is just beautiful! I can not believe how fast you say it is to make. I feel sheepish now because I have the KA pasta attachment, only for rolling a long sheet, but now I am curious

    Hilary said...

    Perhaps I should get this attachment. I love making homemade pasta but my stand alone machine isn't great - it doesn't cut the pasta properly and I end up having to pull each strand apart manually. Did you have that problem with the KA attachment or did it do its job well?

    Unknown said...

    What a wonderful gift! I've been wanting a pasta attachment for a while. Your pasta looks terrific!