Friday, September 28, 2012

NameMe gives a pasta workshop

What with one thing and another, nerves a bit wobbly these days, so NameMe, Baker in Chief (the Ds are all carried away with titles at the moment, Call me Michelle is Fashionista in Chief, Blondie is Firstborn in Chief, Dreads is First Dog Wrangler, Bette Davis declines to take part in such shenanigans, since she is a Star, no further title required.  Elton is First Pianist.) where was I oh yes, NameMe decided that since working in the kitchen is always therapeutic, she should show me how to make my own pasta.

Been thinking idly about this for years,then suddenly I realized I have the semolina flour, I have a pasta maker which has been sitting in the studio for years in case it might be useful in printmaking, which it wasn't, not enough pressure exerted, I have eggs, olive oil, salt, and a free morning after working in the studio.

I studied several recipes, and watched a couples of YouTube tutorials, and concluded that there is no agreement on how to make good pasta at home.  Not surprising considering how ancient pasta making is.  It sounds as if every family handed down a different version, all very dogmatically asserting that only their method would yield good pasta.  More eggs, fewer eggs, any old flour, semolina flour, food processor (gimme a break!, wooden spoon and hands, olive oil, no olive oil, salt,no salt.  the only thing they all agreed on was how to use the pasta machine.

So I did a cup and a half of semolina flour, since I had it to hand, some water, two eggs, salt, few spritzes of olive oil, mixed with a spoon till it was all crumbs,then sort of addressed it with my hands until it made a ball that didn't fall apart. 

Oh yes, everyone agreed to let the pasta rest at this point. I suspect it was a way of giving the cook a rest, this is pretty heavy work, so I did that.  Then had a ton of fun rolling it then feeding it through the pasta machine after NameMe and I finally figured out all the parts and how to attach it to the only place in the kitchen where you can clamp anything and still turn the handle. She had a bit of trouble turning the crank, but we made it a partnership effort.
She pointed, I cranked.

And you see our results:

  a nice helping of wide noodles, then some medium wide, then a bunch of ravioli cases.  I'm hoping this tastes good, since I love home made pasta I've had in local authentic Italian restaurants where there's a grandma in the kitchen working and grumbling and issuing orders.  Oh wait,I guess that's now me. Hm.  My first complaint is that NameMe didn't rush out for ricotta and parm. reg., to fill ravioli with, but she has a point, that she can't reach the steering wheel and the pedals at once.  So they're on my list.
Whether this becomes one of those projects you do once in a lifetime depends on how well it cooks. I'll let you know.


Minimiss said...

Yum, fresh pasta. I'm definitely saving my pennies to come to your house.

Anonymous said...

A word to the wise - keep an eye on the pasta as it cooks. Doesn't take as long as dried and you don't want your efforts dissolving in the cooking water and tears. The variations in recipes sounds like home made gnocchi, also a good thing, and easier than pasta. Your end results look great! J in Cowtown

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Making your own pasta? You are a dedicated soul! This is far far beyond my area of capability (unless, of course, it comes down to the eating thereof in which case I'm all over it). I'm anxious to hear how it all turned out.

Boud said...

The pasta was great! I had a nice sample for supper last night in the form of fettucine Alfredo, and it was really, says she with no modesty, one of the best pastas I've had. And Handsome Son has booked a reservation for when I make up the ravioli.