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Monday, 18 May 2009

All-Clad Pasta Pentola with Stainless Steel Insert - Save 30% at Cooking.com! (now $227.50)

Our Italian friends came to visit today and  filled their lungs with fresh country air. and admired  the views across paddocks to a stand of native bush and watched our hens scratching in the garden.  How many eggs do they lay he asked. 

Suddenly he sat up straight. You gotta pasta machine ?

I emerged from the pantry dusting off a long forgotten box with a (thank goodness) Italian pasta making machine covered in the remains of my last pasta making session from long ago that I tried discreetly, and unsuccessfully, to dust off before he could see it.

He leaned forward in disbelief.  Its an excellent machine he muttered and stared at me in amazement. Its almost new, barely used  he said peering at it - in disbelief, again.  And its dusty -  you need to clean it.   I looked at it with some embarrassment now. It was beginning to look extremely dusty. 

Pasta making is so easy, so easy,  you have a goldmine here he said.  Barely able to contain his excitement he talked nonstop of how to make home made fresh pasta, how simple it was to make and how we could have a never ending supply of freshly made, economical pasta all the time shaking his head at us -a  pasta machine on the shelf - unused, unheard of for them. 

I was almost sorry I had hauled the box out. 

What is the recipe I asked. Recipe, recipe ? You don't need a recipe he scoffed. Just make one small pile of flour with a dent in the middle and put in two eggs and slowly,slowly, bring the flour into the egg. Leaning back thinking, he added you might need some water too. When I pressed him for the amount, he said it depended, then seeing the look on my face added about two fingers worth!

My friend had been a chef, restaurant owner and baker  - he probably made pasta on autopilot.

Anyone can make it, a child could to it, you have eggs, you have flour and you have the machine. You have a goldmine he said again, looking puzzled as to why we had not thought of it before and shrugged.

We sat down to eat lunch and discuss food - of course - what else. Great food and good conversation was followed  by our friend diving into an armchair to take a short rest where he promptly went to sleep. His job was done.

The Recipe Kiwi Style

  • One and a half cups of flour (sifted finely)
  • Make a well in the middle and add two large eggs (free range if possible)  My friends uses his hands but I used a fork to gradually add the flour to the eggs and (if required only) add a small amount of water as my friend says maybe the depth of 2 fingers in a glass.  I only needed to use a very small amount.
  • Knead the dough until it is smooth, cover and let it rest for at least half an hour.
  • Clear a table or bench so you have lots of room and firmly attach your pasta cutter.
  • Make sure you have a lot of clear space as I discovered when I covered everything in sight with flour and pasta including the cat.
  • Put the dough through your pasta machine on the most open setting.
  • Each time you put it through, lightly dust with flour and fold the dough over before you put it through again.
  • Adjust the clicks to the finer setting and put it through several more times to make it smoother and more elastic (this helps to  knead the dough each time. If it becomes too wide fold in half lengthwise so you get a nice long oblong.
  • Keep adding a fine dusting of flour each time. You should end up with a fine, silky length of dough to feed through your chosen cutter.  There are several cutters on the pasta machine. The  widest size cuts pasta like Fettucini  but most machines also cut spaghetti and noodle size as well and there are  attachments for other styles or you can cut it by hand.
  • Without a pasta maker it is a bit harder but not impossible if you are keen. Use a rolling pin (rolling stick as my friend puts it) Keep rolling out until you have a fine silky dough and simply roll up and cut by hand into the size you prefer. Just remember to make them all a similar size or the pasta will cook unevenly.  
  • Cook the pasta straight away or hang it to dry on a rack. Use a clothes airing rack if you have one. Just hang the long strands of pasta over the rungs and leave overnight or until dry.  

 

Our friends  make a variety of pasta at home, including Ravioli and Gnocchi by hand and I often saw it drying under a tea towel or cloth but  now I pay a lot more attention it did come out  fresh and delicious and I had to agree hat it was a quick and easy recipe even if I had to prise an actual recipe out of him.  I wonder if I can prise that pasta sauce recipe out of him next time?

I am definitely going to ask them for more ideas and we smile every time we eat our own freshly made pasta at the memory of that conversation.   And yes, I do dust off my pasta machine after making it. after all I might have it inspected.

Carol Skinner lives in Winterless Northland in clean, green New Zealand. She has a passion for cooking, art, painting and digital photography. In the country she now has the time to rediscover writing articles, gardening and trying out new food recipes and is a madly keen experimental cook who loves to use the produce and herbs from her organic garden to create quick and easy healthy and memorable meals.

Website: http://quickhealthyrecipesforyou.com

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:02 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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