Monday, March 12, 2012

Operation Home-Made Pasta

About a month ago we had a new kitchen floor put in, which of course meant completely reorganizing the cabinets and installing a pantry in an old closet.  In the course of taking everything out of the cabinets, I made some interested discoveries.  For example, we own not one, but three cast iron corn bread molds - two in the shape of little corn cobs, one with various Arizona-themed shapes (coyote, cactus, crescent moon, armadillo).  I also found canape bread molds, an espresso maker with milk steamer, and an Easy Bake oven with remnants of a vanilla cake circa 1999.
Aside from the random kitchen ware, I stumbled across an unopened box of pasta making attachments for our KitchenAid stand mixer.  My dad and I have been wanting to make our own pasta for ages, but we always shied away from it, since we didn't have a roller.  However, this pristine box of shiny stainless steel gadgets changed it all.

We chose a lazy Sunday afternoon for our pasta making endeavors.   We used a pasta recipe for KitchenAid mixers, basically because it gave specific speed and setting directions.  After a quick run to the health food store for semolina flour (and a cappuccino at the cafe next door) and quick review of the KitchenAid manual, we were ready.

Now, I knew that making pasta from scratch wasn't going to be a breeze, but it was a little more...intense than expected.  I think part of the issue was a lack of adequate counter space.  Okay, there's something you should know about me - I never clear enough kitchen space for myself when cooking.  I always end up working in a cutting board sized space, with spices, kitchen towels, utensils, and empty containers piled up around me.  I know I should be more organized, but it works for me.  However, when making pasta, I suggest having a large, clean work area.  You need to have somewhere to lay out the rolled pasta before you cut it - clearing your kitchen table, cleaning it, and dusting it with flour would work best I think.

We decided to hand-cut the pasta, since rolling out the dough, changing the attachment, and then cutting it seemed like it would take too long.  In reality, my dad cutting the rolled dough into long strands with a pairing knife took quite a bit of time and added effort.  It wasn't until his last piece of rolled dough that he thought of using a pizza cutter, which made things go a lot faster.  We only rolled and cut half of the dough last night, and this afternoon, I cut the rest, but this time using the cutting attachment, which was way easier and simpler than hand cutting it - though it didn't have that charming rustic look.
Makeshift drying racks.
Also, the recipe I used called for a "pasta drying rack", which I didn't even know such a thing existed.  In it's place, we covered the bottoms of some plastic hangers and hung them from our kitchen lamp and cabinets.  It felt kind of trashy, but, you know, in a good way.
Since I wanted to highlight the pasta, I cooked down some tomatoes, garlic, onions, and basil down in white wine - I mean, after putting all that energy into its production, I didn't want to drown it in a heavy sauce.  Not only was the sauce nice and light, but so was the pasta itself.  The flavored reminded me of an egg noodle, but not as thick and dense.  Normally if I have two plate fulls of pasta, I feel overly full.  But after two plates of this stuff, I could still have eat another two...or four.  It's going to be the perfect alfresco summer dinner - I'm picturing our teak table, fresh cut flowers, tiki torches, a sun dress, a big glass of a bright white, and this pasta with lemon, peas, and asparagus.  Jeeze, I cannot wait for summer.

No comments:

Post a Comment