Jack and I brought up a manual pasta machine with every intention of making our own pasta. We forced the issue by not purchasing any pre-made pasta in our annual shopping. We sent up a twenty-five pound bag of semolina and a dose of sheer determination.
Honestly, the machine looked a little daunting. After eating through our rice at a pace likely to use up our stores, the reality set in that we would need to face the machine and make the pasta.
We took the machine out of the box. We opened the directions. Directions? There was a basic recipe and a phone number to order parts. Thank goodness for the internet! We read recipes and watched youtube videos and set to work.
The first attempt was a DISASTER! I swear every recipe on the internet had comments like “this was so easy,” and “simplest way to make pasta.” When I looked up “what do I do with ruined pasta dough?” I found nothing. So no one ruins their dough? Interesting. I thought maybe I could salvage it and use the dough for a top of something. I was so frustrated, I threw the whole thing out.
Because of my tenacious streak (nice way to say stubborn), I tried the dough again. This time, I didn’t follow the directions and didn’t incorporate all the flour. Now the texture seemed more pliable. I wrapped it in plastic and let it rest overnight.
Round two with the machine. I ran the dough through the machine, like I had been instructed. I decided to make fettuccine noodles. The thinking was that flat wide noodles might be easier to handle. The dough ran through the machine nicely and was thin and even. I cranked the dough through the fettuccine cutter and GLOB, a sticky mess. Good thing I could run it through the flattening part again. After a couple of tries, I got the noodles to come through the cutter in strips with fettuccine indentations. I decided to let them dry all together in big pieces. After a couple of hours, I peeled them apart. They looked weird and too thin, almost translucent. The raw noodles did taste ok, though.
Jack then whipped up an olive oil, sundried tomato, garlic, mushroom, chicken mixture to serve with the pasta. He dropped my pasta creation into the boiling water. I couldn’t look. Another disaster was looming. After three minutes, he pulled the pasta out of the pot and drained it.
Drum roll, please. It was amazing. Just the right texture. Boiling the dried out noodles gave them spring and chewiness. We were honestly shocked how good they tasted.
We’re totally sold! I spent the next hour looking up recipes for raviolis. I think I’m ready to handle the ravioli attachment now.