5 simple learnings from a novice cook’s attempt at making fresh pasta.
My neighbour is recreating ‘Come Dine With Me’ with her friends, the result of which was the purchase of a shiny new pasta making machine. Inclement weather and not having any particular plans brought me to the decision to attempt to make ‘fresh pasta.’
Wanted to share some experiences which were not referenced in the recipes reviewed, there are things you could do with knowing embarking on the pasta journey.
I made the school boy error of not really thinking this food expedition through – although I did watch a video that made it look far too easy and consult my Jamie Oliver recipe book, there were definite unexpected elements which required Google consultation!
1. Pasta making machines don’t fit onto all surfaces
The bracket didn’t fit onto any surface of my kitchen, well only when the dishwasher door was opened – that added an interesting dimension to the whole experience. Jamie Oliver suggested a rolling pin would do the job just as well, but am not convinced by this. The rollers of the pasta machine do get everything nice and thin. I would have had to break out into a sweat if I had used a rolling pin – never a good look whilst in the kitchen.
2. Using a pasta making machine is a two person job!
You need plenty of hands!
As you work the pasta through the rollers it obviously gets thinner and longer, a pair of hands is not enough – to support the pasta through it’s roller journey and of course changing the roller setting every 2 mins needs assistance.
3. Be brave with pasta – it’s stronger than you think
Another tip is to cut pasta sheets into manageable lengths after working them through the pasta machine. The lenghts just get longer and longer (hence learning 2 people) but I found that actually pasta can be cut into more managable lengths which can be worked through the rollers, still stand by learning 2 but it can be made a little easier when shorter lengths are used.
4. Flour every surface the pasta comes into contact with
Ravioli was the aim of the evening, and it got stuck to the table when making the little pasta parcels & I understand gaps in ravioli is a disaster when cooking. After managing to salvage some near catastrophes I didn’t think to flour the plate they rested on pre-cooking and at the last hurdle found they had stuck again – holes were made!
5. Drying pasta – needs space and some way of hanging wet pasta
My 250g flour & 6 egg mix created a lot of dough – easily solved, the pasta machine had a variety of setting that needed to be experimented with. I only really thought about how to store pasta when it was hanging off my fingers after being through the pasta maker…..found out that it needs to be hung for a few days to dry out – coat hangers and cloths horses are great implements:
That concludes some basic learnings. Although it took up a significant amount of time – 3 hours in total (one hour was needed to rest the pasta in the fridge – I covered strawberries in chocolate whilst waiting) and there is a significant amount of effort needed, I was glad of the challenge – I can now say I did it! But am not going to be rushing out to buy my own pasta making machine. My neighbours machine is firmly packed up in the box ready to hand back.