I finally got to take my new Christmas present for a ride this weekend (after a very scary trip to the emergency vet with my dog), and make some tube pasta—that’s right, penne, rigatoni, buccatini, the works. Whenever I’m trying out a new tool, I like to find YouTube videos of someone else using the thing first. I learn little nuances of using the machine without having to tinker with it myself, and I have a better idea of how it should work. Surprisingly, considering this is the internet, I couldn’t find any videos of people using this specific machine—I think I may have to make my own!
This pasta maker has two qualities—first, the obvious, it shapes pasta dough into different type of tubes. Second, and a pleasant surprise, is the ability to mix dough within the machine. Normally you do it this really frustrating way where the flour itself is the bowl, and if your hand twitches or you pour too much egg, it makes a damn mess. I’m going to opt in for the easier method, since I do this often and want something sustainable.
As always, you wrap it up and leave it for awhile. Traditionally I wrap the dough and leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes, but recently I saw the ravioli-making episode of Good Eats and Alton suggests putting the dough in the fridge for an hour.
For the most part, pasta making is very straightforward—Make dough. Leave dough. Roll dough. Cook dough. Eat pasta. The devil’s in the details—my tried and true combination of dough ingredients is three eggs, two cups of flour. The booklet that came with the pasta maker recommended two eggs, three cups of flour, and a cup of water. I was skeptical, because I feel like the only liquid in the dough should be the binding agent (the egg), but, I wanted to trust Weston.
Turns out, that was a mistake. The first several passes through the machine produced saggy, doughy, gloppy noodles. I used the included cutter to remove them from the machine and it would just squish all the sticky pieces together into a glob. I was distraught, but saw that some other chefs in videos seemed to substitute a sharp knife—I tried that.
I also raised the pan up on a makeshift ramp to let the pasta roll down a thin layer of flour to coat it and keep it from sticking to the rest—this worked pretty well. I’ve gotten more liberal with flour as I go, considering anything you add to the pasta after its shaped tends to come off in the water, but makes it easier to store and transport.
Since the dough for the penne was far too wet still, I tried to let the dough for the fusilli to dry a little before rolling. Not the best option, but it was easier than tossing it and starting over.
This was sort of a mess, too—same problem. Once the fusilli pieces hit the pan they immediately sagged into a doughy mess, and if one even got slightly stuck to the other they just held on and never let go. Each time a piece was ruined I stuck it back in the machine to try again. The pieces you see below are probably the third generation of dough.
However, I cooked and tasted them and they were still delicious.
Once the pieces were frozen and mostly dry, I brushed off the extra flour to let some of the pasta color we love so much shine through—I think because I used less egg this time, the pieces were less yellowy. Next time I’m going to toss a pinch of Turmeric in there to balance that color (but for the most part, I’ll never be using that combination again).
Next time I try this (let’s be real, probably this weekend), I’m going to try a semolina-based dough instead of all-purpose flour. I’ve heard it’s better.
Made tube pasta again with my aunt this weekend.
Dough made with semolina is ~*so much better*~
We made black squid ink pasta in the first batch, so I mixed some of the black in with the semolina at the end of the run—I love the tie dye pattern it made!
In other news, I think I have too much pasta in my freezer:
Guys I think I made too much pasta pic.twitter.com/LGo3z1jZlV
— Sarah Lawrence (@whiskeyfoxxtrot) January 26, 2015