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Learning the mystical magical ways of making pasta

01 Jan

Happy New Year! And welcome to 2014, whatever it may bring. So far it has brought me a very bad cold (actually, 2013 gave it to me as a parting gift, so maybe 2014 will miraculously clear away the cold and spare my already shredded sore nose asap).

When it comes to pasta, actually, what I learned is that there is no magic. There is only muscle and patience. πŸ˜‰

I received a pasta machine for Christmas this year and naturally I needed to try it out a few times right away. Yes, I agree, it’s a bit scary looking.

IMG_6993And needless to say, if you are gonna crank up the monster, you want to make a bunch of pasta. So we’ve been eating a lot of pasta in the last few days.

The recipe for pasta is easy: for one portion, you want 100 grams of durum wheat flour and 1 egg. Just multiply for more people. And note, once you make the pasta, it’s easy enough to dry it and store it in your pantry for later eating. And worth it. Make more, trust me on this.

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Start out by making a mound from the flour and crack the eggs into the middle: I read in the instructions afterwards that it is easier to do this in a bowl. But it was too late by then.

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Take a fork and gently and slowly mix the eggs with the flour from the center. Add water if the dough is too dry and won’t come together (as in my case) or more flour it it is too wet and sticky. Ultimately you want a lump of dough that looks like this:

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To get there, you need to knead the dough to a nice even consistency, it should feel like the texture of an earlobe. Feel your earlobe. Yes, like that. You *will* need to put some muscle into this – the dough is tough, and it will fight you.Β  It should take about 5-10 minutes of kneading to get there. Let it restΒ  for about 20 minutes, and then cut off a hunk of it and roll it out so you can fit it into your new pasta machine.

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I was worried that these things would be complicated to use, but they’re truly not.

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You simply pass it through the rollers a bunch of time, each time narrowing the opening through which you fit the dough.

Eventually, the dough can get WAY TOO LONG to handle.

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But the solution is easy. Cut it.

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And trust me, you don’t need to take it all the way to the “9” thickness on your machine – it’s too thin for most dishes. Go for 5 or 6.

Next step: cutting the pasta. The attachment on the back works just like the rollers on the front. Pass the dough through and out comes tagliatelle. Like magic.

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Sort of wow. At least the first time.

You will have a hell of a lot of it very fast. Like 3 times this amount.

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Find a recipe to cook. Jamie Oliver and Marcella Hazan are pretty fail proof.

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Make sure you have some hungry eaters around.

The fresh pasta takes just a few minutes to cook in a nice pot of boiling salted water.

Eat and enjoy.

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