Every once in a while I get the urge to make homemade pasta. And then as soon as I make it, I ask myself why I don't do it more often. There is something wonderful about homemade pasta. It's delicious and worth the extra effort it takes to make it. Especially when you have the kitchen tools to do it, which I do. So, this week I decided it was time to make homemade pasta.
A long time ago, my Italian grandmother made pasta the old-fashioned way, with a rolling pin and knife. She would go down to the kitchen in her basement to make it. I remember watching her make a well of flour on her marble table. She would add some eggs and a tiny bit of water. I like to make my dough the way she did. I used about 3 1/2 cups of flour, 4 large eggs, a few tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt.
Next, I got out the Pasta Roller & Cutter Set that attaches to my Kitchen Aid mixer. My kids gave it to me for my birthday a few years ago and I love it. It's so much fun to use, and definitely one of the coolest kitchen appliances I have.
The dough goes into the top of the roller and is kneaded and thinned out as it is pushed through the other end. When you use the Kitchen Aid and the attachments, you don't have to knead the dough quite as much by hand. The roller does it for you.
Then I did something different with the rest of the dough. I told you how my grandma made pasta by hand a long time ago. Well at some point she started using a manual, or hand crank, machine. I was fortunate enough to inherit that machine before she passed away and I will treasure it forever. I decided to get that machine out of the box and make the rest of the fettuccine with it. It was very nostalgic.
My grandma had a long wooden rolling pin and she would roll her dough until it was as thin as she wanted it. Then she cut the dough into sheets to put through the manual machine. I used sheets of dough that were already thinned out from the pasta roller on my mixer.
The fettuccine turned out perfect. It might have been even better than the pasta made from the automatic machine. I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that my grandma's pasta machine holds a lot of memories and wonderful stories. She would probably be smiling right now, knowing that even though I had a way to make it easier, I was still happiest making pasta the way she did, and with her machine.
We had fettuccine for dinner that night. I boiled the pasta until it was al dente and topped it with homemade marinara sauce and grated cheese. It was delicious. I am going to try not to wait so long until I make homemade pasta again. Maybe next time I'll try ravioli...
Photos by Leslie Reese and Lynsie Reese