by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin
I am a difficult person to buy a Christmas gift, that I will admit. For those who keep tabs on me on my personal blog, you will know I am not into consumerism, and only buy practical, long lasting items that will help us on our sustainable journey. It must be either organic, fair trade, ethical, second hand or renewable or just damn useful. So it makes it really hard for others to buy for me.
Well I am happy to say that my wife, Kim's present ticked the boxes this year (as always). She bought me a pasta machine which is a great addition to our kitchen. I love fresh pasta, and if made with local ingredients even better. I dare say quite a few readers already know how to make pasta, but consider me as a late comer to this wonderful dish. Here is my story that I posted about a week ago. I had such a response that I had to share it here.
A week ago, we made spaghetti! Here is me and my father with the pasta machine testing it out.
The recipe was extremely simple. Place 250gms of white flour and 250gm wholemeal flour in a bowl, make a well and crack in 5 eggs (home grown). Mix with a fork until most of the moisture is absorbed them kneed with your hands. The dough should not stick to your hands, and should be even in consistency. This took about 5 minutes.
Once the dough was nice a firm, I cut off a small piece and ran it through the machine as per the instructions to clean off any excess oil, which I threw away.
Then we cut off a third of the dough, and ran it thought the machine on no. 1. We ran it though at this setting 5 times, adding a little flour each time, then folding the pasta in half, and back through again. It becomes very pliable.
Then we ran it thought once on no. 2 setting, then once on no. 3 setting. It was about 3mm thick and about 90 cm long. Just right for lasagne, but we didn't rest on our laurels.
The manual suggested that we cut the sheets into 25cm lengths, but from trial and error we chose to make them about 45cm or about 15 inches. Then we swapped the handle over to the spaghetti cutter and run a sheet through it.
It took two of us to make it work. We got better at it as we progressed, and ended up with some very nice spaghetti. We found the first run of 25cm too short.
Kim sat at the kitchen table, pulling the strands apart and laying them on a tea towel to dry. However, this is where we came unstuck. We put too much on top each other and only the top dried sufficiently to be used in dinner.
The spaghetti that did dry cooked to perfection. I bought about 6 litres of salted water to the boil, threw in the pasta for 3 minutes, and it was done. I served it with a home made Bolognase sauce which has the following home grown ingredients in it, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, and zucchini.
Everyone said that it was the best and freshest pasta they had ever tasted, and I commented that it was a true family affair. What other food do you know that could bring everyone into the kitchen to help out?
Since we made the initial batch, I sourced two old broom handles out of the shed, sanded them down and then finished them with olive oil. I now use them as a drying rack between two chairs and hang the fresh pasta over the pole. It dries evenly and is just right. I have even made ravioli, which turned out perfect, but that is another story!
What a great present! Thanks honey.