Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Home Made Spaghetti

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.


Lorna Jean said...

What a wonderful gift. My mother gave me a pasta machine just like yours years ago, and I taught my husband how to use it ASAP! We have temporarily moved to the Middle East and our pasta machine is one item we miss the most. Cutting pasta by hand, because we prefer home made, is a tedious process. I like your idea of the wooden poles for a drying rack! Lacking in spare poles, I simply draped the pasta over a clothes hanger as it came out the machine and hung it up to dry-works beautifully.

Enjoy your wonderful pasta!

Gavin said...

Thanks Lorna Jean. I intend on making my own pasta from now on in.


Barbara said...

I have seen many post on having a pasta machine and making your own but, It is your post that has made me want to go out and get one right now. Looking forward to keeping up with your pasta making adventures :)

louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife said...

We've had a pasta machine for years - my boyfriend's mother regifted it to us but we didn't touch it until a couple of months ago -- now it's one of our favourite kitchen gadgets ever! We quickly went from needing four (or five or six!) hands to keep everything moving to being able to do it solo within a couple of sessions.

We made various shapes and styles of pasta when we were getting our summer glut of eggs but now we're lower on eggs (winter/moults), we've been using it to make crackers instead (the rolling & folding gives them a lovely texture).

I just wish it hadn't sat on a shelf for a few years before we discovered how much fun it was!

Jen @ 400 Calorie Dinners said...

I received a pasta roller attachment for my Kitchenaid for Christmas and made a batch of sourdough noodles over the weekend. There definitely is a learning curve, but the end result is sooooo worth the effort. I don't think I will go back to store-bought pasta again. I also love a previous commenter's idea of using it to roll crackers. I think I am going to try that this afternoon.

Laura @ Getting There said...

Uh-oh...after reading this post I think I want a pasta machine. I didn't realize they could make such lovely looking spaghetti. And I bet it does taste fabulous.

Heather @ Significantly Simple said...

Oh, it looks delicious! I received a Kitchen Aid as a Christmas gift, and am requesting the pasta attachment for my February birthday! I cannot wait to try making my own.


Carol said...

That look's great!!Now i want one,i'v never thought about a Pasta machine before,but looking at your Pic's i'v changed my mind,thank you!!

Tiffany Jewelry said...

sounds great.i like Spaghetti. but i don't have the tools.

emilysincerely said...

What lovely spaghetti! Congrats to Kim for finding you the perfect gift! I agree, there is nothing like fresh pasta once you have had it. I found my pasta roller second hand and I have used it a few times. Your post reminds me to get it out and make some more sometime this week. Now you have me wanting to make some ravioli too! Emily