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Sunday, June 2, 2013

I did it...

     I did it, I did it, I did it!, What did I "did", you ask?
     I went an got myself a pasta roller, and now I don't know why I waited so long. My new love is my hand crank pasta roller--bought under the guise of a "modeling clay" roller in the craft section of Ebay. This thing is the bomb--no understatement here. the Pasta rolls out into beautiful thin elastic strips that cook up tender in minutes and hold onto the---okay, I confess, homemade Alfredo sauce in a way I have NEVER had Alfredo sauce hold up.
     I used my usual recipe: 3 cup of flour to 3 eggs, 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, 3 teaspoons of olive oil, and up to 6 Tablespoons of water mixed to a tight dough consistency in the Kitchen Aid stand mixer. That makes plenty of pasta for a family of 5-6 big eaters, especially if you pair the meal with homemade fresh Italian bread and a salad of lettuces tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, grated parmesan cheese and olives, with fresh mixed Italian dressing made with extra virgin olive oil and a good red wine or balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt, some parsley, oregano, basil, garlic, and hot pepper flakes.
      Let the dough rest 30 minutes, then working with 1/8th of the dough at a time, press it into a flatish piece that will fit into the widest setting of the roller machine. Roll it out, turn the dough, and reduce the thickness of the roller, and pass it through the roller =several times skipping a thickness or two every successive pas through. i went down to #2. then with a sharp pizza cutter, cut the fettuccine noodles as wide as you like--I do about 5/8 th's of an inch--we like them wide. Remove the strands to a drying rack---I use my cake cooling racks propped up and use as many rungs as I can and let the strands dry for anywhere from 1/2 hour to several hours.  They never dry out like the ones you buy in a box in the pasta aisle, and if you are not going to use them on the same day they do need to be refrigerated.
     To cook the noodles, boil 8 quarts of water with 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of salt. YOU MUST USE AT LEAST THE 1 TEASPOON OF SALT in order to get any taste out of that pasta--all pasta for that matter. So use the 1 teaspoon--go ahead-measure it- and trust me.
     Fresh pasta does not take as long as the dried box pastas, and when it starts floating to the top of the water it is generally done. Always test it, however, and you are going for an ''al dente" slight bite to it--you do not want this mushy.
     The number 3 son helped with the rolling of the dough. It can get pretty long, and you need to feed the dough, and catch it to guide it out to the counter top all while turning the crank. You really need three hands, so having a partner in crime works wonderfully. It is also a great way to have a child assist in the preparation. Sometimes little helping jobs like that can spawn an interest in cooking, and then, who knows, maybe the next generation will begin to get interested in cooking and preserving family traditions and their heritage? It cold happen. I am attempting to plant the seeds in my boys--just don't tell them, okay?

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