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Freshly Made Perfect Pasta at Home

By: J Logsdon

It's hard to beat the convenience of using dried pasta at home, especially for day to day use, but sometimes you want something special for dinner and making fresh pasta is one way to easily accomplish that. The good news is that it's very easy to do if you use the pasta attachments on your mixer.

Fresh pasta has several advantages over dried pasta. The main difference is the great taste of fresh pasta. Not only can you distinctly taste the flavor of the pasta but the texture is creamy and smooth and melts in your mouth. The pasta is also less slimy than dried pasta so the sauce sticks to it much better.

Fresh pasta also cooks in about half the time that dried pasta takes. Since you can make fresh pasta ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer it can really help you whip up a quick meal.

With fresh pasta you can also mix up the recipe to create unlimited varieties of pasta. You can experiment with colors: add some shredded spinach for green pasta, a little tomato pasta for red, some squid ink for black. You can also change the flavors: some pesto adds a great basil flavor, some finely ground nuts create a unique flavor. You also only use ingredients that you want. For instance, you can choose to use water instead of egg, whole wheat flour instead of white, organic flour instead of standard. You're completely in control over what you are putting in your body.

With fresh pasta you also have complete control over the shape of the pasta. You can make spaghetti or linguine, lasagna or gemelli, or any type of noodle you like. You can even involve the kids in the pasta making process.

The best part of using fresh pasta is how easy it is to make using the pasta attachments for your mixer. You first make the dough, let it rest for 30 minutes and then roll out the pasta sheets using the pasta attachments. The actual work time is about 15 minutes, not too bad for a wonderful meal!

As mentioned above, their are limitless possibilities when it comes to your pasta dough but here is a simple and traditional egg-dough pasta recipe.

First take 1 cup of unbleached flour and put it in a bowl then mix in two large eggs. Knead the dough together for about 5 minutes, the dough should be begin to become a little elastic and still be sticky while remaining a little course. After kneading for 5 minutes wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes. The resting process allows the dough to come together and take on the silky texture that is so wonderful in fresh pasta.

While the dough is resting you can set up your stand mixer and put in your pasta roller attachment. Make sure it is set to the largest setting. You can also start your water on the stove as the 30 minutes runs out, this way the pasta can go right from the cutter into the water.

Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes you want to press it out into the shape of a thin hamburger patty, with the edges about a fourth of an inch thick. Turn the mixer on to low speed and begin to feed the dough into the roller with one hand and help support the sheet coming out the other end. When you are supporting the pasta sheet make sure you are not pulling on it, let the pasta roller do the work and just focus on supporting it.

Once the sheet comes out of the pasta roller fold it in half length wise and feed it through the roller again. Repeat this rolling and folding process for 5 or 6 times. This repeated rolling helps the gluten develop and creates the signature silkiness that fresh pasta is known for.

Next set the pasta roller to the next smaller size and run the sheet through it. Fold the pasta sheet in half again and run through a few more times. You will repeat this process, moving down the pasta roller widths until you reach the thickness you desire for the type of pasta you are making. Most spaghetti-type pastas will be around the middle thickness, while some wider noodles will be thicker.

Once the pasta sheet is the thickness you want you can take off the pasta roller attachment and put on the pasta cutter attachment. Most mixers have attachments to cut spaghetti, angel hair pasta, linguine, and ravioli. You can also cut any shape you like by hand, it takes longer but it can be a lot of fun, especially if you get the family involved.

For our traditional pasta put on the spaghetti cutter. Turn the mixer back on to low and run the pasta sheet through the cutter. Perfect strands of spaghetti should come out the other side. Once all the pasta is cut, simply put it in the boiling, salted water for 3-4 minutes, just until it becomes tender. Take the pasta out and add some sauce to it right away. Either a traditional marinara sauce or even just some olive oil with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Cleaning the attachments is even easier than making the pasta is. Since pasta dough is a very dry dough it does not stick everywhere like other doughs. You just need to brush off the attachments and you are all done. The attachments are also much smaller than traditional pasta rollers so you can easily store them in a drawer until they are needed.

I hope you now have the confidence to enjoy wonderfully fresh pasta for years to come!

Author Resource:-> J Logsdon is a home chef and caterer who makes following your culinary dreams easy for the aspiring chef.
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