Homemade pasta – A tribute to Italian grandmas – Part 3

Thanks to our friends Petra and Aylwin we have a brand new pasta machine. I still think of it as a toy and not a serious tool. It takes all the manual work away and lets me experiment. I have done metre long spaghetti, enormous lasagne sheets fitting perfectly to lasagne pan, and my all-time favourite tagliatelle, all in three different colours, plain white, spinach green and tomato red.

Why do Italian grandmas have arms like Sylvester Stallone?

If you ever tried to make pasta at home and I am not talking about cooking it, but rather making it from scratch, meaning mixing flour and liquid (eggs or water), than you would know that it takes an enormous power. Making dough is fairly easy. Basic recipe requires only two ingredients: flour and water; possibly eggs instead of water in case flour does not have enough proteins to make the dough stick together. Mixing it is also not a big deal. It gets a bit harder towards the end, but you can do it. But rolling the pasta dough manually is a daunting task that requires regular visits to fitness studio and lifting an equivalent of a whale per day for at least a few months before you try it for the first time.

Italian grandmas did not know about machines when making pasta and they don’t need to visit any fitness. It’s their lifestyle. They’ve been doing pasta for generations and their big arms are probably in their genetic pool already. Now, Sylvester is of Italian origin and I bet his mama was making pasta. That’s where his muscles come from.

Pasta made easy

I like being practical. Some people would call it lazy, but I enjoy using kitchen tools especially if they take manual work away from me, leaving me to rethink my next steps and enjoy all these different creations. The first step towards making a positive fresh homemade pasta experience is buying a simple pasta maker. If you are not sure if you would like to do it many times, you can also borrow it from a friend. A simple pasta maker on the photo below can roll the dough to desired thickness (seven steps) and also cut two different shapes of pasta, tagliatelle and noodles.

This simple invention can also assist you partly with making the dough. Instead of kneading it all over and over again, you can just let it through the rollers at the maximum thickness, and thus making the texture more even. Next step after the dough is ready is to roll it to desired thickness. The machine above allows seven different levels of thickness. I would recommend levels 2 and 3 for tagliatelle or lasagne sheets, and level 1 for noodles. After you cut/slice the pasta dough you are ready to go.

I cooked enough pasta for the whole army!

The first mistake you are going to make with fresh pasta is the amount you will cook per person. We are all used to dry pasta. If you are not a sumo wrestler or Italian, you will need about 80-100 grams of pasta per portion. The difference is the perceived volume. Dry pasta will absorb the water and expand while cooking; fresh pasta will as well, but not to such extent. Some people weigh the pasta before cooking – which is smart by the way, but most of us know the amount we need to fill us up. If you are cooking fresh pasta for the first time, I strongly recommend weighing the portion(s). It will save you the embarrassment.

No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.
~Christopher Morley


About Sebastjan Brezovec

I see blogging as a welcome distraction from daily routine. It gives me freedom to express myself as well as motivation for some research before publishing the content.
This entry was posted in Food and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Homemade pasta – A tribute to Italian grandmas – Part 3

  1. Appreciate your efforts to provide such a great read and info. Just bookmarked this post in delicious for future comeback.

    • Thanks. I plan to start writing something about photoography as well in the near future. Since I’m fairly new in blogosphere, I need to find out what suits me most. In past 2 weeks I tried the food topic and felt pretty confident. It also made me use my camera a bit. 🙂

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