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Posted on Jan 17, 2012 in Food | 19 comments

Making Pasta

Let us try to sweep past the fact that it took me almost 2 hours to get to work this morning (traffic fail), that I’m operating on roughly 4.3 hours of sleep (sleeping fail), and that even with all my exhausted stumbling around the kitchen this morning, all I managed to bring to work to eat today is a Luna bar and a container of leftover Edible Arrangement fruit (bringing food to work fail). Let us instead focus on happier thoughts. Foodier thoughts. Thoughts that bring us back to yesterday, when I spent the day making fresh pasta for the first time with my family!

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I gave my sister a pasta making attachment for her KitchenAid and a pasta drying rack for Christmas a couple of years ago, but she had never even opened them before last night, haha. We figured it was finally time to put it to use, so my parents and I drove up to Columbia and promptly proceeded to destroy Jenny’s kitchen.

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Admittedly, for the first few rounds with the pasta roller, I was starting to feel about making pasta the same way I feel about cake balls: great if you have the patience, but not worth it. It’s a lot of work!

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You put chunks of pasta dough (generally a combination of flour, egg, water, and salt/seasonings) into the pasta roller, fold it in half, then feed it through over and over again, adjusting the settings so the pasta sheets gets thinner and more uniform each time. Then you have to switch attachment heads if you want to cut the pasta sheets into actual noodles (the set I gave Jenny had a fettuccine and spaghetti attachments). We did two kinds of pasta and two sauces to go with!

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My mom and sister found the recipes for a whole wheat pasta and a basil (!) pasta, and they mixed up the dough while I watched clips of Daniel Radcliffe‘s episode of SNL (teehee). Then I came into assist with the pasta rolling/cutting, general cooking, and sauce-making. We made a garlic cream sauce that was so delicious that my arteries are re-clogging just thinking about it, and a rose sauce with tomato sauce, white wine, and a ton of herbs. Delicious!

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Pasta creeper.

So as I mentioned before, I was a little skeptical at first that the end result would be worth all the effort we were putting into the pasta. Well, I’m delighted to announce that I was so, so wrong. Freshly made pasta is amazing. It cooked in like .085 seconds and was chewy, flavorful, and delicious!

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Oh carbs. How I love you.

Along with the pasta itself, there was the loaf of jalapeno-cheddar bread you see above, and we also did up some chicken, mushrooms, and these incredibly gourmet salads that included spinach, vanilla poached pears, glazed walnuts (I die), and herb goat cheese.

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So, uh, yeah, I’d say it was a pretty successful dinner. I think that you could easily spend hundreds of dollars on a meal like this for 5 people in a restaurant!

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And as if all of that food wasn’t enough (there was tons leftover), my mom brought Crepes Suzette to make for dessert. Whoosh.

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So much amazingness. So making pasta isn’t something that I would do regularly, not only because it is a lot of work (and I don’t own the pasta attachments myself anyway), but because I have a very hard time with portion control when it comes to pasta — especially with this degree of deliciousness! That said, I think that it really is an awesome thing to be able to do if you are entertaining or cooking for a special occasion. It just tastes SO much better than the dried, boxed stuff. And you have infinite possibilities, too! We tried to keep the doughs fairly simple for our first time, but we were spinning off tons of ideas for pastas made with pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach, sundried tomatoes… the list goes on.

Have you ever made/do you make your own fresh pasta?

19 Comments

  1. Yummmm so good. I did that once with the attachment I have for my kitchenaid…but I hate my attachment. It extrudes spaghetti…horizontally. And since gravity, you know, exists, it’s quite laborious and frustrating. I’ve got some exchange Amazon credit and have the kitchenaid pasta 3-pack in there! Love homemade pasta! Congrats on your first experience ๐Ÿ™‚ Looks sooo tasty!

  2. I LOVE making pasta. It’s so yummy – but you’re right, it is a lot of work. I think with practice you could get it down to a manageable art though. It’s a great party activity!

    • Oh my gosh, having a pasta-making party would be so much fun! Like a pizza-making party, but fancier!

  3. My first time making pasta in a manual pasta machine was last night too! My family loved it! I milled some quinoa to use as our flour, which was pretty ballsy for my first time making flour-free, and using the new machine! Thankfully after a few crumbly messes I figured out a system…. I look forward to the other options I can try! Please share any of your recipes for alternative pasta, as I now am eager to use the machine! lol

  4. Wow, all that food looks amazing! I’ve never made my own pasta, but if it’s anything like making your own pierogies, I agree on it taking a TON of work. I’ll let the little old ladies at the church down the street make them for me! Sometimes it’s worth the extra bucks to save on the time.

  5. MMM… the photos made me relive the food from last night! i’m sorry i forgot to send you home with some of the leftovers- maybe you would have had less of a bringing-food-to-work-fail. Thanks for coming up and for the pasta attachments/drying rack that spurred the whole event!

  6. Girl, you have just inspired me to host a pasta dinner for friends – using your same menu. I am such a copycat! It all sounds so amazing.

  7. Ok, I live in Richmond and I am coming for the leftovers!!! See you in a couple of hours!

  8. Gretchen that looks AMAZING! I am drooling right now. What did you put in your sauces? They look/sound sooooo good!

    • So the garlic/cream sauce one was 1 stick butter, 2 tablespoons minced garlic, salt, pepper, and an entire quart of heavy cream (don’t try this at home, hahahaha).

      The rose was: olive oil, 1/2 tsp each of thyme, parsley, oregano, basil, 2 tbsp minced onion, 1 tbsp minced garlic, 1/2 cup veggie stock/boullion, 1/2 cup white wine, 1+ cup tomato sauce, 1 cup light cream. (just barely healthier, haha)

  9. my memories of my Nonna in her old house include a lot of homemade pasta! i can remember the smell of it perfectly. there’d be tons of dough and flour on the kitchen counter and she’d have a manual crank pasta maker that would clamp right on to the counter. so good.

    i want to know how you make those vanilla poached pears! i am dying for that salad.

  10. Mmmm, that pasta looks delicious! I make lots of homemade breads and dumplings, but I’ve never tried my own pasta. I’m sure it’s so much tastier than store-bought pasta,though.

  11. I love the photo of you peeking through the hanging pasta. Fun! I’ve never tried to make my own pasta. Now I want to!!! Could you please fedex the leftover to me? Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great day Gretchen!

  12. I’ve never made pasta at home but I love fresh pasta when we go out to eat! It def has a different texture and taste than dried pasta… Your table spread looks absolutely delicious and even though I just had dinner [and some ice cream], it’s making my tummy rumble ๐Ÿ˜€

  13. wow! amazing meal! everything looks so fancy and delicious!! im totally jealous right now.

  14. how fun! looks delicious! making my own pasta is definitely on my “to do” list! great journey on your blog! awesome!

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