October 18, 2010

Making Pasta

Ok. Making pasta is one helluva long process. Nico and Allison (two friends with Belgian connections) hooked me up with a hand-cranked pasta machine.  After leaving it out on the counter for a few weeks, I put it in a nice box and made a mental note that I was going to return to it soon.  I found some fantastic blog posts (here and here) with gorgeous photography and easy to follow instructions, and I also looked to Nico’s pictures as he routinely makes homemade pasta.

Making homemade pasta took just over 3 hours from start to finish.  Making the egg-based dough was the easiest part, but passing the dough through the pasta machine to achieve the necessary kneading (I almost wrote needed kneading, hee hee) took a lot longer than I had suspected and made the process very time-consuming.

You need: patience, counter-space, extra help for managing the dough, and lots of extra flour.  The dough will continue to stretch out with each “pass.” The dough is remarkably resilient and didn’t tear, even if it went through the pasta machine irregularly.  I worked the dough through each setting and had to cut my dough into several smaller pieces, and ended up with 8-10 long pieces.  It required a lot of flour dusting which I think could be achieved with a sifter or maybe a salt-shaker (where the salt is replaced with flour).

Making fresh homemade pasta is no easy task. It didn’t really taste like any pasta I had ever tried before. It was soft with a little bit of bite, and not slippery and gummy like store bought pasta. Although, I would take either for convenience.  I made a tossed goat cheese lasagna gratin with a fresh bechamel sauce. The noodles were cut into long rectangular strips, boiled for 1 minute, and tossed with a goat-cheese bechamel sauce and then baked in the oven until piping hot and golden.  My next pasta making adventure (when I have at least 4 hours of extra time) will be a fettucine with a buttered parmesan-reggiano cream sauce (I think a perfect compliment to showoff such a delicate handmade dish).

The hand-cranked pasta machine:
hand cranked pasta machine
pasta machine

Making the dough:
all-purpose flour, eggs, blanched chopped parsley, salt
Pasta dough ready for resting

Rolling the dough:
miles of dough
making pasta with a hand-cranked machine

herbed spaghetti with parsley
herbed pasta with parsley
herbed pasta

Finally, the tossed goat cheese spinach lasagna gratin:
Tossed lasagna goat cheese gratin


  1. jesus, nilam. food that looks this good should be a crime. you should be placed in a pasta prison and forced to eat your way out!

  2. Looking great, Nilam! You'll probably get a little more of a bite when you find that tipo 00 flour, and as you increase the yolk to egg-white ratio, the dough (and pasta) will become silkier (and yellower) as well. However, I agree with you: there are fresh pasta days, and there are hard-wheat pasta days.

  3. droooooooooooooooolllllllllliing.......

  4. Nilam, I just found your blog through Neil's! And seriously, I'm now starving after looking at these pics.


  5. Hey Zarna! Thanks for writing - we should stay in better touch!