You might have one and not know…

Is it possible you don’t know you have a pasta maker? I didn’t for a while -it was hiding and pretending not to exist.

I am not a huge pasta fan. For that, I am actually grateful. Liking pasta could take a toll on my five foot two frame with my appetite, resistance to exercise, and glutton tendencies. But if the pasta I am eating is outstanding, I appreciate it and will likely love it.

Outstanding pasta is homemade, hand-cut, cooked to perfection. It is a delight and thankfully not too often of an occurrence in our house.

Our excuse for not making pasta until recently has been that we don’t have a pasta maker. Not only did we not have a pasta maker, but even if we wanted to buy this pasta making attachment, we didn’t have the needed KitchenAid to attach it to, so no homemade pasta for us.

[side note: we also don’t have a food processor. I am the food processor. I do a fine chopping job and the blender is my most trusted sous-processor.]

Our lack of kitchen appliances aside, we had a problem- this dish, the lamb stew, was to be served over homemade pasta.

I actually had a pasta maker in the house the whole time- my husband. You might have a pasta maker too. No fancy attachments, just a cheap rolling pin and constant encouragement/nagging.

HOMEMADE PASTA adapted from the Chez Panisse Café recipe

Ingredients: 6 eggs (3 whole and 3 just the yolks), 2 ½ cups semolina flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Why semolina flour? It is a very high gluten flour. Gluten makes it stick together and it also allows you to roll it out without a pasta maker, well, at least without the mechanical KitchenAid kind. We tried making this same recipe with regular flour- it was not easy to roll and basically impossible to get really thin. It may work for an actual pasta maker- didn’t work with my human one.

Gently whisk the eggs with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Mix the flour with a teaspoon of kosher.

Pour your flour/salt mixture on a clean large work surface. Make a well in the center of the flour and begin pouring the egg mixture in. You have to avoid an egg mixture flood. Begin stirring the eggs into the flour with a fork and continue adding the egg mixture until incorporated.

Move slow and methodical. It is a process- gently work the egg mixture into the flour until thickened.

When thickened, use a bench scraper (or be creative!) to help combine the ingredients.

[Side note- while the bench scraper may be one of those things you don’t need, I vividly remember my excitement when I bought one- it brought me joy!

Begin kneading the dough using a pushing and squeezing motion. The mixture should be dry but not too crumbly. If it is too crumbly, add a little water- 1 teaspoon at a time. If it is too sticky, add a little flour.

Form a dough ball, flatten it, wrap in plastic tightly and let it rest for 45 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and flatten with a rolling pin. And flatten. And flatten some more. When you achieve your desired thickness ( I would go about as thing as you can without breaking the sheet), sprinkle with a little flour, then roll it up.

Cut it into the desired size noodle.

You can do it this size.

Or this one.

Or this one- my favorite!

When you are ready to cook them, unroll the noodles. Stretch them out a little more- the dough should be pretty elastic at this point. This will be tedious but completely worth it.

Boil a pot of water with a little salt, through the noodles in and boil for about 5 minutes. Check it for doneness. Drain the water out of your pot, add a little dollop of butter and blend the noodles.

There are a variety of ways you can serve this in a variety of ways ranging from straight up with just a sprinkle of fresh parsley and perhaps some freshly chopped garlic all the way to as an accessory for the lamb stew or the Chez Panisse Bolognese- a recipe I will post very soon since it has become basically a weekly occurrence in our kitchen lately.

Put your pasta maker to work, the human one. The result will be amazing.

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