Hello my Foodie Friends!
Autumn is here and the cooler weather often triggers our desire for pasta. There is something about eating carbohydrates, creamy sauces, and earthy autumnal vegetables that makes the autumn season ideal for pasta consumption. No matter what they contain, fall pasta dishes must be warm, they must be hearty, and, above all, they must be deeply satisfying. My love for pasta stems from growing up in an Italian-American household where pasta was always a staple in many of the meals we had. I often times reflect on the joys of growing up with an Italian family such as: when your friends came over they were asked no fewer than six times if they wanted something to eat; Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin played in the background while everything was being cooked; leftovers were stored in Polly O ricotta containers; and, yes, we were all guilty of talking with our hands. One of my favorites is remembering when I was little, mine, and my four other siblings favorite way to help was making home made pasta with Nonni (my grandmother). After we washed our hands we were allowed to help if we were quiet and didn’t fight with each other. Very hard! The luckiest kid got to guide the pasta as Nonni rolled the pasta through the machine. Stirring her secret pasta sauce with the wooden spoon was a close second. I am certain you can visualize what the kitchen smelled and looked like during this process. Once the pasta was made, the dish created and all were seated, it was always a struggle getting Nonni to actually join the table and eat. I’ve tried to carry on these traditions with my own children.
Making homemade pasta is a fun event to get the entire family involved with. One important tool to have when making homemade pasta is a Pasta machine. A pasta machine is used to create laminated pasta. They typically consist of two stainless-steel rollers with adjustable settings, which knead and stretch the pasta dough. Pasta machines are often sold with an additional removable cutter that creates pasta shapes such as spaghetti and linguini. There are also many different attachments available, from different-shaped cutters to attachable motors.
Consider pasta as a meal that brings you together as a family from start to finish. We’ve learned from our older generations and teach our younger generations. No matter what you’re looking for, pasta and noodles have become entwined with culture, history, and more importantly in our lives and families. Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery Store located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs. We carry all types of tools to assist you with making your pasta: Pasta machines, pasta drying racks, ravioli stamps and forms, pasta rollers, pastry cutters, pasta pots, and so much more. Remember my Foodie Friends: “Life Happens in the Kitchen.” Make those magical culinary moments happen.
John & Paula
HOMEMADE PASTA RECIPE
Yield: approximately one pound
• 2 cups flour
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
• 3 large eggs
1. Combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add the eggs. Gently begin to mix the eggs, gradually drawing in flour with each stroke. Eventually a stiff dough will form.
2. Knead the pasta dough for 8-10 minutes. If the dough is too dry and won’t stick together, add a 1/2 teaspoon of water. If it is too sticky, sprinkle in a bit more flour. Keep in mind this dough will be much stiffer than traditional bread dough. However, the longer you work it, the smoother and more pliable it will become. We are looking for a smooth, satiny consistency, which will develop the longer you knead.
3. Cover the well-kneaded dough tightly with plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for around 45 minutes. (This resting phase is super important, as it gives the dough time to relax. Otherwise, you’ll fight it the whole time you are rolling it out.)
4. After the resting period, divide the dough into four portions and roll into a small, flat circle. Now comes the cool part!
HOW TO USE A PASTA MACHINE
• Rolling the dough is a process– you need to make several passes, throughout each thickness setting for the best results. Start with the biggest setting (usually 5 or 6), run it through once or twice there, then gradually adjust the settings to be thinner and thinner until you have the perfect sheet of golden pasta.
• Between each pass, fold the strip into thirds. This helps square up the edges and keeps things even. Then simply roll it through the cutting side of the machine to slice into spaghetti or fettuccine. From here, you can either cook your pasta right away (3-4 minutes in boiling water) or dry it for later.