Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

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Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Sue W » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:01 am

A Sunday dinner tradition in our house is to make whatever is in the Sunday NY Times Magazine Food section. This alone has made for some interesting concoctions and many that we've saved and repeated over and over again. But, that's a topic for another thread.

The article for Sunday, September 10th was about pasta - in all it's various forms - sold by a store in Greenwich Village in NYC. The recipes included with the article were for a "Chocolate Fettuccine Pudding" (we passed on this one), and "Fresh Fettuccine With Butter, Peas and Sage Sauce".

We opted for the fettuccine with sage, but we had no pasta in the house. We did have flour and eggs, so I figured it was time to get out the pasta machine and make our own.

There isn't much to making pasta - mix flour and eggs, knead for a while (great upper arm workout and stress reducer!), then let it rest. Roll thin and cut into shape.

But boy oh boy, when you drop those fresh noodles into the boiling water - it's great. They almost immediately float and cook up in a matter of a minute or two.

So, I wonder if any of you take the time to make your own pasta?

Dinner last night was heavenly, BTW. I also grow my own sage and the fresh sage, along with the fresh pasta made a meal to die for (I guess a couple of sticks of butter also had something to do with that). We opted for a Clos du Bois Sauvignon Blanc to go with our meal and it was wonderful.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:23 am

Sue W wrote:So, I wonder if any of you take the time to make your own pasta?


Great question, Sue! I have a little Atlas pasta machine and use it on occasion, but I have to confess that I go with dried pasta 99 percent of the time. It's convenient and easy, and to be frank, I don't see fresh pasta as a substitute. Fresh is great when you want a different experience, but to me it's a different ingredient, and when you love the al dente texture of traditional pasta, you're not going to replicate that with fresh. So I tend to use fresh for different recipes, and most often, when I break out the machine, it's to make ravioli or other stuffed pastas rather than fettuccine.

Interesting idea about letting the NYT challenge you to cook something new every week. I've got to wonder what you did the week recently when they featured fresh yuba (tofu skin), though! I loved the yuba squash soup so much that I replicated it but just threw in some soup pasta in place of the unavailable fresh yuba bits. :)
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:28 am

I like the New York Times articles too, Sue, and often try their recipes -- or some variations of them -- perhaps once every two or three weeks. They often have some very interesting insights.

We like both fresh and dried pasta -- as Robin says, they are very different ingredients. We run about 90% dried/10% fresh -- great fun to make the fresh but the dried is so quick and easy and there is an enormous range of types on offer in our area.

Fresh is pretty much the same batch to batch, although I'm able to make a few different presentations which adds interest.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Sue W » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:16 am

Robin,

I don't remember what we did for that yuba recipe. I think we substituted an earlier favorite. We only get the paper on the weekends, so on Wednesday's , we'll pull up the recipes from their website and usually save those also as back-ups.

As for the pasta, I agree with you both. Fresh pasta texture is very different and has almost a melt-in-your-mouth sort of feeling. I guess I could try drying my pasta for the al dente effect, but as you both said, with the wonderful choices available at the market - the easiest way to enjoy pasta is to leave the work to the experts.

I'll have to start another thread on other NY Times recipes. I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who is up for their challenges !
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:37 am

Sue W wrote:I don't remember what we did for that yuba recipe.


Speaking of which, Sue, I actually tracked down and contacted the Bay Area tofu producer who makes the yuba, and got a belated but very nice response offering to ship me some. Unfortunately, it has to be overnighted, and the shipping for a $7.50 order would be 50 bucks. I was <i>almost</i> tempted, but held my breath for a while and got over it.

I posted my pasta variation as a FoodLetter a few weeks back - the squash soup was still <i>great</i> - and Stuart posted a make-your-own yuba recipe as a response. I really will try that one of these days.

We get The Times only on Sunday also, by the way, but I did cough up for Times Select so I can enjoy all their stuff online and download older items. I think it's well worth it.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Mon Sep 11, 2006 2:12 pm

So, I wonder if any of you take the time to make your own pasta?


Yes, indeed. I still have my trusty Atlas that my mom gave me for my 16th birthday; it must have 200,000 miles on it. It's so easy to do, I don't see why people buy the abominable "fresh" pasta in the plastic tubs.

The key to me is choosing the right flour or flour blend for a given dish.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:28 pm

Stuart Yaniger wrote:The key to me is choosing the right flour or flour blend for a given dish.

Stuart - How about some particulars? I've made pasta a few times, but only with unbleached AP flour.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Stuart Yaniger » Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:49 pm

Sure. I use a mixture of Tipo Fino 00 and semolina. The higher the percentage of semolina, the chewier the pasta. The higher the percentage of Tipo Fino, the more tender and melt-in-your mouth. For stuffed or wrapped pastas, I like to make things a little chewier, for things like pappardelle I go softer.

AP flour gives a very nice compromise texture. "Better for Bread" takes that into the chewier range.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Sue W » Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:57 pm

Howie/Stuart - I used 1 cup of semolina flour and 1 cup of regular white AP flour. The semolina gave it a very hearty and 'country' style - almost like using a fine-grit corn meal. It was a little harder to get it to come together (took a few drops of water, along with the 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk). Kneading it also took a little more elbow grease than I normally use with 100% AP flour.

Seems the Atlas pasta machines are the all-round favorite setup. Mine I got a few years ago as a Chirstmas gift. It's the manual crank style and it's a nice way for Russ and I to work side by side in the kitchen. One holds the sheet as it feeds into the rollers and the other grabs the sheet as it exits. Ditto for the slicing attachment.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby tsunami » Mon Sep 11, 2006 7:28 pm

So, I wonder if any of you take the time to make your own pasta



yes. when ever i can!
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Sue W » Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:28 pm

Hi Tsunami -
thanks for your reply. Fresh pasta has always been my favorite, but for me, finding the time to mix/knead/rest/roll/cut has not been affordable unless I 'reserve' the time on my weekends. Last weekend was a luxury of sorts, but it gave me incentive that fresh pasta is truly a taste-y endeavor.

Looking forward to hearing more from you. I love your posts on chiles, chilis, and all things considered chil + (i) or (e).... :D
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:16 pm

Used to make my own fresh pasta. I bought a huge, expensive machine that did it all, including the extruders for the different shapes. It was fun, for awhile, but lots of clean-up, then the drying process....... years later, kids activites, etc. prompted me to put the machine in a garage sale.

Now some supermarkets, Farmer's Markets are selling good fresh pasta, the dried are good, as well. With only hubby and me here, I'd rather spend my time doing other things, like making a really great sauce or putting together other additions for my pasta. We have several faves.
By the way, we might have pasta once every three months!
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Howard » Tue Sep 12, 2006 2:49 am

I love to make fresh pasta and the kids ask for it all the time. It doesn't get made very often, though, just because of time constraints. It's important enough that I made sure our new kitchen has a ledge on the counter so I can attach my atlas pasta maker.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Larry Greenly » Wed Sep 13, 2006 12:44 am

Once in a while I make pasta with my Atlas. And I usually throw in some semolina to beef up the mixture. Although I have several attachments, I almost always make fettucine. I remember making pasta the old-fashioned way before I had the atlas. Lots of hand-kneading and then rolling the pasta, slicing it, and unrolling it to dry.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Gary Barlettano » Wed Sep 13, 2006 2:37 am

Sue W wrote:So, I wonder if any of you take the time to make your own pasta?


Not as often as I'd like to, but as often as I can.

I remember the days when all the ladies (and me) used to gather in the kitchen to make ravioli. We needed one or two gross to feed our family. Who would make dough. Who would roll it out. Who would cut. Who would stuff. It was an amazing sight. Even Henry Ford would have been impressed.
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby Howie Hart » Wed Sep 13, 2006 8:18 am

Stuart/Sue - Thanks - sounds like a new adventure for me. 8)
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Re: Do you take the time to make your own fresh pasta?

Postby TimMc » Wed Sep 13, 2006 11:39 pm

We used to purchase fresh pasta then cook it that is, BK [Before Kids], but found the boxed stuff to be more efficient [for lack of a better term] between cooking it and the various bouts of parenting.
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