Over a year ago, my husband got me not just a kitchen scale for Christmas, but a pasta roller attachment for my mixer. I’m not sure if I should or should not be embarrassed it’s been well over a year and I only just recently tried it out. Oh, I know he understands. He knows I’m home with the kids and the past few months have been really chaotic. I just feel bad I let another Christmas come and pass before even taking the attachment out of the cabinet.
It’s not that I was scared of making pasta. I was aware of what the process is and it never sounded too difficult. No, I have always been afraid of the taste. Having been raised on store bought pasta, I’m quite accustomed to that taste. I know homemade pasta is a little different, and I’d heard durum wheat really helps it to taste like pasta, but I never found it. Though, I must admit, I never did look hard enough.
Now that it’s quarantine/isolation/stay at home time (thanks, coronavirus), I decided it was high time for me to try. After all, it was Spring break so I didn’t have a 5 year old to teach and my husband was working from home twice a week, so he could easily take care of the kids while I made a mess in the kitchen (which I absolutely, completely did).
Kind of Spur of the Moment
In my defense, I had been thinking of making pasta for quite a while. By that I mean the thought of “I should try making pasta one day” has popped into my head once in a while over the past year or so. I’ve finally reached a time in my life where it just kind of makes sense to at least try.
Pasta was one of the first things to fly off the shelves about a month ago. When my family got to the market, it looked like there was only a box of elbows left, which aren’t exactly popular with my family, but, behind the front boxes, I found a treasure trove of our favorite penne. Unfortunately, I adore pasta, so pasta goes quite quickly. Fortunately, my husband takes great joy in collecting flour and eggs, so I had just what I needed to make my own pasta.
I’m stuck at home. The kids get tired of me. Sometimes Dad is much more interesting than Mom. It was only a matter of time before I would get a chance to make pasta from scratch. Well, that time finally came, and I had no clue what to do. Fortunately, The Spruce Eats helped me out, with the process, at least.
The ratio is 3:2, flour to egg, though I’ve also read that some areas in Italy use water instead of eggs. Different areas also use different kinds of flour. I decided to stick with the flour and eggs I had on hand.
I’m used to ratios having a 1 in it. It makes it easier to divide and multiply as I’m not exactly math-inclined (no matter what my husband says). So, I just added an invisible 1. Who knows what that 1 would stand for. But it definitely helped. After that, I finally figured out I could just divide the 2 (the eggs) in half and then multiple by 3 to get the 3 (the flour).
To be quick: I used 2 eggs, which weigh approximately 50g each, and then multiplied 50 by 3 to get 150g of flour. So, 100g in eggs and 150g in flour.
I’ve seen pasta made on counter tops and large cutting boards. I had neither surface at my disposal, so I just took a measuring bowl with a flat bottom, dumped my flour in, made a well, and then cracked the eggs into the well. Then I started mixing the eggs and gradually mixed in the flour. And of course I used a fork that started to dig into my hand, so I just switched to using my hand since kneading followed the mixing.
I was unprepared for how sticky pasta dough is. I used so much flour just trying to prevent it from sticking to me. I failed more than I succeeded. But I kneaded and then I split the dough in half since I didn’t want to overwhelm either myself to my pasta roller, and let the dough rest on a floured surface for 15 minutes.
Fifteen minutes later, I wandered back into the kitchen after chatting with my 5 year old for a bit (by chatting I mean trying to figure out what he was trying to tell me about one of the Roblox games he was playing) and fitted my pasta attachment to the mixer. I’m not sure where my instructions for it went, so I turned the hunk of metal back and forth, trying to figure out which way I wanted the dough to roll for a couple of minutes.
I needed flour. A lot of flour. That dough is sticky! I flattened out a ball, floured both sides, and then put it through on the 1 setting. I must say, it was oddly satisfying to do this part. Until I’d put the first ball through 2 and 3, flouring both sides each time because…sticky! I thought I’d tightened the attachment enough, but it began to spin madly and knocked my measuring cup of flour all over the place. See what I mean by messy? If only that had been the only mess…
It happened again. I thought I had tightened it enough, but it turns out I didn’t even anchor it properly. Flour went flying in the opposite direction. Oh, what a waste of flour…At least I finally got my white kitchen.
I took to tightening the knob after each use and started over with the first ball. I only flattened it through the number 3 since it seemed thin enough to me and I was afraid of it tearing and ripping. I also realized I needed a large enough place so I could cut it and turn it into ravioli. So, I covered a baking sheet with foil and flour and laid out my flat first ball on it. A knife just didn’t cut it (well, not well) so I used a pizza cutter that I probably should have used in the first place.
After I cut and filled those raviolis, I turned to the other ball, which went a lot more smoothly.
From watching a cooking show at some point, I knew homemade pasta only takes a couple of minutes to cook through. Well, I knew that was the case with long strips of pasta. I wasn’t sure about ravioli that had been filled with cold meat from the fridge. I ended up cooking the ravioli for about 3 minutes.
Now, the instructions for making pasta say to use heavily salted water. I did not do this, but only because my meat filling was more than salty enough. Though I did salt the boiling water a little bit because my husband has a fondness for salt. And then into the water went the ravioli, the very oddly and unevenly shaped ravioli because I cannot cut anything in a straight line.
And I mean puff. I had no idea the pasta would puff. It did not stay pretty and thin. It was kind of interesting to chew, but it wasn’t terrible tasting. A bit eggy. Gee, I wonder why… Still, not a bad first attempt. My husband did say it looked like pasta, but none of us were quite satisfied with the taste. I guess I’ll need more flour, of a different kind.