Post # 311 It Was a Floury Kind of Day . . . .

November 19, 2014 at 9:46 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 311 It Was a Floury Kind of Day . . . .

Yesterday, I was wearing a dark gray t-shirt that I like cuz it’s nice and thick, and warm, and soft.  It’s a nice shirt.  When I took it off last night, I noticed that there were streaks of flour still on it that I had not been able to brush off.  I laughed a little because it had been a floury sort of day.

We get up pretty early in our household, mostly because the dogs seldom want to wait past 6am to get out and then to have breakfast.  By 11, I’m ready to fix lunch.  When I did, I saw there was only one slice of store-bought bread left.  The solution was easy.  I grabbed the bread making machine, set up my recipe, hit the “make dough” selection, and left it to its own devices.  An hour and a half later, I had dough set up to make my sandwich rolls.  I shaped them out by hand, set them to rise, and left them alone for about an hour.  Then I baked them and they came out exactly the way they’re supposed to, no problems.  But I was up to my elbows in flour for a couple of those steps.  (In case you want the recipe for the sandwich rolls, on the right side of the blog is a list of pages with recipes.  Look for the one that’s titled Recipe for Post # 4 Sandwich Rolls.)

Once those were done, I had to start setting up for dinner.  I was making Pasta with Lemon Sauce (which I’ve blogged about a couple of times here), and grilling a London Broil steak.  Searching the pantry, I found half a box of whole wheat spaghetti which would do for the pasta, but I decided to turn my hand to making home made pasta.  I’ve done it many times in the past, and thought now would be a good time.

Does anyone know what this is?

pasta roller

It’s a pasta rolling machine.  It makes the task of making home made pasta super easy.  I used to have one.  I must have gotten it as a gift, because it’s not the sort of thing that I would even know to get for myself.  The way it works is you clamp it down to a solid surface then put a small piece of dough into the hopper.  There are several settings for width.  You set the width at the widest setting and crank the dough through.  Then you set the width a little smaller and go progressively through until you have the desired width for your pasta.  By now, the small piece has stretched and grown into a large sheet of dough.  Then, you put the sheet through the cutters and make noodles of a couple different sizes.

pasta roller 2

This is all accomplished in the space of just a few minutes.  But I don’t have one of these anymore.  I know I’m getting one of these as soon as I can, though.  Because I made pasta by hand yesterday.  It’s easy enough a process, but it makes your muscles ache!

First, you have to make the dough.  It starts out easy enough.  1 1/2 to 2 cups of flour, and eggs.  You make a well in flour, pour in the eggs, and using a fork, you mix the two together.

Pasta Dough 1

Easy, right?  Well, not so much.  Every bit of flour has to be incorporated and the dough is incredibly stiff.  Think old play-dough.  By the time you reach the end, this is the only way to do it.

pasta dough 2

Which is fine, because the dough has to be kneaded anyway.  I ended up working the dough for about 30 minutes before it was to the right state.

pasta dough

pasta dough 3

Either one of these is correct.  The one on top is a trifle drier than the bottom.  That’s easy to fix with a few drops of water or olive oil and more kneading, but isn’t necessary.  If you have the pasta roller machine, this is all corrected during the rolling out process.  If you don’t have the pasta rolling machine, then this is what you must do.

pasta dough 5

That’s a rolling pin, people.  So you roll and roll until the dough is thin enough for the pasta you want.  For most noodles, you want it thin enough so you can just see through it.

pasta dough 4

Now, at this stage, you’re going to shape your pasta.  If you’re making noodles, as I was, you’re going to fold it or roll it up.  Either way, you want to be certain the pasta doesn’t stick to itself when you unroll it, so sprinkle it very lightly with flour and brush it evenly across the surface.  After you’ve rolled/folded it, use a very sharp knife to cut noodles of the desired width.  Then unroll them and place them on a lightly floured towel.  If you’re making them for another day, you can hang them on a drying rack, but I typically don’t do that.

pasta dough 6

The difference between fresh pasta, and store bought pasta (even those brands that claim to be fresh, not dried, etc.) it like the difference between store bought and fresh bread; the difference between store bought and vine ripened tomatoes (yum!); the difference between fresh brownies and, well, any brownies are good so never mind.  (mmm, brownies!  maybe another flour day?)  My pasta actually turned out thicker than I wanted, was a lot chewier than I wanted, but what a flavor!

Fresh pasta cooks MUCH faster than dried pasta.  Make sure the water is boiling fast and is lightly salted.  The past will initially sink, then as the water returns to boiling, it will rise.  In 2-5 minutes, it will be done.  The best way to tell is to try a piece.  The pasta will swell a bit and be thicker, but it will be so yummy!

I clean as I go, so the kitchen was in a good state.  There were no major messes to clean up after dinner.  As I said, the only real aftermath, apart from full stomachs, was a streak of flour on my t-shirt that I missed.

Enjoy!

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