Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Oodles of Noodles

My children LOVE their noodles. Aidan takes them with butter, Addie takes them any way and they both will sprinkle their own cheese on, so don't even THINK about trying to help. They like noodles of all shapes, sizes and colors. The only constant is that no matter how much I cook, there is never enough. A box of spaghetti used to make three dinners for Matt and me. Now, a box isn't even enough for one family dinner!

A few weeks ago, we decided to make our own pasta. I love homemade pasta and it is so simple to make. I use my mom's old hand-me-down pasta maker and it works beautifully. Pasta machines can be a great garage sale find if they're clean and rust-free. I know pasta maker attachments are available for mixers; but, I've never tried those. You can also use a rolling pin if you don't have a pasta maker.

I use a really simple recipe from Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food. Most pasta recipes are pretty similar. I've tried several and this one turns out consistently great pasta. It's also quick and easy. Just make a well in 2 cups of flour and add to it 2 eggs plus 2 additional egg yolks and mix with a fork. You may need to add a small amount of water if the dough is too dry. Knead the dough lightly, wrap it in plastic and let it sit for an hour. Halve the dough and feed it through the widest setting on your pasta machine, flouring as needed. Continue to feed the dough through narrower settings until you're happy with the thickness. You can now either feed it through the noodle blades or cut it by hand. Toss your noodles with flour to keep them separated. Fresh pasta will cook much more quickly than dried and should be cooked right away.

Personally, I find it's always best to have a buddy (or three) around when you're making pasta. For this pasta-making party, I fed the dough through while Addie turned the crank. Aidan manned the camera and Annalise, less than happily, worked the peanut gallery.

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