Now I love cooking as much as the next person –- in fact, probably a lot more. But when someone gave me a pasta maker, I had my doubts over whether I would use it. I also had serious doubts about whether it would even be worth my while putting the effort into making home made pasta when I had a packet of it in the cupboard to use.
Here’s what happened. For starters, I learned that it was actually really cheap to make. You’ve got very basic ingredients –- just flour and water for basic pasta. I like to make egg pasta, which means using the whole egg or just the yolks if you really want the good stuff. Some people also make pasta with semolina, which again gives you a totally different taste.
The great thing about it is that you will get better and faster at it as you go. My first attempt was actually pretty good, but I got better with each successive try and my pasta tasted and looked better as well.
I’ll grant you that there are times when you won’t want to make your own. You may simply want a fast meal and you don’t have time to tend to it very much. In this case, at least buy some good quality pasta; once you’ve made your own you won’t want to have anything but the best to eat!
So let’s get back to how I did with my first attempt. It probably took a half hour to actually make the dough and run it through the machine. I then had to put it through the separate attachment to cut it into tagliatelle, as that’s what we were having at the time (with homemade meatballs too –- bliss!).
My big mistake the first time was in not being prepared to dry out the pasta for a while before cooking it. I have since invested in a pasta drying rack which certainly improves things considerably. Before I bought one, I would end up laying it all out on a clean tea towel, and I soon ran out of room. I don’t think I did badly though, considering that it was my first time, and the proof was definitely in the tasting.
And this is the one thing that makes me say that making your own pasta is well worth the effort. Yes, it takes around a half hour to make it and have it all ready to dry. And yes, you need to let it dry for a while before you can cook it. But on the plus side, it only takes a couple of minutes to actually cook, and then you can serve it with any sauce or accompaniment (such as those homemade meatballs) and enjoy the best dish you have ever tasted.
The other great thing about homemade pasta is that you can experiment with it. You can’t do that with something hard and tasteless that comes in a packet. You can try adding bits and pieces to the mix to see what results you get. Try mixed herbs for example — Italian seasoning could be good for Italian dishes.
The point is, if you get a chance to buy a pasta maker at a good price, you should jump at the chance. It’s now one of my favorite items in my whole kitchen.
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