Have you ever tried to make pasta? Have you seen your favourite TV chef just easily and effortlessly produce angel hair or fettucine pasta?
DON’T BE FOOLED – IT’S NOT AS EASY AS IT LOOKS!
Several years ago we received a pasta maker for a wedding present, it seems like eons ago, since this time we have moved house, changed jobs, started a business and had a beautiful child.
Sadly the couple who gave us this fabulous present, will never get to try my pasta delights together, they have recently divorced. It’s ironic that as I hold their gift, celebrating the start of our married life, I am wishing them happiness in their separate lives.
Curiously, with all this time passing, our pasta maker is still state-of-the-art, it seems good design lasts, and perhaps it might be something we might (gladly – more of this later) hand on to our son.
So with all this reminiscing, I removed our mint-in-the-box pasta maker (from its box) and read the instructions, it seemed relatively simple, not too much information, one small A5 page and that was all!
First step was to make the dough, easy enough, 3 cups of wholemeal flour, pinch of salt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 cup of water, and a tablespoon of tomato sauce (my son’s touch – not mine), mix together, knead for 5 minutes and leave it to rest for 30 minutes.
The next steps are fraught with danger, here are my warnings:
Warning 1: do not attempt to make pasta if you have just cleaned your kitchen or wearing your favourite black outfit, you need lots of flour and it can (and will) get everywhere (especially if you Sous Chef is a 5-year-old - ‘Ninja’ role playing boy…).
Warning 2: The pasta machine is a beautiful piece of gadget, a nightmare to clean, you can’t immerse it in water and you can’t put anything through the rollers to clean it, so lots of time spent picking out wet pasta.
Warning 3: Please make sure your pasta is on the dry side (see Warning 2).
Warning 4: Don’t take the roller dial – past 6, the dough won’t hold up (well mine didn’t!) . Let me re-iterate Warning # 2!
Warning 5: After all this effort, beware your critics mights say “It tastes funny Mummy” (see pasta with the 1 basil leaf rating above), be prepared to abandon the dish and just give him the Bolognese sauce with bread.
Warning 6: Did I mention there is an awful lot of cleaning – post the excitement of making your first batch of pasta?
Warning 7: When you pack the pasta maker away, you may not bring it out again – maybe your sister, Mum, Aunty, Mother-In-Law would like to try it out?
I manged three pasta attempts: you can see the results in the images above:
- Bowl 1 ~ with the 1 basil leaf rating: organic shaped fettucine, that was sticky and wet – this is the pasta that my son judged as “tasting funny”.
- Bowl 2 – with the 2 basil leaf rating: I thought I’d try the spaghetti press, dough was still too sticky, so more organic shaped pasta, more cleaning.
- Bowl 3 – with the 3 basil leaf rating: Finally something resembling spaghetti, and it didn’t taste too bad either!
So like Goldilocks, I finally got some semblance of ‘just right’ spaghetti but was it worth the effort?
In the short-term, it’s manufactured pasta for me, sometimes you have to love the ease of prepared food!