I have a confession to make. I am a pasta addict. There! An addict I tell you! And I am not ashamed to admit it. I am addicted to all things pasta. And there is one person to blame for this addiction- my late grandfather, William! Yes, he is the man who brought some Italian roots (roots that we don’t even have, mind you!) into my blood. Once I was able to taste his famous pasta dishes with freshly made pasta dough, I was hooked on the stuff.
Whenever my grandparents would visit us, guess who asked for Grandpa William’s pasta dish (which sadly has no name… He would just call it “es-Spaghetti” with his thick Spanish accent)? Yes,- ME!
My grandfather was a firm believer in putting love into all of his dishes. And when he could make something from scratch to save a penny (and to make things taste better!), he’d do it. He’d make his own pasta dough from scratch, and roll it by hand.
Up until March of this year, I have been rolling out pasta dough by hand, just as my grandfather used to. And boy, can I tell you how much of a hassle that was! From kneading the dough, to getting the dough super thin would take forever, even when using the best techniques.
Luckily, recently, I was approached by Ashley of CSN. She asked if I was willing to review one of their products from one of their 200+ online stores. I had taken a look around one of their online stores and found something that I knew would have mixed reviews about- A pasta machine that I had been drooling over for a while!
Pasta Machines are pretty straight forward, but when you are making pasta after a while on the machine, you’ll start to know the pros and cons of it all. So, as promised, I will do a brief review, while still talking about pasta. I promise, I won’t try to bore you with the review section of this post.
So, what do I think of this machine? It’s absolutely perfect! It does what I want it to! AND it comes with a double cutter for spaghetti and fettuccine (which I have used successfully). The machine works like a charm and is very durable and reliable.
One con I have noticed about this machine (after making pasta about 15 times in it!), is the dial that switches to different settings. It’s pretty darn slippery when you’re trying to turn it with flour on your fingers, otherwise, I’d highly suggest purchasing this pasta machine.
Now, back to the pasta!
Where was I… Oh, rolling pasta by hand…
So, when rolling pasta by hand, I have learned that using only semolina flour to make your dough is going to kill you and will make you want to cry. Semolina flour is very high in gluten and will result in a very glutenous dough that will be extremely difficult to handle especially when it’s sticking all over the place (even when you flour surfaces well!). Now, if you have one of those facy schmancy machines like I have now, using a pasta dough that’s made only from semolina will be easy to roll out because you’re not breaking your back trying to roll super-tough dough with a rolling pin.
Yes, there’s always a but!
Even though you have a machine to roll that 100% semolina flour dough, it’s still likely to stick, and getting sticky dough off of pasta rollers is not fun! Trust me.
So, for this pasta dough “recipe,” I have turned a great Thomas Keller recipe into something that I personally feel is a wee bit greater. How? I used a mixture of All-Purpose Flour and, yes, Semolina Flour. It results in a perfect, strong pasta dough full of flavor that regular ‘ol All-Purpose flour doesn’t give you, even when the recipe does call for seven yolks! Additionally, Thomas Keller calls for using a tablespoon of milk in his original recipe, if you have some dry white wine around (i.e. Pinot Grigio), feel free to use that instead of milk- it will give the dough a little pizazz!