Adventures in Pasta Making

Homemade spinach and beet pastaGuys, I'm on a pasta making kick! Trey got me the KitchenAid pasta attachments for my birthday last month, and I have been playing around with them ever since. I really wanted to learn to make fresh pasta this year. It's been on my mind for a while, but I always felt a little intimidated to get started. I figured it would be sort of hard and that my first few batches would probably be flops. So I prepared myself for that mentally. (Yes, I psych myself up for kitchen things.)Making fresh pasta isn't as hard as you thinkBut it turns out that making pasta from scratch isn't all that difficult. I was surprised that my first attempt turned out really good, and it was delicious! That was actually the first time I had ever eaten fresh pasta too. Double win that night. :) I learned how to make pasta from Martha Stewart's Cooking School. The book has a great step-by-step guide to making pasta dough. Honestly it's a really wonderful book for anyone looking to develop all sorts of basic kitchen skills. I'm a fan.Pasta dough recipeAfter I started to feel comfortable with the process I started making up my own little variations. I really wanted to add flavors to my pasta doughs (and color!). For regular pasta dough, I mix up 2 cups flour, 2 large eggs and a teaspoon of olive oil. For beet pasta, I used 2 cups flour, 1 large egg, 1 teaspoon olive oil and 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh beet juice. For spinach pasta I used 2 cups flour, 1 large egg 1 teaspoon olive oil and 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh spinach juice. Elsie let me borrow her juicer so I could make my vegetable juices, but you could also buy vegetable juice. I like to mix my dough in a bowl until it's a crumbly mess. Then I turn the dough out onto a floured counter and knead together for 4-6 minutes. Then you let the dough rest for 20 to 30 minutes (be sure to cover it so it doesn't dry out too much). I have also made dough the night before, put it in a ziplock bag and store it in the refrigerator overnight. This works great but be sure to allow the chilled dough to sit out on the counter for 45 minutes to an hour before working with it again so it can warm up a bit. Cold dough doesn't stretch well, just like cold muscles. (Yeah, I know about that.)Adventures in homemade pasta makingDivide each dough ball into two pieces and roll out into an oval. Feed the dough through the pasta roller set at 1. You can also roll pasta dough out by hand using a rolling pin.How to make pasta at homeOnce you feed the dough through once fold it (as pictured above). Now feed it through the pasta roller set at 1 again (or roll by hand again). How to make fresh pastaFeed the dough through the pasta roller at each level (1, 2, 3...) until you get to 5. I stopped at 5, because I was making fettuccine. If you are making a thinner pasta, like ravioli, you may need to go a few more steps. Check your manual if you are a newbie like me.Homemade beet pasta recipeOnce you have your long thin giant pasta noodle you are ready to change your attachment. I put on the fettuccine attachment. You can also cut pasta by hand using a pizza cutter. Feed the dough through the cutter and catch it as your fresh pasta comes out the other side.Fresh beet pastaDrape your finished pasta on a drying rack. I like to go through all the steps with one pasta dough ball, keeping the other covered, so it doesn't dry out while I work. Once your pasta has been on the drying rack for few minutes it will begin to dry out. Duh. You can cook it or roll it into little pasta nests to save for later in the day. I bet you want to see my ultra fancy pasta drying rack, huh?Pasta drying rackGotcha! I don't have a fancy drying rack. I needed one in a pinch, I realized, so I use a cheap wooden clothes drying rack. Sort of funny I guess but it works well for me, and I can just fold it up and store it away when I'm not making pasta. So I think I'll just keep at it. Step by step instructions for making fresh pastaYou cook fresh pasta the same way you do store bought dry pasta expect that it takes slightly less time. I cooked this fettuccine in boiling salted water for 6-7 minutes and it was ready to serve. The best is to just taste and see if your pasta is done. What's fun about these pastas is that the dough is really colorful and contains very concentrated vegetable juices, but they don't have an overt vegetable taste. They are delicious, and I am pretty sure they could still pass a picky eaters taste test. Unless the picky eater hates colors. Poor color-hating picky eater.

Thanks for letting me share my current kitchen obsession with you. xo. Emma

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