Cooking with Spooky: Making a Mess and Pasta

It was my birthday earlier this month and one of the best gifts I received was a pasta machine.  My love of making food (as well as eating food) has really evolved over the last few years and I just love that satisfying feeling of making something good and cooking for others.  Pasta is one of my favourite go-to dishes, I’m a major carb kid, and I’d always wanted to try to make pasta myself but it looked so messy and complicated that I’ve always avoided it.   Well, that’s all gonna change since the fella got me this little silver mean machine!

Pasta is might look hard but it’s literally two ingredients and some elbow grease.  I weighed out about 200gms of 00 flour onto a large clean area and then made a well in the middle to add in two whole eggs.  The 00 flour just means it’s very fine flour and can be found in most supermarkets.  My bags even called it pasta flour specifically and had a couple free recipes on the back so that was really handy.  You mix the eggs and the flour with a fork until it’s mostly dough and then get your hands in mixing until it’s not sticky.  Add in more flour if needed.  It’s all guess work and learning the feel of the dough but it’s pretty obvious when it’s good to go.

Then, on the widest setting, you roll out the dough.  Do this a few times, lightly flouring the dough each time so it doesn’t stick, and folding in half as you go.  You’ll get a flat, floury piece eventually and then you start stretching it. The machine has gradual settings that reduces the distance between the rolls and thus stretching out the dough.  BIG WARNING: If this is your first go, I highly recommend you get an extra pair of hands involved at this point.  It might seem like a small ball of dough but it gets big pretty quick.  Good job the fella was still around while I was cooking!  So you roll out, flour and reduce the dial until it’s at the bottom level. GO!

Once it’s all done, you need to let it dry out a bit before you slice it up.  At this point you can use the sheets for any kind of pasta that you like but, seeing as I had the slicing attachment, I made tagliatelle.  The finished pasta sheet was so big that we cut it into more manageable sizes and then fed them through the cutting roller area which just hooks on the main roller machine and gets turned in the same way.

This part was actually easier to do by yourself so the OH got to have a break from the pasta making and whipped up some Homemade Pesto (recipe can be found here) to go with the main meal.  The pasta itself can then be dried and stored for a few days if you wish or even frozen (so I am told) but I’d made just the right amount for two servings so we just cooked it all up in one go.  It takes a minute or two in a pan of boiling water and that’s it!

Making pasta was such a fun experience and you can get pasta machines for as little as £20-25 quid on the market so it’s not impossibly expensive.   A really fun activity for kids to get involved in doing with a parent and they can even enjoy the finished product with little fuss about it being something they don’t like.  This was the best pasta I’d ever had because it tasted so light and fresh, even compared to the ‘fresh’ stuff you get in the shops.  If this is what pasta tastes like in the proper places in Italy, then sign me up for a visit!

Once you’ve done pasta once, you can also explore making different kinds of pasta by mixing in flavours into the dough mix or things like stuffed pasta shaped.  Have fun experimenting with flavours but maybe don’t OD on the carbs too much 😉



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