pasta at home...
- a Mar 4, 2005 09:21 AM
I was considering buying the pasta attachment for our kitchenaid. Any thoughts.
We have two very young girls and we'ld like transform our home cooking from restauranty style (having both worked in restaurants) to 'cucina rustica' so that by the time they're 5 & 6, we're using the kitchen for quality time and they're feeling proud of "making" dinner.
Thoughts on the kitchenaid accessory. Our small NYC home won't allow for a lot of new appliances.
Thoughts on books. I was just going to work out the CIA book.
No thoughts on the attachment, but I would highly recommend investing in at least one folding wooden clothes drying rack. I grew up with my parents making pasta and there was pasta drying EVERYWHERE! No area of the house was free from pasta. If you don't have a big house, you should start thinking of smart (i.e. space efficient) drying options, like those folding racks. Good luck and have fun!
I got the pasta rolling attachment for my Kitchen Aid about a year ago and I just adore it. It's not only fun for adults, it's fun for children. I don't have any of my own, but I've invited friends' children over to make and eat pasta and they've all been enchanted by the process and the results. The children have even enjoyed all parts of the dough-making process, from incorporating the eggs to kneading.
Jellybelly is right about the pasta drying all over the place. I don't have a drying rack, and especially when I'm making lasagne or ravioli I end up with towels full of pasta on the dining table, coffee table, breakfront. It's really pretty funny.
I wouldn't bother with a special pasta cookbook. There are marvelous recipes aplenty in any good Italian cookbook. The Baked Green Lasagne, Bolognese Style, in Hazan's Essentials is one recipe not to be missed. It alone will convince you the attachment was a wonderful purchase.
I'll play devil's advocate: why buy another gadget when you can do it the old school (old world?) way?
In my experience you get a better product hand rolling pasta than using attachments. It's also, obviously, a less expensive proposition - buy a thick dowel (3/4" I think) from a home supply store and sand the ends to round them and then rub it with oil. Marcella Hazan gives dimensions in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. I think this rolling pin is called a "mataletto." The essential facts are that it is very long and does not taper.
This also works into the idea of rustic cooking ... a farmhouse where the kids learn and contribute, as it would have happened before appliances and microwaves. Hand making pasta is a really informative process ... there's a learning curve, but it's all the more rewarding for it.
You're close. It's matterello or mattarello (I've seen it both ways).
I still use one I made some 20 years ago based on Marcella Hazan's instructions. Even though I did bring one home from Italy with me some years back. Although it was pre-9/11, you should have seen me trying to get that past security! The Italian men thought it could be used as a weapon and joked about my using it on my husband.
I find it relaxing to make pasta this way, and it definitely does make a better product.
I wish they sold just the roller since I rarely want the cutters and it would be a much better deal. Still I am glad I have it and it works well. I have never used a manual roller but I like having both hands free to guide the pasta.
I just checked out Bugialli on Pasta from my library. It is the best book I have read on pasta cookery- lots of regional recipes with a fairly purist view on the subject. The version on Amazon is an update I believe so I don't know if it has changed significantly from the version I am reading.
I got the KA rollers when they first came out. I have made pasta by hand, by Atlas, by an extruder attachment for the Cuisinart...the rollers are the best. We like our fettucini very thin (number 5), so by hand is difficult. Last month got the ravioli attachment...it may take a while before it pays for itself, but it is great. The ravioli freezes well, so you can make a good batch at a time. Nice to have an elegant meal always in the freezer.
Persaonlly, I like home cooking--my husband is a chef and we don't ever try to do at home what he does at work. I used the Atlas machine when my kids were around 5/6 and they enjoyed it. A drying rack makes things much easier. Bugialli's book is my favorite.