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Dec 22, 2008 10:21 AM

Storing homemade pasta

We recently received a Kitchenaid pastamaker attachment for our mixmaster and we absolutely adore it. We'd like to make homemade pasta (spaghetti) for family members but are unsure about storage methods. Must the dried pasta be continually frozen? Or, after its dried, can it stored in the recipient's pantry. I'd rather not be the salmonella Santa this year...

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    1. Interesting question, usually fresh homemade pasta is made and eaten relatively quickly after its made. I assume you're giving these as gifts? If so, freezing is out of the question. I'm pretty sure you can just let it dry naturally. As far as I know it's as simple as that. Maybe hang it on a coat hanger and keep it in a dry spot? You might end up with a pressure point where the pasta meets the wire (If you go that route) so be careful that it doesn't break and fall to the floor. After it's dry, just bag it up and give it away.

      Nice idea and it's better than fruitcake, right?!

      1 Reply
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        The problem is it is usually so delicate and brittle that bagging it up and then transporting it anyplace means broken into small pieces, but the making into nests discussed below sounds like it will work.

      2. I've read that you can make birds nests, let it dry, and they can last up to a month but I've always wondered about the raw eggs in them so I freeze it. I'd love to hear from people who do keep them in the pantry.

        9 Replies
        1. re: chowser

          I don't think that there is anything special done to dried pasta that you buy in the store. The cheaper stuff may have some preservatives in it that make it last forever and ever, but as long as you cook it within a reasonable amount of time you should be fine.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            The dried pasta you get off the shelf doesn't have raw eggs. The fresh pasta you get in stores are refrigerated.

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                Hmm, good question. They last forever, too, so I wonder what they do.

                1. re: chowser

                  Store-bought egg noodles have the ingredients listed as flour and egg yolks. The egg yolks they use are powdered. They do not have to say that on the label. Powdered egg yolks are egg yolks which have been pasateurized and then spray-dried. They are safe and have no salmonella.

          2. re: chowser

            Drying frseh pasta in birds nests is the traditional Italian method of preserving fresh egg noodles. Drying is far superior to refrigeration when it comes to fresh pasta. Refrigeration doesn't preserve the suppleness of the pasta and makes it tough and chewy. I often make fresh pasta and have the problem of contraction (thinly rolled out pasta springs back and becomes thicker, therefore, tougher). The idea is to preserve the state the pasta is in right after you roll and cut it. Drying does the best job of this. If you plan to dry them, make the pasta dough as dry as possible and form loose nests. Marcella Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" has an excellent section on the topic of pasta. Regular dry semolina pasta doesn't contain eggs but the ones marked egg noodles do (and I'm not talking about the curly ones you use in goulash).

            1. re: soniabegonia

              How long do you keep it for? I've also wondered as you make the birds nest if the pasta might stick to itself, if it's freshly rolled but maybe making the pasta dryer would help. Do you use different proportions of flour to egg if you're going to dry it?

              1. re: chowser

                Forgot to mention that it works better if you let the noodles dry more or less flat for an hour or two, before forming the nests. Take the noodles out of the cutter, draping over the side or your hand and lay them flat on racks. When slightly dried (but not rigid), form the nests (or just wrap loosely around your hand and release onto racks). Turn them every few hours to avoid the weight of the noodles pressing down and flattening.

                As far as keeping them, they never seem to last more than a day in my household ;) If completely dry, they should last several months... but I wouldn't risk it, because home drying and commercial drying are not the same thing.

                1. re: chowser

                  Hazan says 30 days, tho I've never understood what was safe about 28 days and dangerous about 32 days. Perhaps it's just a texture issue.

            2. I haven't tried it yet, but I have a dehydrator with 10 trays and plan to use it to dry homemade noodles, macaroni, spaghetti, and other pasta with it. Has anyone done it this way?

              1. Use fresh and good quality eggs. NEVER use any eggs that is cracked or old. Since you are putting all the time and effort for a "home" taste than "shop" taste, it's worth spending the extra $ for good quality eggs. All equipments (including workbench, your hands, etc) should be clean and dry. I always make sure I clean the workbench with Domestos and hot water before I start.

                It is totally fine to store your VERY WELL DRIED pasta in air tight containers in a very dry and dark place/cupboard, away from heat. How long you should store your dried pasta depends on where you live. When I was living in Singapore (extremely hot and humid), I would only make enough to last for 2 weeks. Now that I am living in Brisbane, I store them for up to 6 weeks in summer and as long as 3 months in the colder seasons.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ablau

                  >>>>I always make sure I clean the workbench with Domestos and hot water before I start. <<<<

                  I would never saturate my work surface with something as chlorinated as Domestos.