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Mar 5, 2009 07:03 AM

Pasta and how easy it is.

What a dope. I have owned an Atlas pasta maker for over 15 years. I have put it together looked at it, scrunized it and put it back in the box. I have made Chinese dumplings by hand, heck I've even made ravioli (Huge moon like things) but never pulled the machine out.

How freakin easy can it get? I used a recipe that had eggs, flour, and wine. I used red wine since it was open. The three year old and I mixed it, kneaded it and let it rest.

I broke out the roller contraption. I produced the most wonderful long sheets of thin silky pasta. It smelled wonderful. I was amazed at how thin and that it didn't breatk. I laid it out and cut fat strips and floured it laying it on a cookie sheet dusted with a little flour.

I think I need help with that part. What is the best way, while you're waiting to use it, to keep it from sticking together. Some stuck, but for the most part it was nice. I made chicken picatta, and the pasta absorbed the caper lemon sauce sooooooo nicely. What a treat. The hubby devoured it, my son and his girlfriend had huge crab legs (they had a craving), and they wanted the pasta. Sot they made up bowls of the pasta with the sauce. Lots of "mmmmmmm" sounds.

I just can't believe how fast it went. I am kicking myself all over the kitchen and I can't wait to try more shapes, flavors etc...

Fun stuff! So What is your favorite pasta to make, and care to share your recipes???

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  1. I have one too (maybe 20+ years!) and have done the same thing you did. Now I need to get inspired to USE it. I am SO horrible with dough!

    1. I want to hear more about the wine in it. How much do you use and when do you add it? Does it turn colors? What kind of flavor does it add? I used corn meal when I roll/cut out the pasta to prevent sticking. First, I roll it out and let it sit so it dries some, then roll it to cut and add corn meal then. The corn meal drops to the bottom of the pot when you cook it. But, this is when I really wish I had an Italian grandmother to show me the right way to do it. I did the same thing with my Atlas, too. I pulled it out after about 12 years.

      4 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        Well I cut the orginal recipe down. It was calling for 5 cups of flour and I think -5 6 eggs and 2 T white wine. I thought the recipe was way too much pasta. So I used 3 cups of flour and 3 eggs and just poured wine in until the dough started to come together. There is no way 5 cups could work with 2 T wine and no other liquid. So I also added a little water until I got a firm dough. Yes it turned the dough a little darker, but in a nice way.

        As far at the taste, I can't compare it to anything since I've not made Italian pasta before, but the wine wasn't overwhelming. The smell was great though and the pasta was tender and silky, I think its about feel anyway.

        Watching people make it, they just seem to mix and add until the dough gets right. So that's what I did. It's a real firm dough, much different than when I make pizza dough. Which when done right should feel like your earlobe.

        Put the flour in add the eggs, pull the flour into the center, then I just gradually poured wine in, teensy bit at a time. Then it still was too dry, I added a few trickles of water and kept kneading and then it magically came together after a good 15 minutes. Just when you think the dough is never going to come together, it does.

        Then I cut the dough into smaller pieces with a knife. This is the tricky part don't make too big of pieces or the sheets will be longer than the kitchen. Starting on the dial set at 1 then at 2 run the dough through the roller all the way through to 6 and then it will be perfect. I think there is a setting for 7 but that would of been way to thin. anyway, it goes very fast. I had a good pound and half of pasta when finished. I need a nice drying rack now.

        But bayoucook, pull that puppy out. I can't tell you HOW much better the pasta tastes, everyone loved it, and was more interested in the pasta with the sauce than the picatta! Corn meal? I'll try that next time, the flour was being absorbed into the pasta.

        1. re: chef chicklet

          Thanks, different from the recipe I usually use. I use both eggs and egg yolks and a combination of semolina flour for more bite. I've never thought to use wine but I'll have to give it a try. My kids love making the well and mixing the pasta. It's the best family activity.

          1. re: chowser


            chowswer this is the recipe that I started to make yesterday, and then changed it because I didn't want to make pasta for an army. I used their ingredient list just switched down the volume. I think I'll try it again with your suggestion using semolina. I have a bag in the freezer and will finally use it!
            The 3 yr old cracked me up when we were kneading the dough, he looked up at me, flour sticking to every single finger and said "Dis hard mom-mom". : )

          2. re: chef chicklet

            CC! I use a wooden folding clothes dryer/rack that I got from walmart for around $10. It works great and holds a bunch of pasta. Spread newspaper underneath it, give the dowels a good flouring and hang your pasta to dry. Then give it a quick wipe down with a dry towel after you're done and it folds up to hide away.

        2. The more you make pasta the faster it becomes. I pulled the little doohickey from the cupboard a couple of years ago and decided to either use it or or give it away. I used it and it was good.

          I make pasta when I'm using an oil or cream based sauce. The soft noodles absorb all the fat from the sauce. And homemade ravioli and tortellini can't be beat - even so much better than 'home-made' retail.

          Parchment or waved paper keeps the pasta from sticking. And I just learned a new trick - when kneading the pasta, cut into it and look for air pockets. If there are, keep kneading. And there's some saying, I've heard, about checking the pasta dough of the girl you're planning to marry (geez).

          Favorites - ravioli with pear and picorino, fettuccine made with spinach, and just plain ol' fettuccine alfredo.

          18 Replies
          1. re: alwayscooking

            that ac, I was making pretty fat noodles, like a smaller papperadelle type. I've seen people toss them into a pile with flour so I did the same. I might of taken too long, I had to make the other dish too so they say a bit. I appreciate the input, parchment paper I got.
            How about sharing your pasta recipe for pear and pecorino?Sounds pretty interesting.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              Lidia B's recipe for Pear and Picorino Ravioli

              3-4 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored, and large grated (approximately 1 pound)
              3 Tablespoons mascarpone
              1 pound grated fresh Pecorino Romano cheese grated large
              And combine

              4 ounces aged grated Pecorino Romano cheese (to finish pasta)
              6 ounces butter
              Black peppercorn, coarsely ground, to taste

              Cook pasta al dete. In sauce pan, melt the butter with a little pasta water water, add the barely cooked ravioli and finish. Garnishwith grated cheese and pepper.

              1. re: alwayscooking

                omg what a delcious starter! I am so anxious to try this, thank you!
                About how thin do you roll the dough, for the pasta I was making I was rolling it at 6 on the dial, it has one more setting of 7 for an even thinner dough. However I have no idea what the thickness is, but pretty thin..What do you recommend for ravioli? As you see I am totally a beginner and I got very lucky with successful pasta last night!

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  When I had it at her restaurant Felidia in NY, it was served as an app. The pasta was simply folded over, thin enough to see through and the edges/lips were fairly large.

                  I've made this at home with varying sucess (in comparison). The 7 on the dial is closest to what I had (and adored) but I have a hard time making and filling without tearing. When I've gone to 6, it was easier to manage but made the edges to thick IMO but have consistent results. In the future, I may try another yolk or somehow thin the edges when they are formed.

                  Let me know how you do - it's well worth it.

                  1. re: alwayscooking

                    I thought 6 was thin enough, I was running the dough through each setting a couple of times to enseure the thin pasta. Loved 6, I concur, 7 would probably tear-on machine anyway. I bought a small little rolling pin, perfect for tiny hands and for small little circles of pasta and their edges. It is turqoise colored and I got it at Marshall or Ross. But that will work beautifully for finishing edges. I only mentioned the color because it is made of some hard poly/plastic non stick material. I've seen them in red and green before. I checked it and of course I can't find any branding...

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      I'm wondering if different brands of machines vary as to their settings. My KA will go to 7 easily and even to 8.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Wow, have an Atlas over 20 years old, dial goes to 7. I need more practice for the setting!

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          I used jfood's ravioli/lasagne dough recipe which has about a third semolina. I think it rolled out easier than when I used all AP flour. But, again, I'm in kindergarten on this whole process :)

                          1. re: c oliver

                            yep me too. Its fun kindergarten though huh?

                            I've got semolina in the freezer which I've been hoping to use. I was searching and searching for a good pasta recipe when I tried this the other day. What 's amazing to me is that there are sooo many fresh pasta dough recipes out there! I only used the Bistro Don Giavanni recipe because I've eaten there many times and have always been so happy with the paparadelle.

                            Even so, as I was making the dough I got impatient, I used the wrong wine, red instead of white. It changed the color of the dough a little, not in a bad way. What I am learning is that pasta dough has room for mods and perhaps explains why so many recipes.

                            Whoever said ( on the freezing raviolo thread) about making fresh pasta and it not lasting in the fridge and the way it becomes sn..., well I'm so glad they posted that little tidbit, because I was worried when I saw some of my leftover pasta...I had no idea!

                            It is so nice to have Chowhound it's a valuable site. To be able to talk and exchange recipe information that is sometimes crucial for success. More often than not, this is exactly the kind of info that a lot of cookbooks or posted recipes leave out and it will definitely discourage the cook~

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I really think the flour makes all the difference- my AP batches were sad, but once I found Type 00 flour (I had to hunt for it- and I'm in the Detroit burbs, so it is not the most common thing to find), they immediately improved greatly.

                              And there is a terrific amount of room for mods- personally, I don't add any oil, but I'll toss in whatever water-based puree strikes my fancy. I accidentally made buckwheat pasta once that didn't turn out too badly (bag from the farmer's market is only labeled BW in sharpie and it was in the fridge where the whole wheat went- it was the first time I'd used their ww. I thought it looked funny!).

                      2. re: alwayscooking

                        OK - new info since I remade this with a couple of new techniques. My roller goes to 7 and I've had problems getting it that thin without tearing. This time I kneaded until there were no more holes when the dough was cut. I also reran the dough multiple times at the same setting when reaching the higher numbers. And (this time I wasn't lazy) I cut the dough each time it reached about 2 feet rather than just once or twice - I had better control while I feed, turned, and caught the dough.

                        1. re: alwayscooking

                          I know I did the same thing draping the dough over my arm, made it awkward. It's so dramatic though! I made the mistake the first time of letting it fold down on to itself. um....not a good idea, it sticks. Putting the dough through the same setting more than once for me, produced a very lovely silky texture. I added only a drop of oil. Next time, I'm going to use more eggs and semolina and see what I get.
                          I'm still working on my pasta drying racks, I need wooden dowels or something, and I'm thinking for me the best place to dry the pasta, a place where dust or animals can't get near it is my laundry room. Can't wait!
                          Making pasta is very much like creating an art project.

                          1. re: alwayscooking

                            I'm a newbie but had been folding and rolling multiple times through every setting. But then I ready somewhere ??? to stop the folding when you get to the higher/thinner settings. I'm going to try that next time. And yes cut in half more often.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I've been told to cut by 18" and it's made rolling out pasta so much easier. I also don't fold once I get to the thinner settings.

                              1. re: chowser

                                When you get to the thinner settings, do you still roll a piece multiple times, just not fold?

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  No, I only roll once when I get past about 4, depending on how the dough feels. But, this is something I've done reading, asking CHers, experimenting on my own. I've always wished I had an Italian grandmother who could show me the right way to do it.:-)

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Yeah, me too. Plus I might have gotten pretty, naturally curly, black hair!

                                    Have you ever tried freezing pasta after rolling but before cutting?

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      No, I've never made enough to freeze, either before or after cutting. Limited counterspace and I don't have a wooden rack, which I should get. Whatever I make, we eat.

                2. It is really easy...shusshhhh... don't tell anyone.
                  The best way to avoid the sticking is to hand it to dry for a bit (15 or 20 min is okay). There are special pasta racks for this, but clean hangers over a door knob, or a pole of some sort between two chairs, or a folding clothes dryer will work equally as well and aren't uni-taskers.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                    You know I knew I saw pasta racks but where? I like the idea of the coat hangers but I think my hubby would freak out. You should of heard him complaining about something about me and me using every dish and counter in the kitchen blah blah blah. But he sure loved the meal.

                    1. re: Stuffed Monkey

                      I have made a lot not not recently due to space, but I used a big roll of plastic tubing, it was clean so I used it and it worked great. I just put it between 2 chairs. It was about 1/4 " in diameter. At any home store, home depot, I think I got mine at the fish or pet store for my fish take. Worked great, Not lines or stretching. Easy solution. Seemed funny, but found it on the web a few years ago. I laughed until I tried it.

                    2. My husband and I went on a pasta-making binge about 10 or more years ago. Got the hand-crank machine and went crazy. My favorite was to roll two long sheets ultra thin, then brush an egg-wash over one sheet and lay on it leaves of parsley, dill, tiny basil leaves, whatever... then lay the other sheet over it. Run the two sheets together through the machine one last time, and cut into papardelle. Served it with browned butter & shallots.Haven't used the machine in years! Perhaps this will inspire me... nah.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Deenso

                        OMG I think that is just too funny. Seriously you must of had a lot of time on your hands!
                        Bet they were pretty though and made Martha proud. I don't have the patience, and no one here would ever notice if I had a piece of parsley or a dandelion weed on on it. They eat first and then ask. Seriously, I love the browned butter and shallots and I think about butternut squash with sage all the time... Paparadelle is my favorite especially with John Besh's short ribs. I will be making fresh pasta next time I make that dish. I'll knock it out of the ball park. thanks!

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          "Seriously you must of had a lot of time on your hands!"
                          - - - - - - - - -
                          Oh, yeah - we did it on the weekends - at our cabin - when there was little else to do. And, yes, it looked pretty ridiculous: pinching individual leaves off the parsley stems and placing them ever-so-gently on the pasta sheet - just a little OCD, if you ask me. But it WAS pretty and actually quite impressive. To tell the truth though, I'll forego the effort and open a box of dried pasta and, honestly, be just as happy. Who needs little leaves?