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Sep 17, 2009 12:49 PM

Cutting Pasta shapes by Hand

Hi, all.

Wen researching pasta-machines, I was told that the extruders were not the best bet for one's money and that in fact they did a relatively unsatisfactory job when it came to shaping pasta, and was told that one should do it by hand.

This procedure sounds WILDLY daunting and perplexing to me. I can even beGIN to fathom how one could POSSIBLY make spaghetti, macaroni or even ziti, penne with FLAT pasta dough.

Can anyone PLEASE help? I am absolutely thrown in for a loop and cant wrap my head around this at all. Any tips, website, or recommendation on any books that delve deeper into this manual hand-making/cutting pasta subject would be much appreciated.

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    1. The ones that roll the dough through what looks like a laundry mangle are supposedly better than the extruder models. I have no experience with making hollow pasta shapes but do know a good trick for cutting fettucine: roll out the dough, by hand or with a crank machine, then flour lightly and roll both of the long sides toward the middle. You will have two long rolls that touch each other, Slice across both of the rolls, at desired noodle width. Then slide a yardstick or dowel underneath the point where the 2 rolls meet, along the length of the rolls. When you lift the stick, the fettucine will unroll and the stick can be hung to dry.

      1. The shapes you mention are rarely if ever made by hand. Usually you'd make "noodles" - fettucine, tagliatelle, etc. or other shapes that can be cut from a rolled out sheet. Or shaped pastas like tortellini that also start out cut from sheets. You can make those completely by hand but it takes practice (and space.) For that kind of thing, you use the "rolling" type machine greygarious alludes to, never an extruder.

        I've seen pictures of antique extruding machines apparently used in homes but usually one just buys factory-made semolina pasta in the shapes you mentioned - they're basically beyond home machinery.

        1. And you can make cannelloni / mancotti by hand from sheets. Cook the sheets to very al dente. Roll the filling inside. You do not need to seal - just overlap, place them in a dish with your sauce, a bit of extra water and bake. They are a lot easier to fill than cooked store-bought tubes.

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