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Homemade Pasta-- any tricks?

So I love making pasta, and years ago my parents got me a pasta machine and drying rack and I will make long spaghetti or fettucini noodles. The problem is, I simply cannot get them straight-- they curl and curve. This makes drying and storing them impossible... I want to pack them neatly and freeze them, but instead I resort to plastic baggies and they all break into tiny pieces that aren't nearly as nice.

Is this something I can fix?

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  1. That has always been a problem for me when I make too much and want to save it. I look forward to possible solutions here because I just end up breaking it and then throwing it away.

    1. I make pasta at home, and my secret would be rice flour. Simply generously dredge the FRESH pasta in the rice flour and freeze, don't dry and freeze, no need for two preserving methods. Anyways rice flour is perfect for not letting the pasta stick together.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mcnam003

        So you freeze it, but it what kind of containers so other things don't break it. Things in my freezer bump up against one another so need to have a way that can handle that....why would you say rice flour is better than semolina or regular flour since our problem is not the sticking together?

        1. re: escondido123

          I was going to use a normal pasta holder for spaghetti... for this method, I might turn it on it's side.

        2. re: mcnam003

          Rice Flour! That's good advice. I've been using cornstarch because that's what I've been told to use, but rice flour sounds it would be better. I'll give it a try on wonton wrappers tonight.

          1. re: mcnam003

            Love this idea. I do this to keep bread dough from sticking, so totally makes sesne.

          2. Something I do when making long pasta strands to dry is to coil them into a "nidi" a bird's nest shape, by taking a good one inch thick handful and curling it gently around my closed fingers, then ease the coiled nest off. Anything thicker than an inch may not dry thoroughly. I dust the nests with semolina flour, or use mcnam003's great suggestion of rice flour, gently shake off the excess and let them thoroughly air dry. By letting the pasta dry in that shape, rather than hanging the strands, they are much easier to store and much less likely to break. Dried pasta does not need to be frozen. Either freeze it fresh or dry and store it in a cool dark cabinet.

            I realize you have a drying rack that I'm sure you'd like to use, but your pasta will be less likely to curl if it's dried flat, on a paper lined semolina dusted sheet pan.

            Freeze the fresh pasta in a flat container, or you can even pile them up by two with a piece of wax paper or parchment between the layers. I sometimes buy fresh or dried angel hair pasta formed in this manner, but this technique can be done with any long flat narrow or wider strand, spaghetti, fettucini, linguine, etc.

            Here are two older links on the same subject, with a few helpful tips:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3599...
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6747...

            Good luck!

            1 Reply
            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I had forgotten the nest idea. I know that will work for me. Thanks so much.

            2. I don't bother with a drying rack; I just pile then loosely on a cookie sheet. I then freeze them (before they get too hard) in a tupperware container. Takes up room in the freezer I know (but I have a large standalone freezer).

              1. I let them half dry (so they're still flexible) then flour and stack with wax paper between the sheets and then refrigerate or freeze.

                1. I make 20 - 30 lbs of homemade pasta a week. The reason your pasta is curling is they are drying unevenly. What I mean by that is either too fast and the top side is drying before the bottom. Do not put any air, ie. a fan, on them. Let them dry slow and make sure your room is dry (I use a dehumidfier in the summer to take the moisture out of the air). Homemade pasta does not have to be refrigerated or frozen. I know many ppl will disagree but I learned from my grandmother who was straight from Italy and she dried them and stored them in boxes covered with tissue paper or towels. We all survived with no problems. Also be careful nesting pasta as it will tend to mold easier because it takes longer to dry. If you do nest, let them dry flat for awhile first then nest. Trial and error...Good luck!