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How do you handle home made pasta?

I've made home made pasta twice now, and the results have been amazing. Really delicious, tender pasta. BUT, I'm having trouble figuring out how to handle the leftover pasta. I've been hanging the fettucini on a clothes drying rack covered with a tea towel, but if I leave it overnight it becomes so brittle that it shatters when I try to take it off the rack. I can't figure out the best way to store it, or to handle it once cut. Should I swirl it into nests and store airtight? Freeze immediately? I'm thrilled with the fresh product, but then what? I really don't want to open a container full of pasta crumbs.

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  1. i rarely have any fresh pasta dough left over. My recipe makes one pound of pasta, which is perfect for 4 people. But if you do make more than you need, I've found the best way to store it is to freeze it. Go through the regular, short drying period (as you would if you were about to cook it), making sure to coat it in a good dusting of semolina flour. After this period, put it in a zip-lock bag and freeze immeidately. When ready to use it, just drop the frozen pasta straight into the boiling water - do NOT attempt to thaw first. Frozen pasta will take just slightly longer than fresh to cook (maybe a minute longer), but it will have the taste and texture of fresh pasta.

    4 Replies
    1. re: edwardspk

      Thanks! Do you store it in "nests" or in shorter lengths? I find my pasta is so fragile it tends to shatter. There's just two of us, so 2 cups of flour makes enough for two meals for us. Maybe I'm drying it too long??? Dry for half an hour, so it's still pliable and then put in bags? I'll get there, but I really hated serving nice, tender eensy weensy pieces of pasta last night, LOL.

      1. re: blaireso

        "Dry for half an hour, so it's still pliable and then put in bags?"

        I see fuzzy growing.

        1. re: cutipie721

          I think you might be right about the "fuzzy," cutipie. I once ended up with about a pound like that, when I didn't let it dry right. But it's a long time since I stored any homemade pasta.

      2. I have had the same problem for years and usually just throw out the extra. However, I saw someone take long strands of like a fettucine, cut them into two inch lengths, roll them kind of back and forth on themselves so they form a sort of macaroni that is called Strozzapreti and is similar to a cavatelli. Let those dry and then freeze and you'll avoid the whole problem--which I hadn't solved until today.

        1. I don't make more than I can sauce. I eat the leftover, sauced pasta the next day, either heated or not. Yum. And it doesn't get lost in the freezer that way.

          1. If it's just the two of you... How about just portion out the dough and freeze the balls instead? The dough doesn't take long to defrost and is more than well rested, so rolling and cutting doesn't take much time, I think. That's what I do anyway.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cutipie721

              I like this idea the best so far. I've been drying the pasta on top of linen towels on my clothes rack, but even then they shatter everywhere. I was thinking if I dried the fettucini partially, then while still pliable got them off the dowels and lay out flat, I could finish the drying without too much damage. Or freeze at that point before fully dry. Saucing the entire batch and having leftovers works for me, too. I use my KA to make the dough, using the hook to do the kneading, so not sure if a smaller batch will work in the bowl. I'll give all a try, thanks so much everyone.

              1. re: blaireso

                freeze before it dries out and gets brittle.

                Then you have fresh pasta on hand -- you don't even have to thaw it.

                I've been doing it that way with Amish-style noodles (think fettucine) for 30 years, and my grandmother did it that way all her life.

                1. re: sunshine842

                  One of the reasons I don't roll and cut pasta before freezing is that I want to be able to make the perfect shape for a particular application. Fettucine, pappardelle, ravioli, or lasagna.

                  A trade-off for convenience.

                  1. re: cutipie721

                    and I only ever make one shape...I had an Atlas pasta maker, a ravioli plate, and a macaroni extruder, and got rid of all of them because I only ever make my noodles the way I make my noodles...The ravioli plate is the only one I've considered replacing...which is bizarre because I had never used the one I got rid of.

                    Different strokes.

            2. My experience, too, is that it shatters upon drying. And half of mine falls off the rack anyway. So what? Makes it easier to put in plastic bags and give to friends.

              I used a clothes drying rack when making large quantities for gifting. My cats got way too interested in batting at the hanging linguine. My dad made me a specialized rack to fit over
              my stovetop. No cat interference, but still drying, splitting, dropping. Don't fret. It's just pasta. Who wants a 2-foot piece of pasta to twirl into an enormous ball to try to eat? Small dried pieces are perfectly ok.

              1. Yes to freezing after a short drying time BUT couldn't you just make a bit less? Instead of 2 C flour, use 1 cup - that's what I do for the two of us. Since this seems so simple, maybe I'm missing something ........................

                1. I've posted this link before, but both the suggested use of the food processor for making the dough and the clever drying "rack" (about 1/2 way down the page) were well received so I thought I'd do it again for those that missed it.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                    Thanks, Bryan, for the link. Am going to give the "nest" method a shot and see where the pasta crumbles!

                  2. I struggled with this too when I first started making pasta. The trick is to dry the uncut pasta sheets until leathery but still flexible, flipping them over a few times so they don't stick to the counter, cut the sheets into noodles and then refrigerate them. You can curl the pasta into nests or just throw it in a container; it doesn't matter. The second trick is that the drying time is widely variable, depending on how wet your dough was and, most importantly, how thin you rolled your dough. If it's paper thin, it may only take minutes.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jvanderh

                      Thank you all for your suggestions. I followed jvanderh's adviced and it worked great. Next batch I'm going to try 1 cup. Am also at some point going to try substituting whole wheat flour for the ap flour, so half ww flour and half semolina. Yum! Have also ordered the new King Arthur Flour's pasta flour to try out. Can't wait for it to show up.

                      1. re: blaireso

                        Glad to hear that. It's a strangely well kept secret. It took me buying premade fresh pasta to figure out that you're supposed to dry it halfway.

                    2. Your pasta might be very brittle because you are using the very thin setting. My pasta maker goes up to #6 setting, but I never go past #5. I dry the pasta for at least 2 hrs (4 hrs is more preferable) and have let it dry up to 12 hrs where it is still pliable. Don't worry, the fuzz you see is probably just dried out flour with time, not mold. Next, I wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze what I don't plan to cook on the same day.

                      If you want to continue making the extra thin pasta, just don't dry it as long and don't use the rack. I would think that drying on a rack would cause more unwanted stretching/thinning of your noodles. Dry on a floured wood board or towel is better. Shape the pasta into nests before it becomes too brittle to bend, probably within 1 hr. If you don't make pasta too thin, you wouldn't have to worry about breakage.

                      Since making pasta takes a lot of time, I never see the sense in not making extra portions to freeze. I'm always glad for that extra stash on my lazy days.

                      If you have not made pasta from extra fine (extra fancy) durum flour, you are really missing out. I learned to always go the extra mile to add herbs (e.g. curly parsley) or other flavor to the pasta dough to make it really worth your while.

                      Read my past posts for more homemade pasta tips.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: amateurcook2

                        Know what you mean about too thin, am still experimenting for the linguine. Love my fettucine at the next-to-thinnest setting on my Atlas machine. Tried that setting for the linguine and was dissatisfied with the result--but I did manage to dry the rolled pasta sheets on a linen tea towel sprinkled with flour before cutting per jvanderh's advice and that worked great. I also froze about half of the 2 cup recipe in balls and although I noticed a darkening of the raw dough, the finished product was fine. Thaw in frig., roll out, cut, done! I always make pie crusts 5 at a time and freeze the balls, so this is a great suggestion y'all.

                        Now then, has anyone tried making whole wheat pasta? Any changes to the basic ratios? I'm thinking of using half semolina, half whole wheat.

                        By the way, the King Arthur Flour pasta flour is great, but I don't know if I'll reorder--pasta is supposed to be cheap!

                        1. re: blaireso

                          I have not tried freezing the dough ball. I always rolled out and cut the noodles using the pasta maker before I froze them to have them ready to go when I wanted to cook pasta.

                          Call up Dawn Foods and see if they have a location near you where you can buy it in bulk and pick up at one of their locations. It is inexpensive for me to make homemade pasta at that price. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container to prevent moths and other bugs from contaminating the whole bag.

                          I bought a bag of extra fancy (extra fine) durum flour (ConAgra brand) from them, which will last for a whole year or more. I'm considering adding some semolina flour (a coarser durum), but not sure if it is worth all the trouble. I am very happy with the pasta using the extra fancy durum flour. Just don't forget to spice up the pasta dough with herbs, etc. to make it really worth your while. So delicious!

                          1. re: amateurcook2

                            Thanks for the info. There is one in Las Vegas, I'll call them and find out their minimums, etc. Know what you mean about critters--had an ant problem a few years ago and have everything in lock n lock & rubbermaid containers now. I have to limit bulk items, as my freezer and pantry storage are limited and I like lots of stuff! The pasta dough balls, like the pie dough balls, works best for my freezer space. I find as long as I make sure to wrap them well I can keep the dough balls for quite awhile before they deteriorate. Go Dawn Foods! Maybe I can score some cheap(er) semolina!

                          2. re: blaireso

                            I'm pretty sure that I've done whole wheat egg pasta and also just using water as the liquid. I don't think I added white flour or extra gluten or anything, but I think by then I had made so much pasta that I just felt for the right consistency and didn't measure. Sorry that I can't be of more help.

                            1. re: jvanderh

                              Well, I'm going to give it a try this afternoon and see what happens. It's just flour, not prime rib, right?