27 September 2014

Oodles of Noodles

Last week, as a "get all your school work done so we can do something fun" bribe, I brought our pasta maker over to my family's house. The kids had a lot of fun making noodles, even Little Bear. He sat on the counter next to the mixer and started shouting excitedly every time I turned it on: "Noodle! Noodle! Here they come!"

I used roughly half semolina flour and half all-purpose flour, and maybe the semolina was too old and dry or Interior Alaska is just too not-humid or something, but it took so much more water than my recipe called for to even form a coarse, crumbly dough. I had to add an absurd amount of liquid—definitely at least double what the recipe wanted—to get my dough pliable enough that the machine could even extrude it. 

Once the dough finally reached a "leathery but flexible" consistency, we attached the pasta maker to the stand mixer. The kids chose to use the elbow macaroni-extruding die, which in hindsight was probably not the smartest idea for our first attempt with semolina and impatient kids, but I'd promised to make totally-homemade mac'n'cheese for Friday's supper. All of the kids gathered in the kitchen to take turns feeding little chunks of dough into the hopper (when the instructions say "walnut-sized," they do not mean an unshelled walnut!) and lifting off the noodles and laying them out to dry.

According to the instructions, we were supposed to let the pasta extrude 15 to 20 centimeters, turn off the machine, take down the pasta, then turn the mixer back on. The youngest kids were generally too excited about the noodles to wait until they got that long, though, so we wound up having all different lengths.

We stopped twice to let the mixer's motor rest for an hour or so because it was getting pretty warm, so it wound up taking several hours to make it through one batch of dough. After the long noodles had dried for at least a half hour, the kids snapped them into the right size pieces for mac'n'cheese:

The noodles cooked really quickly: they were done probably three or four minutes after going into the pot of boiling water! They turned out a little softer than store-bought pasta... I'm not sure if I over cooked them, or they were just softer because fresh pasta is soft. We will have to do it again, and next time I'll actually measure how much water I use so I can write out the recipe!

1 comment:

  1. Those look great!! John and I tried to make totally homemade ravioli a month or so ago, and looking back it might've been better to make homemade pasta first to figure out a good dough recipe.