It’s About Time: Fresh Pasta

I had put off making my own pasta for too long. Dan bought me a KitchenAid stand mixer for Christmas and the pasta maker attachment came with it as part of a package deal.  I was so excited to get it. I was so motivated to make fresh pasta all the time.  But one thing led to another, and my little pasta machine stayed in its box and gathered dust.  After awhile, I convinced myself that making pasta would be too hard. That we could never succeed at it.  That buying the dry stuff at the store is so cheap, why would I bother. All I had were excuses and dust.  So finally, last weekend, Dan and I broke it out.  Sure it was 109 degrees outside and perhaps pasta isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for a hot summer’s night, but it was time.  Now I’m wondering why I waited so long in the first place.  The pasta was delicious.

The pasta maker was so easy to use! Dan mostly manned the pasta machine, but I helped to knead the dough. The hardest part was getting the texture right.  Our dough felt really crumbly and didn’t really stick together well, so I added significantly more water than the recipe called for, which made me nervous.  But I’m glad I listened to my instincts, because it came out really well.

In an effort to keep things somewhat light (it was 109 degrees outside, remember), we made a sauce of fresh herbs and heirloom tomatoes from our garden and local sausage.  It melded so beautifully with the fresh pasta – it’s amazing the way the pasta seemed to almost absorb the sauce. The best part is, you don’t need the KitchenAid to do this.  You can make pasta with just a workspace and a pasta crank (which is much nicer on the wallet).  I’m sure it’s more difficult that way, but I think you’ll find it’s well worth the effort.

KitchenAid Basic Egg Pasta

4 large eggs

1/2 cup water (I needed at least another 1/4 cup)

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients into bowl fixed with flat beater. Turn to speed 2 and mix for 30 seconds.

Remove flat beater and add dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and knead for 2 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and hand knead for 1-2 minutes. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Add a walnut sized amount of dough to pasta machine at a time.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water.  It took longer than I had expected it to – probably around 8 minutes to get just on the tender side of al-dente.

Also, warning – this recipe makes a LOT of pasta.  I would make it as is the first few times, but consider cutting it in half for future meals.

Sauce

1 lb hot italian style sausage (or whatever you prefer)

1 lb ripe summer tomatoes, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh herbs (we used basil and oregano)

Brown the sausage in a frying pan.  Drain any excess fat.  Add in tomatoes, herbs, and garlic or anything else you like. Simmer until tomatoes breakdown slightly and release their juices.  Mix with fresh pasta.

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