I discovered and bought this bad boy from Craigslist, in anticipation of this weekend’s upcoming Potrero Progressive Dinner. It was a decent price at $30 (even though I found out later that it was on clearance at $20 and then discontinued altogether at Williams Sonoma earlier this year). I tested it out last night, so as HLY put it, we don’t all “go home with a doggie bag of indigestion.” It does take more work than going to TJs and paying $0.99 for a pound of dry pasta, but the results made it worth it, particularly for a special occasion.
All-purpose flour (preferably type “00”)
Eggs (1 for about every 3/4 cup of flour)
Pinch of salt
Water (it’s helpful to have a bowl of water and extra flour nearby during kneading)
I followed a very basic Italian recipe, popularized by celebrity chefs like Mario Batali. Start by taking out the eggs from the refrigerator (i.e., don’t use cold, just-from-the-fridge eggs – the mantra is “pasta hates cold”). Then, find a nice flat surface that isn’t naturally cold (e.g., a wooden board rather than a marble surface) and pour the flour in a mound onto that surface, like a volcano. [Note: It also works well to mix the eggs/flour in a mixing bowl and forming a lump of dough first before kneading the dough on a flat surface.]
Create a hole in the center of the mound of flour. Then, crack the eggs into that center. Use a fork to mix the eggs, and then slowly incorporate the flour that line the inner wall of the center (some people beat the eggs in a bowl first). Keep re-forming the walls of the flour mountain, so the yolk doesn’t run (it’s okay if it does though – just mix flour into it). Once it’s all mixed, knead the dough with both hands, for about 5-10 minutes. Use more water or flour as necessary. [Note: If the dough is too dry, add more water; if it’s too moist, sprinkle some flour.]
The dough is done when it is uniform and homogeneous, and there no lumps. Cover it with plastic wrap, and set aside for 20 minutes or so. Then, feed small batches of it into the pasta extruder. Set the pasta aside for about an hour (or more) before cooking, with plastic wrap over it.
Note on cooking: fresh pasta cooks faster than dry pasta, about 5 minutes or so.
-Thursday, November 3, 2011: “the night my laptop blew itself(‘s power adapter)”
-Sunday, November 6, 2011: Potrero Progressive Dinner
-Friday, December 2, 2011: fattycakes dinner (Bucatini all’Amatriciana and mac n’ cheese); 7 eggs used for 5 people, plenty of leftovers
-Monday, December 23, 2013: Family Christmas Eve Dinner (8 eggs and about 6.25 cups of flour used for 17 people; could use a few more eggs/flour next time, depending on how many other dishes there are)