They say that your first attempt at making pasta should be an easy, basic one without any fancy flavourings. Once you get the feeling for the dough, you can try other flavour combinations. Of course I ignore that sage advice and try my hand at spinach pasta.
Making pasta is a sensory experience. While most people are intimidated by strict instructions, I need structure. I like working in grams and digital thermometers so when I’m left to my own devices to judge whether something looks/feels “right”, my heart starts palpitating.
I used a standmixer to knead the dough and finished it kneading by hand. You will eventually have to knead by hand as the dough is unworkable by standmixer or food processor.
By the end of it, the entire kitchen, myself and my dog was covered in flour.
Was this long tedious process worth it?
While I do still keep dry pasta in the pantry, fresh made pasta is a different experience. Like anything, making pasta will get easier with experience.
I got a little carried away when making the noodles. I like long noodles (I will never break spaghetti unless I have to) and I was so enchanted with the machine that I watched the noodles get longer and longer. R commented that his entire plate of pasta was comprised of one single noodle.
This attachment gets a lot of use. I wish I could say the same about my other KitchenAid attachments. I can make a batch during a weeknight, but I prefer doing it on the weekend when I have more time. It freezes so well that there is usually homemade pasta in the freezer. And the ravioli you will make with it is worth the price of this gadget.
I used the spinach pasta recipe from The Mixer Bible. If this is your first time making pasta, I recommend doing the basic one first a few times to get a feel for the dough.
After making the pesto from Cook’s Illustrated, I realized not all pestos taste the same. The flavour is unbelievable. They say bruising the basil helps release the flavour better, but I didn’t notice a difference when I skipped it.
Pesto (very slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
1/4cup pine nuts, toasted (or almonds or walnuts)
3 medium cloves garlic, unpeeled
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves (optional)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4cup finely grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino Romano
Ground black pepper
1. Toast nuts in a small pan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until just golden and fragrant (~5 minutes). Set aside garlic (you will need the pan to toast the garlic). Add garlic to pan and toast over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and the colour of the cloves darken, about 7 minutes. Once the garlic is cool, peel.
2. Put the nuts, garlic, basil and parsley (if using), olive oil, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Process until smooth, occasionally stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper to taste.