Saturday, August 07, 2004

Making Macaroni

Not too long ago I was given a set of pasta maker plates for my Kitchenaid mixer. This mixer has an amazing variety of attachments available, including a grain mill, a juicer, a can opener, and even an ice cream maker. The pasta maker plates are designed to be used with the food grinder attachment – the one attachment that I have.

I had made spaghetti before and was really pleased with the way it turned out. Tonight I decided to try making macaroni. It’s a very simple process, though I little time-consuming. A basic egg noodle pasta recipe is provided in the instruction manual. I haven’t worked up the courage to deviate from it yet - I’m not sure if just any pasta recipe would work

Once the dough is mixed, kneaded, and has rested, the fun begins. Anyone who ever lusted after the Play-doh Fun Factory as a kid will understand! You drop walnut-sized lumps of dough into the hopper of the food grinder and pull away lengths of pasta as they are extruded. With the macaroni, the instructions advise you to pull it off in approximately 6-inch lengths. These long pieces should be laid on kitchen towels to dry a bit, and then you can break or cut them into shorter lengths before cooking.

I think the spaghetti was possibly better than dried pasta, but I wouldn’t say the same for the macaroni. It was good – but no better than dried. But making homemade pasta isn’t just about taste, it’s about having fun.


Anonymous said...

I am truly impressed! I have never made pasta before, and I remain a bit intimidated by the whole process, especially by macaroni, because of the extruding part. The final picture makes me wonder why commercial macaroni is curled into a C-shape...does that just happen when they dry it, or do they specifically form it that way? I'm curious as to how you prepared it, macaroni and cheese? Or something more upscale? Looks like a really fun project!


Cathy said...

Hi Alice! Making pasta is easy if you have the right tools. Actually rolling pasta sheets (for ravioli, fettuccine, or lasagna) is more difficult than extruding it, since you have to handle the dough more. But pasta dough is very forgiving - it's not sticky and is actually quite easy to handle.

I cooked all the macaroni last night and ate some of it with peas and parmesan cheese. I plan to use the rest tomorrow to make a salad. I would have loved to had macaroni and cheese (and actually thought about it), but I had just had a grilled ham and swiss at lunch and was feeling a little guilty about eating all that cheese!

Reid said...

Hi Cathy,

I have to give you credit for making macaroni. It's something that I wouldn't even think of doing!