Today at lunch time I had to go out to the bank. On the way back, I walked past a charity shop and spotted in the window this Imperia pasta machine, unused and in the box, sparkling like brand new.
I had to go in and have a look and when I saw the price, only £5, I just had to buy it. I knew they were expensive, and checked on the internet later to find the Imperia Italian Double Cutter Pasta Machine SP150 retailing for £35 in Amazon. So I was well impressed with this.
I spoke to an Italian friend at work to get the basic recipe, 100 g of flour with 1 egg. She was incredibly jealous of my new purchase, reminiscing that every Italian child made pasta with their grandmother using one of these.
As soon as I got home, I got some flour and tried it out. Mixed together 2 eggs with 200 g flour, and made the dough. Then I had to clamp the machine to the work surface. The only way I could do this was opening a drawer and attaching the clamp inside. This turned out to be a big mistake, as what with all the flour everywhere, the majority of it ended up filling the drawer. When cleaning up the kitchen I had to then empty out all the cutlery and knives from the drawer and wash them all. Not impressed by this.
I then got round to rolling the dough down to make lasagne type sheets - all going ok so far. But I was fast running out of room to put all the sheets. Piles of pasta seemed to be appearing everywhere, along with a dusting of flour on me, the work surface, the floor and anywhere else it could settle in the kitchen!
Finally I got the dough thin enough to run through the tagliatelle cutter, and did this, but with no where to hang the pasta I ended up with a tangled mess of strands all over the work surfaces, on plates, dangling off my arms!
Next thing was to cook it, so I boiled some water, got the best strands separated out and then into the boiling water for a few minutes.
I have to admit the finished result was somewhat disappointing! Tough and chewy. I am not sure if this was attributable to the flour used (the cheapest plain flour - Tesco Value quality), or not rolling enough, or some other mistake, possibly undercooked, or maybe because it was all tangled up in a mess, so did not cook right through.
Anyway, at least I have learnt how not to cook pasta!
These are some things I will consider next time:
- Space - lots of it!
- Flour - 00 grade or top quality pasta flour
- Somewhere to hang the pasta when making it
- Learn about how to do it before actually starting
- Read up about the science of pasta and see what is going on (geek!)