Years and years ago my mother-in-law bought me a pasta roller (like this) for a gift. I enjoyed having such a "gourmet" piece of kitchen equipment, and I used it some, but it was sort of relegated to the kitchen equipment which we use only for special occasions. Ironically, I still made homemade noodles by hand, but the pasta machine was put away in a basement cabinet.
This past Sunday, I planned spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and then I realized I had no dry pasta. I dislike going to the grocery store so much I went down to the basement and dusted off the pasta machine. When I was finished cutting the spaghetti I realized I had invested very little time, actually, and after we ate I realized how much I love homemade pasta. There is just no comparison. Homemade pasta is so tender and tasty and wonderful. I actually have no good words to describe it. You really must try it. If you don't own a pasta machine, maybe you can put it on your Christmas list (there are an awful lot out there in all price ranges).
I use the food processor to make my pasta dough and it's really super easy -- three ingredients: flour, salt and eggs (cheap, too!). From start to finish it takes less than two minutes to make the dough. It takes less then 20 minutes to roll and cut it. It may not be practical every night, but it's not so tough with just a wee bit of time. Your family will love you for it, so consider it a labor of love.
serves six for dinner
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
Place flour and salt in bowl of food processor. Crack eggs into a measuring cup with a spout. Turn machine on and pour the eggs through the feeding tube. Let run for about 30 seconds until dough gathers in a ball. Pull dough out and put machine back together. Turn it on and, tearing off balls of dough (small enough to feed through the tube, but not too small), feed them into the machine one at a time, but fairly quickly. Let the machine run until dough gathers in a ball again.
Remove ball of dough from machine and wrap in plastic wrap. You can use it right away in a pinch, but it will be better if you let it rest for 30 minutes.
Unwrap dough after rest and cut into 10 or so pieces (see photo).
yes, it is that yellow
Flour each piece lightly and set rolling side of pasta machine on the lowest setting. Roll each piece through once.
Set the machine on a higher setting, two or three notches above the lowest. It really depends on what kind of pasta you are making at this point. I wanted spaghetti, so I set it two notches above, leaving it a little thick.
Keep each piece floured lightly as you work with them and cut them in half as necessary to keep them from being too long and unmanageable.
After all pieces are the desired thickness, it's time to cut. I used the most narrow setting for spaghetti. If you wanted fettuccine, you would use the wider setting. For angel hair, I would use the narrow setting and a very thin sheet of dough.
After flouring each sheet, feed them through the machine to cut it. Lay each bunch on a floured surface. Let sit for about 30 minutes.
Bring several quarts of water to a boil, salt. Add pasta, in thirds, to the water and stir to prevent sticking, until all pasta is in water. Cook for two to three minutes until desired texture. Drain.