Posted by fourclankitchen on April 10, 2011
I received a Cucina-Pro 150 Imperia Pasta machine as a belated Christmas gift (see an Amazon Link here). Despite some of the iffy reviews out there, making homemade pasta turned out to be a fairly simple undertaking. And compared to rolling and cutting pasta by hand, pasta made with this machine produced a less chewy, thinner and considerably superior pasta. So I will certainly do this again.
I thought I would recount the things that made this relatively simple. First, I postponed using the pasta dough recipe that came with the machine since it had received mixed reviews (its probably fine, I just haven’t tried it yet). Instead, I went with a French Laundry Cookbook pasta dough recipe adapted by Smtten Kitchen. However, instead of doing it entirely manually as recommended, I began with the food processor and ended with hand kneading for a less messy process that produced very good pasta dough.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon milk
1. Lightly beat the egg yolks and the egg with the olive oil and milk in the food processor.
2. Then begin incorporating a few tablespoons of flour at a time into the egg-mix. This mimics the manual process or incorporating a little flour at a time into the egg mix.
3. Continue to pulse the food processor until the dough holds together into a shaggy ball.
4. Transfer the dough to a well floured surface. Now knead for 10-15 min by flattening the dough with the heel of your hand, then folding the dough into a ball and repeating the process. Do not underknead.. When you are done the dough should look silky and just a touch sticky. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and set aside for at least an hour (counter is fine) or overnight (use a fridge for this).
5. Allow the dough to come up to room temperature (about half an hour) if possible. Before beginning, set a pot of water to boil.
Flatten the dough into a disc on a well-floured surface and cut into 6 parts with a knife. Square the edges of each portion so that it forms a rectangle (this helps to form a rectangular sheet later).
6. The pasta machine has a dough rolling and a dough cutting attachment (for making fettucini and tagliatelle). Generously flour all the grooves of your pasta maker that you will use and also both surfaces of the dough.
7. Run the dough through the widest setting of the roller. This will flatten the dough. Repeat and then move the machine down to the next notch (making the groove narrower). Pass the pasta dough through the machine again. Continue to run the dough through the machine, moving to finer and finer settings till the dough is transluscent and you can almost see your fingers through the dough.
8. Now move the crank to the cutter of your choice (I used the fettucini cutter). Pass the dough sheet through the cutter (well-floured). Maintaining slight tension on the past sheet as you feed it through the rollers really helps. Generously flour the emerging fettucini or tagliatelle and proceed until all the dough is used up.
9. Boil pasta for 3-5 min. Drain. Toss with olive oil and salt.
10. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce. I went with Marcella Hazan’s simple tomato sauce, made with tomatoes, butter and onions (see link here).
11. Freeze unused pasta.
Here are things that I though made the process simpler:
a) Knead the dough well and make sure you allow the dough to rest for at least an hour before rolling.
b) Cut the dough into smaller portions for ease of handling.
c) Start with a rectangular block of well-floured dough.
d) If your dough gets too long as you run through the rollers, cut the dough into half for ease of handling.
e) If your dough is sticky, place it on a flat surface and flour both sides. Then flour the machine. Do this over and over again.
f) Use a fat paint brush to clean the machine after any pasta stuck on it has dried. (It cannot be cleaned with water). Discard the first batch of dough after you clean the rollers and cutters.