Using your noodle

I’m not one for kitchen gadgets, I’ve never understood things like can colanders or battery powered corkscrews and for years, I was sure that my $30 hand mixer was all I needed to get things done. That is until last year, when some relatives were getting ready to move to Singapore and offered up their KitchenAid mixer. OMG! This thing has revolutionized my baking, mostly because I don’t mind actually beating together butter and sugar “until light and fluffy” or mixing eggs “until they stand in stiff peaks.” In past a past life this would have resulted in something akin to tennis elbow… now I just turn the KitchenAid on and let it do its thing.

Said relatives also threw in some pasta rolling accessories, which have largely sat idle in my cupboard for the past year. That is until about a month ago when a friend of Chicky’s brought us some ground venison. Chicky decided to make a venison Bolognese, and I was determined to find a pasta worthy of that special sauce. Pappardelle happens to be a favorite of mine, so I  looked at the pasta attachments, did some cookbook research and decided to go for it.

I started with Jamie Oliver’s basic pasta recipe– a pound of flour and five eggs. I threw the stuff into the mixer, attached the dough hook and in minutes I had dough.

The dough had to chill an hour, and then I cut in into pieces about the size of my hand and passed them through the pasta roller attachment on my KitchenAid. Twenty minutes later, pretty much every surface in my kitchen was covered in fresh cut pappardelle. (You may want to set up a drying area/rack ahead of time. And no, your clothes drying rack is not a good idea. Trust me.)

While the first recipe was good, I thought the pasta could use some more oomph… the noodles were a bit bland and got kind of poofy when I cooked them for the recommended six minutes. So, I adapted another Jamie Oliver recipe that called for two eggs and five egg yolks (I saved the whites and used them in an omlet after my workout the next morning). My flour was a bit off in this recipe: I started with a pound and then had to add a bit more because the dough was substantially wetter. I also added a bit of salt, to offset the egg flavor. This noodle was much better, more flavorful and stuck together better when cooked. One you’ve mastered basic pasta, the possibilities are endless- Oliver suggests adding beets or spinach. Lemon zest and cracked pepper sound good to me. Or perhaps some black olives. Or sun-dried tomatoes. Or… well, like I said, endless.

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2 thoughts on “Using your noodle

  1. I clean my clothes drying rack off really well and use it to dry my pasta on. It really gives them the best opportunity to really dry since they are not against the bowl or just laid out on the counter.

    • Hi. Thanks for the suggestion. I tried a clothes drying rack, but the pasta stuck to it and I worried about pasta-clothing cross contamination. But you’re right, it was the best for drying, and hey, what’s a little flour on your clothes?

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