Monday, March 29, 2010

Perfect Pasta

Phew. I was busy last week. In addition to spending time with good friends, I spent the week learning to make my own pasta. And by "make" I do not mean boiling water and waiting 5-7 minutes for store-bought, dried pasta to cook. I mean actually making the dough and using my new Kitchen Aid pasta attachment (happy early birthday to me!) to make whole wheat linguine and butternut squash ravioli.

Last year for my birthday my parents got me this gorgeous, shiny stand-mixer that, I must admit, makes my heart beat a little faster when I see it:

It's like a shiny new car, without the new-car smell of course.

And this year, much to Eric's relief, I purchased myself the pasta attachments for my birthday since my pasta-making-fool of a friend, Sam, was coming to visit. I wanted to take advantage of her know-how so I wouldn't actually have to read the directions on how to operate the various attachments. Directions can be so ... tedious.

The whole process is actually pretty simple and you can make the dough ahead of time and freeze it so you have some on hand whenever you want fresh pasta. Or when your friend comes over with her three boys looking for an activity as well as something to feed her family for dinner. You can also make batches of fresh pasta and freeze them in little bundles which will cook in about the same amount of time as dried pasta. The twins devoured the homemade linguine and I felt a strange satisfaction seeing them eat something I made from scratch.

I think the ravioli is particularly fun because you can experiment with the fillings and enlist help from your children. Well, not my children ... but you know, older ones who understand raw dough is not for eating or shoving in a sibling's ear.

We roasted butternut squash with some olive oil, salt and pepper and then pureed it with some fresh sage for a ridiculously delicious filling. However, you could literally fill the ravioli with anything. I think that concocting your own filling really is half the fun and, as an added bonus, the puree can double as baby food.

I realize the process of making pasta from scratch may seem daunting for some of you but I wanted to share the dough recipe I used for those of you who may be feeling ambitious. I actually found the whole experience very relaxing and think it will be a fun activity to do with the twins when they are a little bit older.

Basic Wheat Pasta Dough

In the bowl of stand-mixer, combine:

2/3 Cup whole wheat flour
1 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Stir ingredients with paddle attachment for 30-60 seconds, until slightly combined. Switch to dough hook and mix for approximately 2-3 minutes on medium speed until dough forms a ball. You can add water 1-2 teaspoons at a time if necessary to form ball.

You can use dough immediately or allow to chill in refrigerator up to 24-48 hours prior to use or freeze for future use. We used the same dough for the linguine as well as the ravioli.

Has anyone else dabbled in making their own pasta? If so, please share your tips, tricks and recipes with us since I am clearly a novice in this department.


  1. amazing, incredible, miraculous. also, i want one of those shiny red things. we missed you, erin!

  2. we truly missed you... i have to try making fresh pasta, it seems so hard, but now you made it sound kinda exciting.

  3. Not to mention that I love love love love love love love love butternut squash ravioli.MMMMMM.

  4. Yeah, you're back! Hope you had a lovely time with your friend!

    I don't like pasta but I do like the shiny red mixer! :)

  5. don't like pasta? how is that possible? especially when it's FRESH and HOMEMADE? by my shiny red car??

  6. LWL - I think there must be something medically wrong with you that you don't like pasta. If I could magically not like pasta, I swear I would be instantly 10 lbs lighter, just by no longer having visions of mac 'n cheese dancing in my head ;-)

    that being said, I am so overwhelmed by everything right now that I almost burst into to tears reading today's post. I cannot, in a million years, figure out where I could find the time to make homemade pasta. Although it sounds delicious and I would do it if I could. I have been feeling proud of myself that I have stopped buying processed food to pack for Lexi's lunches, and have been buying that Buitoni pasta/raviolis/tortellini in the cheese aisle to pack instead. I mean, I guess it's still processed, but whole wheat tortellinis that I boil on the stove myself sounds better to me than frozen chicken nuggets......right? RIGHT?!?!

    missed you too. hope you had an awesome week with Sam.

  7. oh girl, i'm sorry i stressed you out with the pasta post. you could find time if you didn't spend 100 billion hours working your tail off IN ADDITION to be super-mommy. i only have to be super-mommy. see? big difference. also i live in a really small town, as you know, and have to create things to keep me busy so i don't go insane.

    i will make you a freezer-full of pasta next time we visit...promise. lex can be my little helper and the pugs can be on clean-up :)

  8. Kelly, one step at a time toward wholeness! Feeding our bodies with real food is better than where you were before, so feel VERY proud of yourself for not buying processed foods for Lexi's lunch anymore.

  9. aw, thanks guys. much appreciated. I know I am not the only woman on earth that works full time and has a young child, it just feels like it sometimes ;-) I try not to whine too much - b/c I do have an overall great life. But as Erin knows, whining is one of my many talents!

    and Erin, yes, we would like some Aunt Erin pasta for the freezer. Pugs are the BEST at clean up duty.

    did I mention how I have been having a green smoothie for the past two weeks? I think it's working - it gives me good energy until lunchtime and I am guaranteed at least those fruits and veggies once per day.