Thursday, January 22, 2009

So I totally ordered a pasta maker

I guess pasta "maker" is not the right word, because it's not like it actually "makes" the pasta, but that's what the box said and calling it a pasta "roller" sounds kinda retarded, but either way, I have one now.

I still feel the tiniest bit guilty about buying such a proprietary (and fucking heavy - good lord!) kitchen device when I can barely find room for the ice cube trays in the cupboard when they're not in use, but after using it once, I know I'll go back into the cupboard for this big beast fairly regularly.

It also helps that I made a giant dough recipe the first time out of the box, so when I do decide I want to crank out some spaghetti or whatever, I can just thaw a dough ball, roll it out and press it through the machine in a few minutes instead of having to do the whole mix, wrap, rest, roll thing.

That's a little much.

Especially given that when I set out to make pasta what I'm usually thinking is I'm going to make something easy so I can focus on my cocktail.

Pasta for dinner is not usually an announcement that garners any sort of awe in this house. Sort of like saying let's go out for dinner when all you're doing is going to Del Taco. Which would never happen in this house, of course.

Anyway, about that machine, for those of you in the market for one of these machines or those interested in why the hell someone would spend $25 on a machine that makes something you can readily find at the grocery store for cheap. (For those of you staring at me in disbelief, please recall my history with overwrought projects.)

This machine, the Pinzon 5-9-Inch Pasta Maker, is quite the effective little gadget.

My first impression when I took it out of its box was something like HOLY HELL this thing is HEAVY. Which is a good thing, because for $25 I was sure I was going to get some rinky tin piece of crap that would mangle under my unskilled hands.

Um, no. This thing will out live us all, I'm pretty sure, and is definitely built to withstand at least a low-grade nuclear attack.

Clamp it down to your countertop and you're pretty much set to roll dough until every arm in your house has been exhausted.

Also enjoyable is its simplicity. There's just the four parts (base, rollers, handle, clamp) and the directions are mercifully short. Basically, you can identify the parts and their role in the whole pasta making apparatus, so it's just a matter of putting the right things in the right holes.

Which sounds sexy and inappropriate but is neither.

Either way, I got this thing out of the box, assembled and clamped satisfactorily to my countertop in under 5 minutes which is something of a record for me given my undying love and devotion to instruction manuals.

After rolling my one dough ball out to a proper width, I rolled it through the machine (I did a test roll first, which I discarded, according to the instructions in the ever important manual - don't forget!) and Tee DAH! had created a lovely sheet of pasta of consistent width with very minimal energy expended.

This took all of 20 seconds.

The only bummer here is that it is SO fast while also being SO enjoyable that you really will want to just go buck wild rolling pasta around in this thing to the point where the hungry wolves in your house will come stomping into the kitchen to find out what happened to dinner and how come you're wearing a full length gown made of (very thin) pasta dough.

It's that fun!


Once I was done admiring my nice thin sheets of future dinner, I rolled the dice on the actual cutting rollers for the fettuccine and produced, in one pass, a pile of fresh pasta the likes of which had never been seen before by my kitchen.

Do not underestimate the addictive power of the pasta maker. It is like heroine with a handle.

But then for the actual cooking of the pasta. I was afraid, people.

It was fresh and doughy and I was worried about putting my stringy delicate babies into a pot of big mean boiling water for fear of what it might do to their squooshy exteriors, but I was worried for nothing because it worked just like I hoped. Specifically, nothing got goopy or weird and the final product was edible and, frankly, kinda cute in a rustic way.

This is what pasta looks like in the wild. All rustic and natural.

And to celebrate this edibility, I treated the pasta to a date with Pioneer Woman's Pasta alla Vodka sauce. Truly a match made in heaven when paired with the, now ever-present, brussels sprout side dish brought to us weekly thanks to our farmshare and Dig's easy going recipe.

And to think, Bubba hated brussels sprouts until I made this.

Anyway, that's my piece about the whole do I really need a pasta maker/roller issue. As it turns out I do not NEED it so much as I enjoy it thoroughly and use it to produce superior tasting din-din for myself and Bubba.

Plus, just TRY turning a sheet of pasta into spaghetti without immediately making plans to do it again. It's impossible.


  1. How weird that you posted about this today. I was just looking seriously into pasta makers (rollers, whatever). I was thinking that my kitchen aid could use a friend or two with the pasta maker attachment, but they're expensive! I figure $25 I could handle... Glad to see pasta making is easy!

  2. Hahaha!

    "'re wearing a full length gown made of (very thin) pasta dough."

  3. The mind meld continues, Finny. I was JUST planning in my head a pasta-making (and eating) party at our house for next weekend, because I came across our ancient pasta roller when I was looking for something in a cabinet the other day. I've never used it before, but it can't be that hard, right?

    Right. Stay tuned for posts in which Kristin eats her words (and deformed, fucked up--but homemade!--pasta).

  4. OH yay - glad you got it and love it!!! See, they're not so bad - pasta rollers really CAN be your friends!

    Although the last time we got ours out, we had friends over to help with "putting the right things in the right holes" (no no - not an orgy, just a big pasta dinner!).

    Ooh, I bet that'd be great with the vodka sauce... I've made both separately, but just used (gasp!) storebought dried pasta with the vodka sauce.

    Make sure you report how it goes with the frozen dough - I haven't done that with the pasta dough before. We always just eat every bit we make. Yum!

    Keep on crankin'!

  5. Well, my other comment disappeared so I'm trying again.

    Despite my not needing another kitchen gadget, having stil failed to assemble my new yarn winder stuff, I've popped over and ordered the whole pasta making stuff (machine, drying rack, and book). I'm going to tell my husband it's your fault as you made me drool uncontrollabley whilst reading your post about your new machine.

    P.S. The word verification for this comment today is "rattes". I love seeing the different "words" that pop up on the verification tool.

  6. We have one of these things. Don't know the brand, but it looks exactly like yours. And I've even made homemade lasagna noodles with it, which are the awesomist things ever.

    But I seriously hope yours works out better than mine because 1) the screw for the clamp that holds it to the counter stripped out after about 4 uses, so now we have to use a wood clamp from the garage and 2) little bits of black stuff gets on the pasta if I let it roll too close to either of the edges.

    Other than that, I love homemade pasta. I just curse A LOT when I make it. And I mean that. Sometimes when I say I curse a lot, it really means just in my head, but when I use this all young children should be evacuated from the house, because the cursing comes out in yelling.

    I haven't been posting much lately on my site, so I guess I'm now comment-posting. Sorry.

    Also, your pasta looks fan-freaking-tastic.

  7. Wendy -

    That black gunk you mention - are you saying that's because of your clamp replacement trick, or is it coming from somewhere inside the rollers?

    I ask because I get little grayish black smears/flecks on my pasta occasionally when it gets too close to the edges as well. I feel like it implies I am unclean...that I have poor pasta roller hygiene. I TRY cleaning out those parts of the roller, but I still get the flecks... I don't know if it's old pasta gone bad, or if it's part of the lube built into the roller...

    Glad to hear I'm not the only person having this!

  8. Many years ago, my MIL gave us a pasta maker. One that mixes the dough and all. Except, you needed to be an octopus with additional limbs to use it. My two hands (and Joe's two hands) were not enough. And I think our oldest was a baby, so we couldn't use his hands.

    This one looks more like my style. I had actually been looking into pasta rollers recently. I just don't know how much I'd have to make to feed my clan... That could be a deterrent.

  9. I'm soo jealous!!! I've been coveting a pasta maker for some time now. I'm hoping to get one for my birthday that's comming up in a couple of weeks!

  10. So, I don't think I've ever even eaten homemade pasta, much less made some!! I'll bet it was wonderful!!

  11. Very cool Finny -- I've been wondering about one of those myself. How is it for the clean up?

  12. Your noodles are so darling. (Not meant to be inappropriate but I enjoy the possibilities...)

    I have never wanted a pasta maker for the reasons you explained regarding the ice tray space issue but this has me tempted...looks divine, friend.

    And, so happy I could help Bubba overcome brussels sprouts phobia with the introduction of butter and bacon. Hey, that'd also be great on homemade pasta.

  13. The MIL got us the pasta maker attachment for the Kitchen Aid for our anniversary (because Mario Batali loves his. The MIL is funny). The hubby LOVES it. We have made ravioli and linguini. Delish!

  14. Num, num, num... That looks fantastic!

  15. Jeph, it isn't because of the clamp (that part is to the side and never touches the dough). I think it's bits of old dough that are impossible to clean out properly. I seem to remember the instructions saying to roll the dough through a couple of times to clean out the lube, but I think after 4 years, I should have it cleaned out. If I'm careful to keep the dough nice and skinny, it's not a problem, though, just a pain in the ass.

  16. Yup, that sounds like what I've seen.

  17. Thanks for posting about this. It's kid's holiday off from school and it's raining cats and dogs, and I decided to pull down the Atlas pasta maker I bought at a garage sale a million years ago. I appreciate the descriptions and the link to the Sunset recipe. After we venture out to get some semolina flour, we'll be cooking!


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