Musings on Making Pasta, No. 5

I was back at making pasta this week, trying a slightly different recipe, and working on honing my skills with the pasta machine. As well, I  was hoping to get my recently-acquired mafaldine cutter attachment operating correctly (you might recall reading about the problems I had with it clogging in the previous post on pasta making). My usual mix for pasta dough is a ratio of … (more–>)

Musings on Making Bread and Chili, No. 1

Longtime readers here know that before my surgery last summer, along with my pasta making I was an avid, if not always entirely competent, baker. I mostly made bread from “scratch” but sometimes for convenience used an electric bread maker. I made all sorts of bread in previous years, including soda (“quick”) breads, as well as the occasional scone, tea biscuit, and muffin. I’ve always looked … (more–>)

Review: The Ultimate Pasta Machine Cookbook

The Ultimate Pasta Machine Cookbook: 100 Recipes for Every Kind of Amazing Pasta Your Pasta Maker Can Make, by Lucy Vaserfirer, Paperback, 208 pages, Published in 2020 by Harvard Common Press, Beverly, MA, USA. I am disappointed. At almost $40, I don’t believe the book delivers what the title promises. I expected a book with “ultimate” in its title to have a LOT more information on actually … (more–>)

Musings on Making Pasta, No. 4

I made another batch of pasta this weekend to test my new mafaldine cutter, but it proved problematic . The dough jammed in it against the blades, so I had to switch to my lasagne ricce cutter, which worked perfectly. Because it got so deeply stuck, I had to remove the blade piece on the new cutter and spend some time fishing tiny bits of dough … (more–>)

Musings on Making Pasta, No.3

How thick should any particular type of pasta be? Seems like a simple question that could be answered by a basic chart or spreadsheet. But if it has been, I’ll be damned if I can find one online. In my numerous books on pasta, only a few actually give recommended thicknesses for making your own. Anything that deals with dried, store-bought pasta simply deals with the … (more–>)

Musing on Making Pasta No. 2

In its most basic form, pasta can be made from only two ingredients: flour and water. But while true, it’s deceptively simple, and far from the tastiest or most expressive pasta you can make.  (see part 1 of this essay if you missed it) Flour is delightfully complicated; there is some interesting chemistry at work within flour and it’s fun to experiment. Wheat is classified into … (more–>)

Musings on Making Pasta No. 1

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”16″ exclusions=”302,303,304,305,306,298,297,296,294,290,289,288,287″ display=”basic_thumbnail” thumbnail_crop=”0″ number_of_columns=”5″ order_by=”imagedate”]  Long-time readers here may recall that I used to post about making my own pasta and bread quite frequently some years back. Last spring when I was diagnosed with cancer and then went through surgery and then radiation, I stopped doing both. This week, I finally got back to my pasta-making— not quite as adroitly as I had … (more–>)

The Geometry and Topology of Pasta

I’ve always had a geeky appreciation – and awe – of mathematics. I have spent countless hours tinkering with programs that create math-based designs like fractals and Spirograph-style curves. As a young teenager I spent hours playing with an oscilloscope making sound waves dance on the tiny screen. But I never really thought much about the math behind pasta until I stumbled on two books: The … (more–>)

More Pasta Making

My first attempt at ravioli was, I admit, a disaster. But you learn from trying what you need to do the next time. And you also learn from reading what tools you might need to do better. Sure, you can make ravioli and other stuffed pasta by hand, but what I wanted was a plaque. That’s the one I bought in the photo on the right. … (more–>)

Pasta Books Reviewed, Part 1

While I can’t say my collection of pasta making and recipe books is as exhaustive as it could be had I an unlimited amount to spend and equivalent time to read and make pasta, I have garnered a few useful books over the past month. I wanted to share some opinions and comments about those I have collected to date. Also see part two of this … (more–>)

Pasta Books Reviewed, Part 2

This follows from part one of my book reviews, posted on this blog. Please see that post for the introduction. These, with either the Pasta Bible or Pasta Cookbook (preferred) by Jeni Wright, from the first post, are the recommended books. I’ve rated the books from A (highest) to E on TRIPDO – technical content (T – what details they offer, whether they use weights and … (more–>)

Resting, Relaxing and Rising

I’ve been reading of late about gluten. How it works, how it develops, why it matters. Gluten is the key to good bread and pasta (the gluten-free fadists notwithstanding, gluten-free anything is an aberration that should be shunned by anyone not diagnosed with celiac disease*). I’m learning more about how gluten links with itself to form the chains necessary to make our food, and how to … (more–>)

Update: expanding my pasta making

I’ve just ordered a pasta extruder – the Marcato “Regina” pasta machine, which I expect to arrive in another week. This will allow me to make hollow pasta types like penne and rigatoni, not just the flat varieties I’ve been making to date. The machine got fairly good reviews online at various cooking sites. These extruders work much like a meat or dough grinder: a corkscrew … (more–>)

Late Spring Pastas

I’m still working on a formula for the perfect pasta dough, trying different mixes of flour and other ingredients to get both the best consistency and taste. And to experiment with texture so the pasta has the best mouth feel. I make fresh pasta once or twice a week now. My efforts so far have been pretty damned tasty and all but one – a notable … (more–>)

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