Sunday, 16 November 2008

Money Can't Buy Me Love . . .

. . . but it did buy me my new favourite gadget - a pasta machine.

Confession: I went to buy some groceries yesterday, but before entering the supermarket, I popped into the little shop that sells brewing supplies and lots of interesting bits and pieces. I thought I would just ask if they had a pasta machine and see how much it cost (you know, reconnaissance for future purchase). I almost walked out of the shop without it, but it kept calling me back - so I lashed out and bought it.

It is an Imperia pasta machine that makes lasagne, fettucine and tagliatelli. You can also get other attachments to do gnocchi (but I generally make these by hand) and one for ravioli, as well as a motor attachment. I wanted a hand worked one, so I don't think the motor is on future shopping lists, but the ravioli maker looks pretty good and could be in danger.

The reason I bought a pasta machine is that we mostly don't eat wheat (my darling man and I both seem to react to it if we eat too much). Consequently, we buy gluten-free pasta. These pastas tend to be very refined and I would prefer we eat whole-grain pasta, hence the machine.

Of course, as soon as I got home, we had to make some fresh pasta. The kids joined in and had a good time. They even made meatballs to go with it. Here's our raw fettucine before we cooked it.

For our first attempt we used a 50/50 mix of Orgran gluten-free all purpose flour and FG Roberts gluten-free plain flour. We added the eggs as instructed (plus one more) and a little water. It all held together during cooking and was truly delicious. In the future, I'm going to try buckwheat and oatmeal and such like, but for the first attempt we thought it best to stick with a fairly refined flour. The end result was very yummy and definitely superior to shop-bought pasta. I'm now dreaming of canneloni and lasagne and wonton wraps, etc, etc.

love and light


Wendy said...

Sounds absolutely delicious! I never thought of making my own pasta, but now will definitely look for a pasta machine and see what happens.....

TheCrone said...

Aren't they wonderful! I love mine to pieces, even though it is a hand cranked one.

We are eating pasta/noodles at least three times a week now and it really isn't much effort at all.

naturewitch said...

Hi Wendy
Hope you enjoy it as much as we do - it really was quite fun. xx

Hi Crone
Yes - I'm dreaming of menu items shunned in the past couple of years because of the wheat thing. And it's quite fun to do. xx

Kel said...

my kids have grown up with a pasta 'machine' its been a part of their lives and they have fond memories of hanging pasta around the kitchen after helping wind it through. had to nuy another one when the ex decided it was on 'his' list (he's prolly never used it since!) great for special diets like yours. just have to plan ahead a bit more. but when all else fails i go the 'gourmet' option and serve large ribbons!

Cheryl said...

I really do admire you making your own pasta.....for me that sounds like a nightmare.....yours looks delicious, and nice for the whole family to join in.....glad you are pleased with it.....

Em said...

Isn't it addictive? :) I lurve our pasta machine! Still not sure the best way to dry it tho - coathangers on the clothes rack is how we've gone so far, but I'm looking for better ways... Buckwheat worked well for us too :)

Ariad said...

That's a great idea. The shop gluten-free pasta is so expensive too. I've just started experimenting with gluten-free recipies as I have my suspicions that that is what's making my tummy rummbley. I'll give the home made pasta a go. :) thanks. Your's looks great.

naturewitch said...

Hi Kel
Yes, I thought of the "large ribbons" option - could be handy sometimes. I'm also wondering whether it keeps well, having eggs in it and all, or is it a matter of make it and eat it? xx

Hi Cheryl
It sounds complicated, but really is very easy and lots of fun. I'm sure little Poppi would love to turn the handle for you! Maybe something for you to do during winter when it's not so pleasant outdoors? xx

Hi Em
Yes, I was unsure how best to dry it, so I just spread it out on the cutting boards. I made canneloni last night - that was fun and yummy. I'm thinking a lot of leftovers could be hidden in them tha tubes.
Glad the buckwheat worked well - certainly on my list to try. And you are right - it is addictive! xx

naturewitch said...

Hi Ariad

Yes, the rumbly tummy and bloating was what first gave me a clue about a wheat issue, so it's probably worth a try going without wheat for a while.

Many people actually have a problem with wheat, rather than gluten. A simple way to test is how you react to oats, rye and barley - these all contain gluten. If these are OK for you, it's most likely a wheat intolerance, rather than a gluten issue.

However, most wheat free products are actually gluten free and yes, are often quite expensive. Even using the not-so-cheap commercial gluten free flours, though, I estimated our pasta to cost half as much as the gluten free pasta from the supermarket or co-op. I'm anticipating this may get cheaper still (and more nutritious) if I make it from my own mix of flours - including buckwheat and oatmeal.

Anyway, it's going to be fun experimenting! xx

Anonymous said...

NW, just think, you can plant your amaranth now, grind it to gluten or upset tummies and the best whole source of amino acids in a grain!

Your pasta looks delicious!


Kel said...

hi NW. i hang my past on the clothes rack with tea towels in between or else on a bench and keep tossing it so it doesnt stick. i had that thought with egg pasta too, but when i thought a bit more, lol, they sell dried egg pasta in the shops, with preservative likely. but ive never been brave enough to try it out. must google it....

Em said...

Tea towels sounds like a good tip - thks kel.

NW, I've tagged you for a green meme, but don't feel you have to do it ;) xxx

Anonymous said...

I have a pasta machine on my list of must buy in the future.
Looking at your pasta just bumped it up a few spaces.
A few questions
Will you be drying it? or eating it fresh? Also how time consuming is it to make pasta from scratch?

naturewitch said...

Hi Molly
Yep, amaranth is definitely on the list of must plants. And I already have a grain mill, which I've had for about 25years. I have great memories of my Dad grinding wheat and corn by hand and making our own bread. Will get back to that one day myself. xx

Hi Kel
Thanks for the drying tips. Yes, I've had the same thought about the egg pasta in the shops, but not sure how well our home-made pasta would go without preservatives, etc. Will also attempt a google sometime. xx

Hey Em
Thanks for the green meme - will drop by to pick it up. xx

Hi Emily
We ate the pasta fresh and left it less than an hour before cooking it. All up, with the meatball production and everything, we took about 1.75 hours and that was preparing the machine and reading instructions, etc, etc. The next day I made some canelloni and that only took me about 1/2 to 3/4 hour to do. I think you could get quite quick at it if you made pasta often enough. Hope you get a pasta maker soon. xx

One at a Time said...

fresh and self-made pasta tastes so much better!

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