Thursday, June 19, 2008

Handmade whole wheat fettucine


Aw poop. A dud. =( And I was sooo excited about making my own pasta too! I swear I'll do better next time though.

I've been wanting a pasta machine for quite some time now and found a reasonably priced one the other day, so I snatched it up. I love pasta as is, and love fresh pasta even more! But fresh pasta is so darn expensive compared to the dried stuff that I can never justify buying it. Well, you all know what the solution to that is, right? Make your own!

sigh, I've become one of them. Before I really started liking to cook, I liked to watch cooking shows. I'd watch Martha Stewart make her own potato chips or marshmallows from scratch and enjoy the show, but all the while laughing at how ridiculous she was for going through all that trouble for something so readily available and cheap in the grocery store. Sure, I knew hers probably tasted better than the ones in the store, but all that trouble just didn't seem worth it to me. So I went about my business as usual, buying everything from the store and microwaving hot pockets for dinner (I was a college student after all).

Fast forward a few years to a gorgeous kitchen that I love, lots of great kitchen gadgets and some experience under my belt, and now I'm the ridiculous one. Pasta's so cheap and easy, why do I want to go through so much unnecessary work? I guess it's because I've hit that stage in my life where it IS worth it to me. Well, not this time (this one was a dud, remember?), but hopefully next time it will be.

I followed this recipe from allrecipes that got rated with 4.5 stars, so I thought it'd be a good place to start. Either I'm terrible at measuring and following directions (which is true), don't know what the heck I'm doing, or all the people who gave this recipe such a great rating are liars! I'll let you be the judge...

Let's go through all the things that went wrong:
- First of all, after following the directions exactly, there wasn't enough liquid to bring the dough together, no matter how long I mixed, so I kept adding a small amount of water at a time until it finally sorta did. I didn't want to add too much since I was already adding a lot more than the recipe called for, so I stopped as soon as the dough came together, which may have still been too little. I really have no idea what consistency pasta dough should be at, but it seemed kinda dry and stiff to me.

- Then the dough kept creaping up the side of my mixer and wouldn't stay in the darn bowl. I kept stopping the mixer to push the dough back down only to have it creep up over and over again.

- Next, I could hear my mixer's motor straining and a slight burning smell. OH NO! Don't you dare break my mixer, I love that thing like a fat kid loves cake! So I took the dough out and kneaded it by hand. Goodness that was freaking workout. Get that cake-loving fat kid to knead some pasta dough and he won't be fat anymore, that's for sure. I half-assed my way through the kneading since it was so difficult, so that probably played a part in the pasta's eventual failure as well.

- Then, this being the first time I've ever made my own pasta, I didn't know what thickness to stop at. My machine can be set at 1-9. I started at 1 and moved up like I'm supposed to and stopped at 6 because that seemed to be the right thickness I wanted it at. Little did I know that the pasta sucks up a ton of water when it's cooked. I knew dried pasta does, but I didn't know that fresh pasta did too. So my fettucine ended being waaay too thick.

- And lastly, the texture. Doing half whole wheat flour was too much whole wheat. It was grainy and stiff, and I could even feel the crunchy grains of whole wheat in my mouth as I ate - and no, I did not drop any egg shells into the dough if that's what you're thinking. It was not at all the nice chewy al dente I was hoping to achieve. Dried pasta from the store kicks this labor intensive pasta's butt any day!

Oh well, there's always next time, right? Anyway, here's the recipe and a few pictures of me hard at work. Try this recipe at your own risk. And if works out for you, there's really no need to tell me because I'm already feeling pretty crappy about the failure and am blaming it on the recipe and not my own incompetence. =)

Oh, and I served it with leftover bolognese.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and salt in a medium bowl, or on a clean board. Make a hollow in the center, and pour in the olive oil. Break eggs into it one at a time, while mixing quickly with a fork until the dough is wet enough to come together. Knead on a lightly floured surface until the dough is stiff and elastic. Cover, and let stand for 30 minutes to relax.
  2. Roll out dough by hand with a rolling pin, or use a pasta machine to achieve the desired thickness of noodles. Cut into desired width and shapes. Allow the pasta to air dry for at least 15 minutes to avoid having it clump together.

To cook fresh pasta

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly. It will float to the surface when fully cooked. Drain, and use as desired.

6 comments:

Joelen said...

Sorry it didn't work out for you. I have the same pasta roller and love it! I just need to use it more often... perhaps in the fall.

Liz said...

I am sorry it didn't work, but props to you for blogging about it so we can maybe learn from your experience.
I hope that you try again!

That Girl said...

I had issues the first time I made my own pasta - but now I'm a pro! Check out the recipe I use in my blog because I use all whole wheat flour and it's not crunchy at all.

dp said...

I'm pretty much a DIYer but pasta has never been at the top of my list. I tried it once, and like you, got poor results and was never eager to try again. I suppose that's okay because I'm not a huge fresh pasta fan, unless it's ravioli or something stuffed. I don't feel like fresh pasta noodles have that al dente quality I like.

Sounds like you're still eager to try again. Good luck next time!

bethanyjg said...

I'm sorry that your pasta didn't work out. I tried once with horrible results as well. I laughed out loud thinking about a fat kid kneading pasta dough, though ;)

Rachel said...

What a bummer! I hope you try again and have a success. Dont you just hate when you try a recipe that gets a gazillion rave reviews, then its dissappointing...