01 January 2009


Like so many things, making pasta isn't difficult, but familiarity helps. Pasta dough is a stiff dough, hard to work at first, but with firm kneading becomes soft and pliable. If you bake bread you can make pasta. I bake a fair amount, and before I had kids I would happily spend an afternoon rolling pasta dough by hand. I used a thick dowel and could roll it out pretty thin. But, since having kids a decade ago, I've made pasta only twice. I don't know why it took so long, but I received a pasta machine for Christmas, and what a joy it is! I've already used it three times, and my son and seven-year old daughter are almost able to make the pasta themselves.
I make the dough and they can nearly do the rest. Made only with flour and eggs, the dough requires at least ten minutes of vigorous kneading by hand (and that's where my kids need me.) After that, I let it rest before we crank it through the machine. In our very dry winter air I put the dough in a plastic bag so it retains moisture and the flexibility it's gained through kneading.
Then we cut a piece off the dough and start cranking it through the machine, narrowing the space between the steel rollers after every two or three passes. When it's done we lay it on a towel and let it dry a little before putting it through the cutters. When it still has flexibility but has a leather-like feel, we pass it through the cutters and spread it out to dry.
My daughter helped yesterday and by the time we were halfway through she was holding her hands just so, able to guide the dough through the rollers and cutters without bunching or stretching it; she has a light touch! We're looking forward to many, many meals with homemade pasta.


  1. And, that machine will never wear out! I have an old hand-crank pasta machine from the 1980s that I still use. When my girls were little, making pasta was a Christmas Day tradition. They loved cranking the machine and hanging the pasta over broom handles balanced on chairs around the kitchen. Have fun!

  2. Thanks! It's sure getting a workout, and I hope we continue to use it as the seasons change!