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The cure for the fresh pasta blues

March 26, 2013|By Russ Parsons
(Russ Parsons/Los Angeles…)

When I was just getting started cooking, fresh pasta was my thing. I mean, really my thing. To an extent I now regard as utterly ridiculous (finally agreeing with what my wife was saying 30 years ago).

I’d make fresh pasta almost every night for dinner and had actually gotten the process down to the point that I could turn out fettuccine from scratch in 30 minutes.

Blitz some flour and a couple eggs in the food processor to make a dough (standard 3/4 cup flour for every egg, per my bible at the time “The Romagnoli’s Table”). Knead it by running it through the pasta machine a couple of times, then roll it out.

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My wife and daughter would hang out in the kitchen, laughing. Because you don’t really know great food humor until you’ve seen an inexperienced cook in a hurry trying to juggle the three-handed job of using a pasta machine (you need one hand to feed the pasta, one hand to catch it and then one more to turn the crank).

For some reason, I rarely make fresh pasta anymore. Go figure.

But this weekend I had a hankering for ravioli, so I started to pull out the old machine. That’s when I remembered that several years ago, when we were clearing out extra equipment in the Test Kitchen, I’d bought a spare KitchenAid pasta attachment.

I can’t even tell you for sure how long ago I bought it, just that I had never gotten around to using it. So it took me a little while to find it, buried behind the two waffle irons, the manual juicer, the electric juicer, the blender and food processor.

But wow. What a great machine. It made making fresh pasta really easy. Like suddenly sprouting that third hand.

Now granted, the whole set-up is expensive, like about $200 for the full set. But if you’re not around a Test Kitchen that is de-accessioning equipment, you can very easily make do with only the pasta roller, which cuts the price in half – or even lower if you shop around online.

And really, any idiot with a sharp knife can cut fettuccine without the help of a machine. Go ahead, ask me how I know.

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