Pass The Pasta Please - Heidi's Book of Noms Blog at - 118304

Heidi's Book of Noms

Pass the Pasta Please 
Aug. 12, 2009 11:18 am 
Updated: Aug. 12, 2009 8:56 pm

I waited about 24 hours to play with my new KA pasta roller. During that time I researched how to make pasta, pasta recipes, and (taking the advice of goodeatNZ) cutting and filling cannelloni. It was definitely a think on your feet kitchen adventure. Overall, success! But no pictures :(


Step 1: Cut a hole in the box!


Ahhh, I kid.


Step 1: The Dough

I was a little stressed about actually making the pasta by hand since the only teacher I had was them dangol internets. I used these three resources for insight on this step:

Great tips all around, courtesy of lovely AR staff

Good pictures

The Recipe from Mark Bittman, courtesy of NY Times

Inspiration, courtesy of SmittenKitchen

I just plunged right in. There are no pictures, I'm sad to say, because my hands were covered in floury egg yolky mess and my partner in crime/guinea pig was still at work. There's nothing I hate more than the feeling of gunk food on my fingers. I'm almost compulsive about it - as soon as they get messy I wipe them off. Battering food for frying with no faucet in sight would be a small hell for me.

Why were they so gunky, you ask? That would be because, instead of using a fork like so many recipes called for, I used my pointer finger. I don't know why. This is the point where, if I had a flesh-blood teacher, they would have chuckled and said, "Go clean your hands off and let me show you a better way." Oh well. My flour dam held, with some re-engineering halfway through, for the 10 minutes I was stirring the yolks. They got creamy like they were supposed to, ever so slowly pulling in flour from the well. Then I realized I forgot salt. The salt shaker got a bath that evening.

My pasta dough was like an adolescent, happily taking in all the flour, then in what seemed like a SECOND became a confused mass of flour and eggy bits and nothing at all like dough. I was confused, so instead of thinking about it I turned to auto pilot and kneaded the crud out of it. The compulsion of washing the egg off resulted in a drier dough, so I had to add quite a bit of olive oil to get it the right consistency.

Then, seriously, 20 or 30 minutes of kneading. Kneading pasta dough is much different than bread dough; it's thick and it doesn't like being pushed around. I found it similar to kneading someone's back in a back massage. If I keep this up I will get man arms. Anyways, my advice here is (like in a back massage) keep it slightly oily.

Step 2: The Filling

While my dough ball was resting, looking appropriate and not as sullen as 20 minutes ago, I made two fillings to use up some stuff in le fridge; the first was based on a Giada de Laurentiis ravioli recipe. Okay, is it just me or does her name sound like a product and not a person? Maybe I'm ignorant.


Spinach & Mushroom

1/4 C olive oil

2.5 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped finely

5 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (a cheesecloth is excellent here)

1/4 C mascarpone

1/4 C parmesan

Saute the mushrooms in hot oil until water has evaporated out (they will still be somewhat juicy). Stir in spinach and saute another 2 minutes or so. Remove from heat. If you want a smooth texture, blend in food processor until coarse. My spinach was already finely chopped and I don't have a food processor so I skipped this part entirely. Stir in the cheeses and set aside.


The second filling was just a mish mash that turned out okay. The Exquisite Pizza Sauce, when cold, turns into a jellied mixture. I microwaved it for a bit but didn't add anything else.



1 C Exquisite Pizza Sauce (or any tomato/pasta sauce would work, cooked down)

2 Italian sausages, casings removed

1/4 C onion, finely chopped

Brown the sausage, adding onion towards the end. Saute until onion is soft. Stir in pizza sauce and cook until flavors blend, and sauce is not very juicy.


I learned that fillings for pasta can't be too juicy or the pasta won't stay togeter well. Since the cannelloni we were making was open-ended, this didn't matter as much, but I adhered to the policy anyways. My fillings ready to go, I boldly went to step three, which turned out to be MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than I had anticipated.

Step 3: Rolling and Shaping the Pasta

Here's where it got tricky. Luckily, an extra pair of hands was at home ready and eager to help hold the dough and calm me down! I pinched off 1/3 of my ball, rolled it out, and turned to my new beloved attachment. This part was actually easier than I thought it would be. The dough gets pulled through the roller, getting longer and thinner and longer and thinner and finally as long as two of my arm lengths! I cut that in 6x8 sheets.

I didn't know how to boil cannelloni, so I threw two in the pot - big mistake. They stuck to each other, themselves, and it was almost a mess. Almost. We got a system going where I'd drop it in, he'd monitor it, then when it was done I'd soak it in the ice water, hang it on the side of the bowl to drain, and take the drained piece to the stack of boiled sheets, slightly oiled.

Boiling and handling the pasta was the most stressful part but I think the next time it will go much smoother because we'll know what we're doing. Rolling the dough was just fun and kinda chaotic, but definitely not something I want to do alone.

Step 4: Assembly

Cannelloni is easy. Like Bittman's recipe says, just smear some filling in and roll it up, then lay it in the buttered pan. Since we had two fillings we tried meat only, spinach only, then mixed. The mixed were the best!

Step 5: Bake

We poured some prepared pasta sauce on, which to me seems like a shame. I mean, I went to all that trouble to make my own pasta, fillings...then I had to go and use PREGO. Not that I'm knocking PREGO. It is good for a lot of quick fixes in the pasta dept...late night spags, rice cracker pizza, pizza sandwich in le sandwich maker, fried mozzarella dip.

But I digress. Topped with shredded mozzarella and baked for 30 min at 350F.


Simple! Well...not entirely. From start to finish it took 3 hours. The accomplice was a bit cranky because he was hungry and it was 9pm, but that all melted away with a glass of wine and a few delicate, savory cannelloni.

I used about 2/5 of my total dough ball and got 7 cannelloni sheets out of it. You could easily make ravioli too, although that just looks a little more complicated than I'm ready to tackle.

Oh! I do have a picture of the mozzarella balls! Instead of forcing the mozzarella in the cannelloni, I tried something new: fried mozzarella balls. The gunk on my fingers factor was high last night. That recipe was ok. You have to watch the balls closely because a few seconds means cheese leaks.

And what did I do with the leftover noodle dough? I refrigerated it until this afternoon, when I made some pea and roasted pepper pasta. The peas...they were okay. That pepper dressing? AMAZING. It makes a $1.79 red bell pepper worth every single red cent! (haha, get it?). The only hitch with this lunch was that, for some reason, the noodles weren't as tender as the cannelloni was last night...but edible for sure.

Both the roller and fettucine cutter are so easy to use. I'm going to attempt the wheat crackers next, with fresh whole wheat and a pasta roller in tow!

Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette - Aftermath
Photo Detail
Egg Noodle Dough
Photo Detail
Roasting Red Peppers
Photo Detail
Red Pepper Embryos?
Photo Detail
Fried Mozzarella Balls
Photo Detail
Aug. 12, 2009 2:17 pm
If you have a KitchenAid mixer (which I'm assuming you do, since you used a KA attachment to roll the pasta), I find that using the mixer with the dough hook attachment makes making the pasta a BREEZE. I just put the flour/salt in the bowl of the mixer, and add the eggs/olive oil with the mixer running, and then let the dough hook do all the kneading, and it comes out fabulous everytime! And no messy fingers (I HATE that too).
Aug. 12, 2009 5:05 pm
I read that on the roller/cutter instruction book but I didn't do it this time...I kinda wanted to try it by hand. Also, with bread I noticed that it comes out better and is easier to do by hand. But I may try it with the mixer...that dough is HARD to knead!
Aug. 12, 2009 8:56 pm
Wow! I was so pleased to see that you took my suggestion on making the canneloni, and that it was such a great success. And, I'm not talking about an 'it tasted good' success, but a personal triumph for you in the kitchen! You obviously got a heap of satisfaction from it because it shines through in your writing. Congratulations and may you have many more triumphs with your new tool. Please keep sharing.
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About Me
I enjoy trying new recipes and unusual ingredients. There are few foods I will turn down without a second thought - sweets is one of them, and fiery hot spicy food is the other. As I'm getting older that is changing, though. I love reading cook books and doing research about food. It fascinates to no end! I usually create a recipe from several different ones. On the non-cooking side of things, I'm a Christian, native Texan and faithful Longhorn with two cats and a great boyfriend! I love the outdoors and spending time with my family and friends. I'm also somewhat obsessed with the nuclear winter and extreme survival situations.
My favorite things to cook
In general I try to cook from scratch. Any kind of bread - rolls, loaves, boules, baguettes, buns, biscuits, quick breads - will catch my eye. Pastas, soups, and cookies. I am absolutely in love with cake batter. Once I had a party in middle school where we just made a bunch of cakes and ate the batter.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey/waldorf salad/mashed potatoes with gravy by my mom, buttermilk biscuits on Sunday morning before church from my Dad, grilling hamburgers in the summer in the backyard, black eyed peas for new years dinner, decorating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve with my sister, coffee any time of the night.
My cooking triumphs
I can rival my dad in his biscuit making ability. I have the perfect dinner roll recipe - my very own. I taught myself how to make jam and jelly. I taught myself how to make bread!
My cooking tragedies
dense as a stone wheat bread, homemade condensed milk tastes weird key lime pie, onions and sugar have no place hanging out together in mashed sweet potato, there's nothing puffy about my lemon meringue, and the bottom of the fish tank poached salmon.
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