I apparently went insane last weekend, as I decided for my first attempt at making handmade pasta I would do it for a dinner party. 8 plus pounds of flour later I realized I was an idiot.
For those who are unaware, pasta is flour, and water, and egg. And when making 8 pounds of pasta you need 8 cups of flour, 8 eggs, and a whole bunch of water.
It all started innocently. I decided for ease I would make the pasta dough in two batches. I made my well of flour on the counter, cracked the eggs in the middle and started combining. And then quickly yelled obscenities as the egg leaked all over the damn counter. So that was a bit of a hot mess. For the second batch I built my wall of flour in a big bowl, SO MUCH SMARTER.
After that minor catastrophe came the rolling out of 8 pounds of pasta dough, which took approximately 4 hours. At this point the hubs was upgraded from team photographer to slave labor, as we worked through the 8 pounds of dough, first rolling to fit it into the pasta maker and then to work it through each of the three layers needed to make it the right thickness and then actually cutting it.
A few tips we picked up along the way. Most importantly, flour is your friend. Flour your pasta within an inch of its life and it will fly through you pasta machine like vodka down an ice luge. Also, clear off ALL the space in your kitchen to have places to lay the dough out between trips through the pasta maker, otherwise it will stick together, despite all the flour, it will still stick. After cutting the pasta noodles DO NOT lay them in a pile on the counter, rather hang it over the backs of all your dining rooms chairs. That way you get individual noodles and not a pile of damn dough.
Another bit of advise, do not anchor the pasta machine on the island above your cat’s water bowl, as he will not find it amusing when you drop random pieces of pasta from the machine into his water bowl.
After the extended drama of making the pasta I coated it in a sauce based on a fresh tomato sauce recipe from Sassy Radish. Once I had processed the tomatoes, I sauteed garlic and crushed red peppers in about 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Once I added the tomatoes I started cooking the tomatoes down, while adding garlic salt and more crushed red pepper to taste. I had always thought that turning fresh tomatoes into sauce had to be harder. As long as you are armed with a food mill it is super easy, and the results are crazy tasty.
Moral of the story, hand making pasta=not so much worth the time, homemade tomatoes for sauce=easy and crazy tasty!