Learning how to make fresh pasta in incredibly easy, especially when you’ve got a sexy little beast like the Atlas 150 pasta machine taking up residence on your counter. I’ve always wanted a pasta machine, but for some reason I’d never gone out and bought one (which is a weird thing for me, given my propensity for culinary shopping!). So when the Atlas 150 showed up at my door from the folks at BigKitchen, to say I was excited would be an understatement.
I’ve made homemade pasta before, but I’ve always sliced the noodles by hand or cut them with a chitarra, a wire-based pasta cutter that looks similar to the belly of a guitar (chitarra is actually Italian for ‘guitar’). While I love the mouthfeel of imperfectly rolled, somewhat grainy-textured noodles – which is what you get when you roll pasta by hand – I’ve always been enthralled by the idea of creating an expanse of perfectly smooth pasta sheets. In order to get the smoothness I’ve been craving, I was going to have to use a pasta machine.
Why the Atlas 150 Pasta Machine?
Because it’s solid as a rock, that’s why. After using it, I can say with all certainty that this little pasta maker is a tank, especially for those just learning how to make fresh pasta. It feels good to use, like it’s been built for the long haul – and as someone who uses my cookware to within an inch of its life, durability is really important to me. The noodles the Atlas produced were perfectly formed and had a luxuriously silky quality, which didn’t go away after they were cooked. I had a lot of fun using this little device, and I think I’m going to use it for other things, too, like rolling fondant for cake decorating. How handy!
But let’s not put the roller before the dough, shall we? How about a recipe and some pictures?
How to Make Fresh Pasta – The Recipe
Many years ago I picked up a copy of Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, and while I’ve sat down and read through St. Alice’s lovely prose, I’d yet to actually make anything from the book. It’s a shame, really, because I’ve heard many good things about her dishes; I just hadn’t found the perfect opportunity to put it to use. Hey, no judging! You know how it is when you’ve got your own cooking repertoire. Sometimes it’s hard to deviate.
Alice’s pasta recipe came off without a hitch and produced nice, thick, strong noodles that didn’t stick terribly, like pasta dough is known to do. While her recipe calls for mixing the dough by hand, I used my KitchenAid mixer. I also use half all-purpose flour and half semolina flour, which I’ve found gives the noodles a nice texture that sauce love to cling to. And what good is a noodle if it can’t hang onto sauce?
Pasta Dough Recipe
Adapted from Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup semolina or durum flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 egg yolks, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon water
1. Add flours to the bowl of a mixer, hook on the paddle attachment, and turn your mixer to low speed. Slowly pour in the eggs and beat until crumbly, adding a little water if you need to (wetter pasta dough is easier to work with than dry dough). If you don’t have a mixer, you can mix the dough in a large bowl, using a fork to start combining the flour and eggs. Finish the dough by mixing with your hands once the mixture is too clumpy for the fork.
5. To cut the noodles, run your pasta sheet through whichever cutting attachment you prefer, similar to when you flattened out the sheets. You have two different noodle cutting options with the Atlas 150 pasta machine, or you can cut the flat sheets of pasta into thin strips by hand. Once the noodles are cut, hang them to dry over a pasta hanger (we just used the back of a chair – see below). Make sure they aren’t touching one another, lest they stick together. Let them dry for 20 minutes or until you’re ready to cook them. If you like, you can spread the noodles on a piece of parchment and store them in a sealed bag until you’re ready to use them.