Sheesh, went off on a bit of a tangent there lets so back to the main object in question, the real enemy and prophet of doom, my arch nemesis, the Imperia pasta machine.
So yes every self styled foodie worth their salt should embrace such a gadget in the kitchen and many do but I just can't get a grip on the bloody thing. Past misdemeanors have included over flouring the dough. By the time I got the rollers on the final setting, the pasta was bone dry and stiff as a sheet, more suitable for limo drivers at airports picking up clients. Another time, I managed to cut the dough fine using the tagliatelle attachment but neglected to then dry it sufficiently so when I fished the pasta from out of the boiling water it had formed into a giant knitting wool ball of gloop. I did succeed once, when I used the machine to make sheets for a simple lasagne. Adjectives such light, silky and smooth came singing into my head that day as I ate this creation of wondrous beauty (I don't like to brag but it was really good). However it hasn't been repeated since. Needless to say, user error is very likely to be the cause of all this strife, I'll admit that. I can't really blame a poor, inanimate, clunk of metal for my ineptitude but where exactly am I going wrong?
Seeing as I was stuck in doors yesterday due to the horrific Arctic conditions currently paralysing our country, my house is currently buried under 43ft of white driven snow by the way, I took it upon myself to have another crack at making some pasta and to finally become the master. Also desperate times call for desperate measures, I had to feed my family somehow and besides we had run out of fusili but there was no frigging way that I was going to try and make that. The method of course is simple enough. Take some eggs, take some flour, mix, knead, leave in fridge for half an hour, take back out, divide into small amounts, run through the Imperia, passing the dough through several times on each setting, folding as you go, lightly dusting with flour if it gets a bit sticky, until you get long sheets of silken pasta which you can then use, cut or shape your hearts desire. Of course this a terribly nonchalant way of describing the whole process and hardly adheres to the slow art of making pasta but my point is that it's meant to be easy, yes? Or maybe that is where I'm going wrong, am I being far too flippant about it all?
Still this time, I am pleased to report that it all went hunky dory. Up until a point. I went ahead with Mr Pukka's recipe for basic egg pasta dough mixing 6 eggs with 600gms of Tipo '00', the finest flour that you can get and should aways use by the way. After a good old knead and bish bash bosh with some time chillin' out, the dough went through the machine fine and I managed to make some very presentable looking tagliatelle with minimum ease, time and effort. I even had some dough left over, which I reformed into a ball and plonked into the freezer. To go with the tagliatelle which was left to dry for about 20 minutes or so, I decided to make some tuna meatballs or le migliori polpette di tonno, another recipe by Mr Pukka and a very good one too.
Now of course, here comes the fall. The tuna balls which I have made plenty of times before were fantastico with a lovely mishmash of cinnamon and lemon zest coursing through the fish. The tagliatelle though, I couldn't help think transported the dish to the far east, having veered into udon noodle territory, having taken on a slightly rubbery texture and were too white for my liking. So again I ask, where am I going wrong? Do I need to buy a particular brand of Tipo '00'? Should I be using egg yolks only? Did I overboil them? (They were in for 2 mins ) Or I have I put homemade pasta on too high a pedestal and should just use the ready made stuff? I need some answers and I need them quick because that piece of facking, crap, junk, lump of shit metal will soon be heading for the bin I tell you.
I hate you Imperia
Finest flour you can get?