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What is the big deal about "fresh" home made pasta ??

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

For decades my family has been making pasta, first with knives on cutting boards, then by mechanical crank machine, now by Kitchen Aid attachment.   It is a labor of love and a family event including the children in the process.

 

Also however, available at Costco are the large, inexpensive packages of Garofalo penne.   Although Janeane Garofalo should not be allowed to procreate, the pasta is typical quality store bought pasta that has the advantage of being cooked to your level of al dente.   The taste, with properly salted water, is excellent IMHO. 

 

Being Abruzzese I have toured the De Cecco factory in Fara San Marino in search of an understanding of their manufacturing process and the wonderful product.   They have some advantages. 

 

Someone tell me why, whether I entertain guests or go to a restaurant, there is an expected orgasm when it is communicated that the pasta was make in house.    

 

???

post #2 of 17

Frankly, Enrico, I'm with you.   I prefer al dente regular pasta with its thickness and body to any fettuccine, though i will admit that some nice hefty home made pasta can be good, (not sure of the names - strozzapreti (priest-chokers) - and there is a kind in umbria that i don't remember - cirioline?  But these are very thick string-like pastas and unusually chewy).

 

I firmly believe that Italian nostalgia food is all based on a woman in a hot kitchen doing a mindless task for a very long time - unnecessarily stirring polenta, running individual gnocchi over the tines of a fork, or rolling out pasta.

 

But a telling story is about to be told...

(for sure i've already told it somewhere in this forum but anyway)

Once i was in the country with a group of friends and we went to a nice country trattoria.  When they asked what we wanted for a first course, they, all 9 of them, said "fettuccine!!!" like there was nothing better in the world.  I ordered penne all'arrabbiata. 

When the pasta came some of them said, "well, after all, why don't we each share what we have so we can all taste everything."

(note, "ALL share" "taste EVERYthing" - there was nothing there but fettuccine and my single bowl of penne.  I said nothing doin' - you all went into ecstasies about fettuccine, now eat them!  So when it comes down to it, do people really like what they think they like?  Or do they just like the IDEA of it?

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #3 of 17

One of my favorite restaurants makes their pasta in house. I didn't know that until I had been eating there for about a year. I raved about their sauces because I thought the sauces were what was making them so extraordinary. Turns out the fresh pasta was what was bowling over the competition. I have since moved about 5 hours away and haven't made it back in a while. The Italian restaurants around here don't compare to the good ol' one back home.

"The moral of this story is not everything that's slick is non-stick, and not everything non-stick is slick."
— Alton Brown

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"The moral of this story is not everything that's slick is non-stick, and not everything non-stick is slick."
— Alton Brown

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post #4 of 17


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MultipleCookGuy View Post

I never really understood the labor involved in making fresh pasta when there are equivalents available to the mass public. It could be enjoyable, but when I'm hungry, I'd rather toss in a box of gourmet pasta. 

 

2 questions:

 

1.How long does it take for your pot of water to boil?

2. How long does it take for dehydrated pasta to cook. ~10 minutes?

 

We'll have a race. I will be you a months salary that i can (by hand, no electric equipment involved) make dough for two people, and cut before the water has even started to boil. And then my pasta will need a quick blanch, while you're needs to boil for a few minutes. Hungry? I can get my fresh pasta done by at least 10 minutes sooner than you.

 

As far as flavor goes, my pasta actually does have plenty of egg flavor still evident. No boxed pasta of any quality has provided that for me before. Look at the nutrition facts. Does your boxed pasta have more 4 ingredients? Then that's full of unnecessary preservatives and god knows what else. Meanwhile my hand made pasta is made with only a few ingredients, the oil and eggs of which, are omega-3 enriched. I promise it's more healthy.

 

That said I don't buy ANYTHING I can't make.

post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

 

We'll have a race. I will be you a months salary that i can (by hand, no electric equipment involved) make dough for two people, and cut before the water has even started to boil. And then my pasta will need a quick blanch, while you're needs to boil for a few minutes. Hungry? I can get my fresh pasta done by at least 10 minutes sooner than you.


You are full of hubris friend. :)  Everybody's situation is different.  20 years ago I didn't even have a kitchen countertop big enough for a 10" knife at my apartment.

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrico747 View Post

Someone tell me why, whether I entertain guests or go to a restaurant, there is an expected orgasm when it is communicated that the pasta was make in house.    

 


 

Dry commercial pasta and home- or housemade pasta are 2 completely different things. Both can be good, both can be awfull.

When making ravioli or another filled pasta, obviously I go for homemade.

In most other cases I prefer commercial dried ones. I'm always looking for De Cecco too, but there are many other good brands, just try. One advice; if it mentions on the package something like an unusual short cooking time compared to similar pasta, don't buy it, it's junk. The rest is trial and error.
 

 

 

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post


As far as flavor goes, my pasta actually does have plenty of egg flavor still evident. No boxed pasta of any quality has provided that for me before. Look at the nutrition facts. Does your boxed pasta have more 4 ingredients? Then that's full of unnecessary preservatives and god knows what else. Meanwhile my hand made pasta is made with only a few ingredients, the oil and eggs of which, are omega-3 enriched. I promise it's more healthy.

 

That said I don't buy ANYTHING I can't make.

The pasta i buy in the supermarket is made of durum wheat semolina and water.  Period.  It would not be legal if it had more. 

 

I believe you, pcieluck, that yours has an eggy taste, but I'm not too keen on eggy tasting pasta, that's the point.  I like the nice consistency of dried pasta and its neutral flavor (like a white canvas, that you can  paint on  - though i used to love home made pasta - but my tastes have changed.  I also make practically everything and have made my own pasta too, but i prefer a nice dish of spaghetti or rigatoni.  

 

As for the de checco, yes, it's good, and yes there are plenty of others that are good (i happen to have voiello, which is also good and commercially available at least here).  People tend to prefer (and they cost more) pasta that is rough rather than smooth on the surface.  That's made with a bronze whatever you call it, fitting,  where it's extruded from.  That breaks up the surface so the sauce tends to stick better.   So look for the rough textured surface.  But other pastas that are not rough are very good too.  But only durum wheat semolina and water, that's the real and only essential quality.  If they're made with other flour, they will be mushy, and, well, any other ingredients are just out. 
 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcieluck View Post

That said I don't buy ANYTHING I can't make.

 

I suppose you meant you don't buy anything you CAN make? But AFAIK you can't make extruded pasta with only semolina and water at home, so if that's what you like, you'll have to buy it. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisBelgium View Post

Dry commercial pasta and home- or housemade pasta are 2 completely different things. Both can be good, both can be awfull.

 

Exactly. 

post #9 of 17

When I'm out I prefer fresh. Some of the places pre boil the dry.

When home I use dry. I think you get more sauce absorbtion. When it's cooking it is drawing moisture in and continues after adding sauce.

The fresh seems to have a small window after cooked until it starts to expell moisture.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
Paninicakes.com

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post #10 of 17

Why can't you make extruded pasta with only semolina and water at home?

post #11 of 17

I am no expert at pasta/italian cooking but correct me if I am wrong here. Fresh pasta seems that having not been dried and re-hydrated, it is able to absorb more liquid and more rapidly. Every self acclaimed pasta expert I have ever seen finishes their pasta in their target sauce. I think most consider it a sin to do otherwise. I've made a fair amount of fresh pasta, and I tend to follow in this line of thought. Dried pasta can be tasty but I don't think it can marry with a beautiful sauce the way fresh pasta can.

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

I am no expert at pasta/italian cooking but correct me if I am wrong here. Fresh pasta seems that having not been dried and re-hydrated, it is able to absorb more liquid and more rapidly. Every self acclaimed pasta expert I have ever seen finishes their pasta in their target sauce. I think most consider it a sin to do otherwise. I've made a fair amount of fresh pasta, and I tend to follow in this line of thought. Dried pasta can be tasty but I don't think it can marry with a beautiful sauce the way fresh pasta can.



I'm not sure what difference it would make to pasta  having been dried and boiled or having not been dried but then boiled (nobody cooks fresh pasta in the sauce, unless they're making lasagne, and even then i believe the standard way is to boil it first).  It will absorb the amount of water that it's going to absorb and then the sauce is going to flavor it in any case - or not?  I don't understand why fresh would absorb it differently.  

Anyway, as has been said, they're two different things, with different characteristics.  I'm not crazy about egg pasta.  Not that i dislike it, just that i will prefer the dried pasta almost every time unless i want something creamy and soft, which is where i would tend to take fresh pasta.

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #13 of 17

When I worked in Europe they did something to the pasta that we don't. After cooking and draining they put pasta back in a pot and lightly tossed it over the burner. The purpose was to cook off any wate left in pasta after draining. This worked as when you tipped the bowl of pasta with the sauce over it as they used to do, no water collected in the bowl. Try It.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

When I worked in Europe they did something to the pasta that we don't. After cooking and draining they put pasta back in a pot and lightly tossed it over the burner. The purpose was to cook off any wate left in pasta after draining. This worked as when you tipped the bowl of pasta with the sauce over it as they used to do, no water collected in the bowl. Try It.



I've used that method before after reading it somewhere. I wasn't being vigilant enough and burned some to the bottom of the pot.. but the rest of the pasta was nice and dry.

"The moral of this story is not everything that's slick is non-stick, and not everything non-stick is slick."
— Alton Brown

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"The moral of this story is not everything that's slick is non-stick, and not everything non-stick is slick."
— Alton Brown

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post #15 of 17

Both are good.  I prefer long thin dried pasta though and I only like the Barilla brand.  So what who cares if you can make a few strands of fettucine in a kitchenaid?  The real art of pasta comes with stuffed pasta like ravioli etc and that's best when fresh although I gotta tell ya, Buitoni makes one killer wild mushroom angioloti!

 

I'm with Siduri, as always.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #16 of 17

My husband and I were watching one of my favorite TV chefs, Lidia Bastianich and she made Malloreddus with Sausage and Tomato Sauce. 

I had most of the ingredients on hand, other than Saffron. 

At our market they have something I had never seen before, Safflower. 

So I looked it up and it's what is called "bastard saffron".  

I gave it a shot and this is what I got. 

I think that when you make homemade pasta you get the mouth feel and texture that you prefer. 

My American-Italian husband likes thick, chewy pasta not the skinny strands. 

I tell you, this fit the bill all right!!   

For myself, tomatoes don't agree with me so I usually make my serving of pasta with garlic and EVOO and of course cheese.

 

Malloreddus with EVOO and Garlic and CheeseMalloreddus with Sausage and Tomato Sauce

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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post #17 of 17

I'm no expert, self-acclaimed or otherwise.  If you take a dried pasta, cook it until no longer crunchy, but still overly firm, pull it out of the pasta water and put in into the sauce (at a simmer) after a brief pause for draining, you will get a similar result to fresh pasta being finished with the sauce.  Any water remaining on the outside of the pasta will quickly steam off and the additional moisture still needed by the pasta to get to the correct stage of "done" will be absorbed from the sauce.  In both cases, you're finishing the cooking of the pasta in the sauce and you can get much better results than putting the pasta on a plate and topping it with sauce. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post

I am no expert at pasta/italian cooking but correct me if I am wrong here. Fresh pasta seems that having not been dried and re-hydrated, it is able to absorb more liquid and more rapidly. Every self acclaimed pasta expert I have ever seen finishes their pasta in their target sauce. I think most consider it a sin to do otherwise. I've made a fair amount of fresh pasta, and I tend to follow in this line of thought. Dried pasta can be tasty but I don't think it can marry with a beautiful sauce the way fresh pasta can.



 

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