Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Explore Italy with Kids: How to Make Pasta at Home




As part of our afternoon jaunt to Italy, we made our own fresh pasta! It wasn't nearly as much work as I thought, and we all had a great time. Now we're trying to see if we can do this on a semi regular basis.

Every Italian eats approximately 30kg of pasta each year

I've owned a pasta maker for many years, and since the last time I used it Pea was around 3 years old (she's now 16...) it was high time I dusted it off and put it to use. I don't know if it was because we were doing it with the kids, or likely because we didn't go overboard, but it was so much fun and I can't wait to make more. My sister and I enjoyed ourselves at least as much as the kids. 

There are over 350 different pasta shapes. Take a look at this for a few dozen examples.

Because the dough needed to rest for a couple of hours, I made it ahead of time and we got down to the fun of rolling it. If you're going to make pasta dough with kids, it needs a good 10 minutes of kneading, so I would recommend breaking it in smaller manageable portions, and taking turns.


Here's how you make pasta dough, adapted from Kidspot Kitchen:

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fine semolina flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • good pinch of salt
1. Sift together the flour and salt, then form it into a mound, making a well in the center.

2. Add the two whole eggs and the olive oil into the well. Beat the eggs in gently with a fork by adding a little flour from the sides. 

3. Add the egg yolks and keep adding a little flour in from the sides, taking your time.


The egg spilled over pretty much immediately for me, and though messier than I had hoped, it was fine. I just added flour to the egg until I had a ball of dough.

4. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it starts to feel silkier in your hands. it took a good 10 minutes for me.

5. Wrap and let rest in the fridge for 2-4 hours. After it's done resting, pull out the pasta machine!



As a team, the kids took turns turning the handle and holding the pasta. To use the machine, start on the widest setting. Take a quarter of the dough and pat into a rectangle that will fit in the machine. Roll it through, then fold the dough in 3 and run it through again. Do this once more on largest setting (roll, fold, roll, fold, roll). Then set the machine to the second largest setting, and repeat the same steps (roll, fold, roll, fold, roll). Do this at least one more time with the third largest setting and if keen again with the 4th largest setting (which we did end up doing).

Then you can put it through the setting that shapes the pasta. We made flat pasta with wavy edges. 


We cooked the pasta immediately in a large pot of salted, boiling water for about 5 minutes. For sauce, I kept it really simple and just sauteed together a can of spiced diced tomatoes, a crushed clove of garlic and some olive oil. We tossed that with our homemade pasta and it was delicious!


If you've ever thought of making pasta, I recommend trying it out. It's fun and rather satisfying - and you'll never take store bought pasta for granted again!

Pasta making was part of an afternoon of exploring Italy - find out what else we did here.


4 comments:

  1. I wonder if one could make the pasta dough in a mixer with a bread dough hook, or do you think it is really better by hand? I have got to try this - the end product looks delish!

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    Replies
    1. It would certainly be worth a try - kneading can be pretty tedious.

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  2. We've attempted to make pasta a couple of times, and none of them have gone well. We tried using the pasta maker we had and it went horridly. Posts like this give me hope I CAN do it, though it rarely seems to work out like I'd wish.

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    Replies
    1. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked out - maybe it came down to the recipe you used? It's hard to be motivated to do something like this again when it goes wrong! (took me 13 years!)

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