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dmun 08-14-2009 04:09 PM

Pasta machine
All right, all you Italian food mavens. Today I bought an Atlas Italian pasta machine at a flea market,

and of course I came home and mixed up some pasta dough:

1 1/3 C. AP flour
2 Eggs
1 Tbsp water

mixed, kneeded, rested, flatened, and put it through the rollers on the widest setting, producing the most disgusting torn hole ridden mess imaginable.

I then went to you-tube, what else, and saw the process with my own eyes:

Well, finally, after the application of much bench flour, i finally got the dough sheeted out into something resembling a flat sheet of pasta, and then i tried to put it through the wide noodle cutter. What a mess. It made an accordioned gloppy mass. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Is my cutter dull? Should I not be using AP flour? Any pasta machine experience appreciated.

egalecki 08-14-2009 06:59 PM

Re: Pasta machine
I have the exact same Atlas machine, I think... it's an oldie but a goodie!

My recipe is 3 c AP flour, 4 large eggs, 1 T salt and 1 T oil. I make it in the food processor, adding the beaten eggs, salt and oil to the flour and pulsing until combined. It will not form a ball, but you will be able to press it together. Dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it's smooth, and let it rest, wrapped in plastic for at least 30 minutes.

It's really important to keep running the dough through the rollers a little at a time- too much at once is unmanageable by oneself. I will run it through on the thickest setting a couple of times, actually, until I have it shaped the way it needs to be. Then I run it through the next size- sometimes it needs more than one pass there too, but by the next one it shouldn't. Use enough flour to prevent sticking, but I think too much gets the dough tough.

I made dough using WW pastry flour once and made butternut squash ravioli in brown butter with crispy sage.. it was wonderful. I guess I need to pull old Atlas down and get cracking! I do covet the Kitchenaid pasta roller, though. I don't know if it works any better, but it has to be faster!

EADavis 08-14-2009 07:44 PM

Re: Pasta machine
I have also got one of these years ago. In fact, there used to be a motorized attachment available (I got one about 10 years ago from a kitchen shop that was going out of business) - some people may feel that it is cheating, but I found that it allows me to concentrate on the dough.

First, I found that the dough needs to be somewhat on the dry side initially (at least as compared to pizza dough). Next, work it thru the machine starting on the widest setting, fold it in thirds, pass it thru again, fold again, etc. several times. Then go down one number, and repeat several times. Continue down one number at a time till you get the thickness desired. You do need to work the dough slowly to the proper thickness, or else it will not hold up.

When I got the machine, there were no English instructions with it (just Italian), and the Internet was in it's "pre-Google stage of life" (shows you how many years ago that was!). So I never learned how to do it "right", but learned what worked for me.

EADavis 08-14-2009 08:12 PM

Re: Pasta machine
One more comment - Alton Brown did a Good Eats episode on using a pasta machine that seemed to have some good tips.

Chef 08-14-2009 11:43 PM

Re: Pasta machine
I have this pasta maker as well; drying the dough as you roll it out is key. I use cornmeal or seimolina to sprinkle on the dough after each pass of the machine. I then place the dough strips on a wooden drying rack (the kind you would use to hang your cloths on) By the time you get to the last one the first one should be ready to go on a dry day. If it is a damp day you might want to give it more time.

When cutting the pasta we would put it in a cardboard box lined with was paper once again adding the cornmeal or seimolina. We would sometimes freeze the pasta right in the box or cookit right away.

Good luck

jmhepworth 08-15-2009 01:26 AM

Re: Pasta machine
It takes lots of kneading at the thickest setting before trying to thin it out. You can feel a difference in the dough when it is ready to change the settings. We recently bought the Kitchen Aid attachment to roll the dough. It's a lot faster (not to mention easier) than hand cranking.

dmun 08-15-2009 05:05 AM

Re: Pasta machine
Thanks for all the tips. I'll try this again when it isn't 90 degrees in the kitchen!

gvzepp 09-27-2009 10:27 PM

Re: Pasta machine
Hi dmun,

I thought I would throw my 2 cents worth in because I make quite alot of pasta at home, though you've had some good tips already & most likely have it mastered by now ( but if you dont ).
Use room temp eggs only..and I use a simple recipe that works very well for me, 1 med - large egg per 100gms of plain flour, my batch is normally 4 eggs & 400gms of flour, mix in a bowl and turn out and knead on a floured bench just roughly mixed, then roll up into a log and cut into fist size pieces.

Then through the rollers 4-5 times on largest setting folding in half each time continuing on until all pieces are through the largest setting & lay each piece on the floured bench..and as stated in other posts continue through the smaller settings once until the desired thickness is reached. By this time it normally cuts pretty easy.

Good luck Brett...

texassourdough 09-28-2009 04:12 AM

Re: Pasta machine
One additional admonition dmun. Keep the dough stiff! It should not be particularly soft. And if it is at all stickly, use flour! Especially before the cutting!

And never wash the machine. It will rust easily. Clean it with a dry brush or by picking out the chunks of dough IF you have a disater with sticky stuff.

Good Luck!

GianniFocaccia 09-28-2009 11:37 PM

Re: Pasta machine

I've been making pasta on my Atlas for over twenty years and I still remember the first time I tried it only to come away with a dry, crumbling, frustrating mess. After a time, I learned that the smoothest pasta comes from flour, eggs, oil and salt (no water!). The proportions you use will vary depending on the flour, size of eggs and environmental conditions (heat, humidity). The real secret is once the dough is kneaded (you don't have to go overboard with this, just make it fairly homogeneous with no giant lumps) simply wrap it in plastic and place it in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes and go work on your sauce. When you retrieve it, the dough will be velvety-smooth and pliable as a wet noodle. You will find it clammy and accepting of however much flour you want to incorporate into it when cranking through the machine. By varying the amount of flour you 'press' into the dough you will be able to control the thickness and density or 'bite' of the finished pasta. I find the more rotations (and flour) you put the pasta through the higher the quality of the finished product. I always let my pasta hang dry for at least thirty minutes to rest. Fresh pasta cooks through in roughly three minutes, rises to the surface when cooked, and continues to cook after you've strained it out. Experience will teach you how to get the perfect 'al dente' pasta.

Last two items: cooked spinach incorporated into the egg pasta (use more flour to compensate for the added moisture) results in a seductively velvety and attractive sheet and when rolling your pasta through the middle thicknesses of your machine, pinch the ends of your sheet together to make a complete loop (like a belt sander) and use your free hand to keep it aligned while you continue to crank. Saves from having to reload the machine each time.

Bon Apetit,


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