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Old 11-11-2011, 02:36 PM   #1
Assistant Cook
Join Date: Nov 2011
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Newbie pasta making questions

After a recent trip to Italy, I decided to try to make my own pasta. So, I got a Marcato Atlas 150 after seeing the positive reviews on Amazon, and started pasta making. So far, I have made fettucini, capellini, spaghetti, and ravioli. All have come out reasonably well, but I have some niggling issues that I could use some advice on.

I use this dough recipe for my kitchenaid mixer:

* First of all, what are you supposed to do to separate the pasta? The fettucini was pretty easy to seperate by hand after it came out of the Marcato rollers. But the capellini and spaghetti are too thin to separate manually. The pasta was stuck together, usually 2 or 3 strands were stuck after cooking. It was still edible, but it would have been nice if it was more separated. Should the strands be coming out of the pasta rollers already separated? Is there some special drying technique I need to do? Was my dough maybe too wet? Do you actually need to manually separate each strand? (I hope not!)

* How do you determine the proper thickness of the sheets that you run through the pasta maker? The Marcato has rollers that let you produce sheets of varying thickness, that you then run through the desired pasa roller. The manual says nothing about what sheet thickness setting goes with each type of pasta roller. And can anyone recommend a thickness for ravioli on the Marcato?

* How long do you cook fresh pasta? I've scoured the internet, and have seen everything from "less than 1 minute", all the way to 5 or 6 minutes (for spaghetti). I know I could test it, but is there any prevailing wisdom on this topic?


- Dave

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Old 11-12-2011, 05:04 PM   #2
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Lots of questions. To keep the strands of pasta separate - I dust the rollers and/or sheet of pasta with plenty of flour then brush most of it off. The dryer the pasta, the easier it will separate. You should be able to see the shadow of your hand through the sheet of pasta. The thinner the sheet, the easier to separate. When you cut those sheets of pasta, you are exposing more wet edges, thus they stick if it is rolled too thick. For ravioli you want the sheet thick enough to stand up to the filling and hold it inside. Too thin and the boiling water will break the pasta. I prefer to use part semolina for ravioli sheets. It makes it a bit stronger and able to stand up to being handled. When raviolis float to the top they are cooked. There is no one thickness for all macaroni products. It is a process of trial and error or learning at your Nonna's knee. Making your own macaroni products is like making bread. It is all in the feel between your fingers. Cooking times vary depending on the thickness of your product. I know this hasn't been much help. Good luck with your endeavor.
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Old 11-12-2011, 05:32 PM   #3
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Thanks Addie!

I do put plenty of flour on the sheets and the rollers, but still have the issue with strands sticking. I also tried very thin sheets, but still had sticking. It woudn't seem to me like it would matter if the sheets were a little thick - the pasta cutting rollers will squeeze them as thin as they need to be. But they can be too thin - that's why I would have thought they would tell you what thickness settings to produce the sheets for each of the different roller/cutter types.

So you are saying that if I do it right that the strands won't stick - that you don't have to manually seperate them? That would be nice! I will continue to experiment.

- Dave
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