LORI WEBER MENKE: Supermom makes homemade pasta
It was a very Merry Christmas at this Supermom's house. But now, the Christmas tree has been taken down. The decorations put away. The mess of the holidays has come and gone once again, and this Supermom is glad to have her house back in order.
The holiday season brought a few new items to our household. We've added some toys requested by our children, a Vikings and a 49ers blanket requested by the football fans in the household and many other miscellaneous gifts. I can honestly say nobody needed any of the items that were received, but everyone was happy to get them.
This Supermom was also a happy recipient of gifts she did not need. But the item that has been the biggest hit in our house was given to me by my dad and mom. It was an item that my children alerted them that I wanted. And just to clarify -- I mean my children and me.
This item was added to the wish list last summer. We'd been to a restaurant in Minneapolis, and they served homemade pasta. It was a hit with my carbohydrate-loving family. The boys and I decided then and there we needed to learn how to make homemade pasta. And as all good ideas go -- it never happened.
Until this Christmas.
This Christmas, my gift was a pasta press attachment that can be used with my stand mixer. I was very excited. My children were very excited. My husband, Jayson, thought it was a cool idea but was sure this was the next bread maker. You know the bread maker everyone was buying years ago and now sits on a shelf somewhere unused and forgotten. In my defense, I did use that bread maker all of two times.
So, after the excitement of gifts was over, of course, it was time to try the new gadgets. We read the directions, found a pasta recipe and were ready to roll. Now on Christmas day when the local supermarket is closed and you're trying a recipe that you're not prepared for, sometimes you need to improvise. We didn't have enough white flour, so we used cracked wheat flour. Luckily, we had enough eggs. And the other two ingredients were simple -- water and salt.
That is it people. Flour, eggs, water, salt. Who knew?
So, we whipped all this together and then came the tough part: kneading the dough. Kuddos to all those ladies out there who, for years, have kneaded bread dough because this is not as easy as it sounds. The pasta dough is not very pliable. Luckily, it only needs to be kneaded for 1 to 2 minutes.
Riley, our oldest son, was very helpful when it came to using the pasta attachments. The first step is rolling the dough. You feed it in, and the attachment just rolls it out for you. It looked simple enough, and luckily, Riley took charge of this. Once you have rolled all the dough out into sheets, you can finally cut it into pasta. We tried the fettuccine cut. Super simple.
In all the commotion of kneading and rolling and cutting, I had forgotten the butter and garlic I was sauteing on the stove, which was now dangerously close to burning. Luckily, Jayson jumped in and took over the shrimp scampi sauce for the pasta.
The pasta cooked in less than five minutes, and it was very good. My youngest, Parker, was a bit skeptical of the wheat pasta, but he ate it and didn't complain.
The second attempt was made a few days later.
We made a trip for groceries and bought all-purpose flour this time. We decided to be really crazy and add garlic salt instead of regular salt. It turned out great. Parker had two helpings this time. Supermom success!
Now with two successful homemade pasta meals under my belt, I only need to make pasta one more time to be vindicated of the whole bread maker comparison. Although I can safely say after all the help and encouragement I got, my little kitchen helpers won't allow the pasta maker to get set on a shelf and forgotten.
I wonder if someday the boys will talk about the Christmas they helped Supermom start making homemade pasta.
Until next time,
Weber is a super-mother of two and multimedia manager for the Grand Forks Herald. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (701) 780-1113.