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

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by enrico747, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. enrico747

    enrico747

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    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.    

    ???
     
  2. siduri

    siduri

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2011
  3. pcieluck

    pcieluck

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  4. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  5. chrisbelgium

    chrisbelgium

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    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.
     
     
  6. siduri

    siduri

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    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. 
     
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  7. french fries

    french fries

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    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. 
    Exactly. 
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  8. panini

    panini

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    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.
     
  9. pohaku

    pohaku

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

    eastshores

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    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.
     
  11. siduri

    siduri

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    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.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    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.
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    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.
     
  14. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    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.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  15. gobblygook

    gobblygook

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    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.