Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Another Gadget Post -- A Pasta Cutter

I have this fun looking gadget in my kitchen that looks like this:

Note the orientation
How strange!  I thought about it and its parts to get a clue on what it does and decided it cuts pasta dough into strips.  My daughter searched the internet and confirmed my suspicions:  you can find it for sale listed as a vintage rotary pasta cutter or vintage noodle cutter.

The wheel width is not adjustable like some brands but if you aren't demanding a variety of noodle widths, you might be happy with this.  I wasn't quite sure how to use it but we decided to give it a try.  Of course that means we needed pasta dough!

I turned to my faithful The Great Food Processor Cookbook by Yvonne Young Tarr.

ISBN 0-394-73284-7
On page 365 you will find a simple recipe labeled

Pasta Dough

Yields enough to serve 4 to 6

3 cups flour
1 1/3 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup water

And water.
Combine flour and salt and sift together into container; turn machine quickly on and off twice.

Turn on machine and add eggs, 1 at a time, until both are well incorporated, then start the machine again and add enough water in a thin, steady stream to make a soft, well-formed, but not sticky dough.  Cover dough and set aside for 30 minutes.

Knead dough according to directions for your machine until it is smooth and elastic, then turn out onto a lightly floured pastry board.

Divide dough into 4 equal-size pieces; roll out, one piece at a time, into very thin, even sheets of pasta.  Sprinkle each sheet lightly with flour and cut into desired pasta shape.

No pastry board but a floured counter top worked great.
My Notes

I used my mixer with a dough hook to do most of the kneading and found I had to add a little more water to make the dough soft instead of stiff and hard.  Once I got the right amount, the kneading looked "right" in that the dough was being manipulated by the hook instead of just bouncing around the bowl.

To use the pasta cutter, I tried holding it and dragging it across the dough in a variety of ways.
This is wrong!  : )
This picture shows me using the cutter upside down.  Not intentionally but I realized that the metal "V" acted as a shield to keep the cut noodles from staying between the wheels as it rolled.

There were several other issues I had to deal with.  One was that the wheels didn't really roll well; this was fixed by a bit of cooking oil dribbled down the shaft and the wheels rotated by hand until they turned smoothly.  The other is that the shield kept rubbing against the wheels; that was just a matter of wiggling it back and forth until it fit over the wheels and snapped into place without touching the wheels at all.

To get it to work well, I had to push it hard against the dough and it still didn't always cut the dough through.  I suspect the wheels need some sharpening, which I didn't do, but I found the noodles separated easily with a gentle pull from my fingers.

After the noodles were cut, I hung them on a wire rack to air dry for at least 30 minutes (as recommended by the cook book instructions for cutting fettuccine).
For the second batch, we put the rack horizontally and let the noodles hang below.
The cook book recommended that we fix the noodles by cooking them "for 5 minutes in a large amount of salted water", which we did.  After they were drained, we dressed them with browned butter and minced Seer Torshi (see this previous post and the next one!).

The Verdict

I liked how it cut noodles into a sensible width and made many at one time.  It worked much better after I oiled the axle and properly aligned the shield over the wheels.  Oh yes, and it worked much better when I held it in the correct position!

The noodles themselves were tasty:  tender not chewy (I cooked them al dente) and with a mild flavor that showed off the sauce well.

Success!  I would use this gadget again, just making sure it is oiled and properly aligned.  The finished noodles are a good width for my needs and I think they would be excellent in a soup as well as with other sauces.

No comments:

Post a Comment