Food: Playing Around with Pasta

I use my KitchenAid stand mixer regularly – mostly to make bread, but I also use it for baking, crepes, and pasta. While I’ve been quite happily making linguine with the KitchenAid pasta cutters for the last couple of years, I’ve had my eye on the pasta press because of the pasta varieties it can make.

Figuring out the right texture for the dough and speed of the mixer has taken a bit of practice, but here’s what I’ve learned so far.

While I do like mixing the dough with the dough hook in the bowl of the mixer, I have found it has worked better for me to do it right on the counter instead. Especially since I’ve been trying to get used to the proper texture.

My very non-precise recipe is eggs, flour, and a touch of water. I know how annoying this lack of recipe is, as I’ve experience the same thing whenever my mom has tried to measure things out when she’s cooking. The thing is is that no matter what recipe I’ve tried, I’ve always had to make adjustments.

Gather the three ingredients and start kneading them into a dough. Rough textured dough is what you’re going for here – rather than smoothy, stretchy dough like you’d use for pizza.

Once you’ve got the dough right, it’s time to use the attachment. Essentially, you take a chunk of the dough (golf ball size is a good guide), toss it into the attachment (into the hopper, specifically), and watch the shapes form!

Each shape will require a different speed. For rigatoni – like you see in the first photo – set the speed to 6. When the rigatoni is your preferred length (i.e., a couple of inches), use the integrated cutter to swipe across and cut the pasta.

Toss the rigatoni with some flour and put it aside. As with my linguine, I place the pasta on a clean tea towel before I cook it or freeze it.

To change the shape of pasta, all you need to do is trade out the shape plate at the bottom of the attachment.

I tried the bucatini next. I didn’t adjust the dough at all, but I did set the mixer to speed 10. It worked out perfectly! Isn’t the middle hole just magic? I could hardly believe that it was actually working!

The fusilli is still giving me issues even after trying several times to get it right. I just can’t get it. I think the dough needs to be even rougher/more textured/drier for it to go through the hopper and come out as a spiral. Speed is set at between 2 and 4 for the fusilli, but I tried both, and neither produced a true fusilli.

For the final trial of the day, I attached the large macaroni plate. And then I smiled when the curvy shape started coming through. Magic once again! I set the speed to 6 as per the KitchenAid manual, and it worked out well.

There are so many great things about fresh pasta. If you have made too much, it’s easily frozen.

If you’re ready to eat it, then it cooks very quickly! Here’s my bucatini paired with my mom’s sauce. Trust me, it’s a great combo!

If you have any tips about using the pasta press, please share! I’ll continue to do the same!