Last weekend, I decided to get braver with the new KitchenAid and give the pasta making attachment a try. This frightened me because of a poor experience with an As Seen on TV product we purchased (at no small cost) and returned almost immediately about 20 years ago. That was a disaster.
But, hey, I got a pasta making attachment, I need to try it. But what? I mean–I make pasta salad, my specialty, and oh! Macaroni and Cheese. That is a dish deserving of homemade pasta right?
I used the recipe that came with the pasta attachment, 4 eggs, 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1 Tbs water, 1/2 tsp salt. I followed the directions as far as adding more water to make the eggs 7/8 of a cup or thereabouts. I left them in the measuring cup. I sifted the flour and added the salt. I attached the mixing bowl and slowly added the eggs/water as instructed. You see–after experience, I learned to read the directions at least once. I beat with the flat beater. I swapped for the dough hook. I then did the hand kneading. NOTHING LOOKED RIGHT. I was pleased “dough may appear crumbly” was in the instructions. I squished it together but it seemed REALLY DRY. How was this going to hold together for “walnut size balls?” Beats me. Otherwise–so far so good.
But then, the most complicated part started. On the top of the pasta press–there is a convenient storage thing for the different pasta plates. The manual in no way explains how to get this off. I tried. Denise tried. Boy tried. Girl tried. No dice. I would have given up at that point and gone with the plate already installed…but you can’t feed the dough in without removing the storage thing. I googled and found out the trick. (attach to mixer for leverage, squeeze the middle of both long sides very hard and pull up–someone holding the mixer down helps)
I swapped out blades. I dubiously started feeding walnut sized pieces in. Where was the pasta? Slowly it started to appear but not completely the macaroni tubes. I fed it back in as instructed. I double checked the pasta speed. Soon there was pasta appearing at regular intervals.
I used the awkward multi-tool pusher to feed in the dough.
Cutting it was fun with the back and forth cutter. (Only go in one direction or you end up with some nice size macaroni and then some spaghetti-Os)
So, soon I had a counter full of this:
MAGIC! Really. I mean: eggs, water, pasta, and an attachment that works like a Play-Doh Fun Factory and I have something that looked sort of like real pasta. Like pasta in Italy. It seemed stable enough.
Now, I have this great pasta. It needed to rest or something for an hour or so. No problem. So did I! Too much magic.
Then it was time to set the water to boil and create the sauce. My usual Rivers of Cheese Macaroni and Cheese didn’t seem like an excellent enough dressing for a debut pasta creation. I definitely wasn’t going to do my 5 minute cheat of rivers of cheese. (saucepot only, no baking)
So here goes, Magic Macaroni.
- 1 stick butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp dry ground mustard
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 15 oz ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 lb freshly grated medium cheddar cheese
- 2 cups milk
- Melt butter and add flour. Slightly brown.
- Add seasonings.
- Add about 1 cup milk SLOWLY. Stir constantly. This is really important or you will end up with lumpy cheese sauce OR you will be dumping your sauce in the Vitamix to pound out the lumps. Believe me. I have done this before.
- Start adding cheeses and add milk as mixture thickens. You want to end up with a very thick but smooth cheese sauce.
- Boil your fresh macaroni for 3 minutes. Strain.
- Spray a 9x 13 pan with nonstick spray and pour macaroni into pan.
- Pour cheese sauce over top--mixing slightly to distribute cheese goodness.
- Sprinkle a bit more cheese on top for good measure (or breadcrumbs if you are a breadcrumb family--I actually really like gingersnaps made into breadcrumbs for topping on macaroni and cheese--so give that a try.
- Bake at 350 until cheese on top is melted and your macaroni is bubbling--about 30 min.