The day I fell in love with Pasta again

Today I’m going to tell you about the time I tried to make pasta (no not the dish silly. I meant the pasta itself). There was a period of my life I was super into pasta. What’s not to like about pasta? After a busy day at work, boil the water, throw some salt into it, boil the pasta for about 7 min for al dente pasta, drain and rinse with cold water. For fresh sauce, it was so easy to throw a couple of tomatoes with some black pepper and thyme, with a pinch of salt, add some minced meat and viola! Home-made spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce all under half an hour!

I was so crazy about pasta that when I learnt that you could make your own pasta at home, I didn’t bat an eyelid. This is the video that made me spend an hour making my own pasta. It was when Meatmen first came out and their videos made me hooked on all things home made

Hand made dough involves making a pasta well. Photo from https://cakesnail.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/pasta-well.jpg

Hand made dough involves making a pasta well. Photo from https://cakesnail.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/pasta-well.jpg

The dough didn’t take too much time. It was actually the rolling and cutting of the dough by hand that took forever. Since I didn’t have any pasta machine, I had to roll the dough with a rolling pin and then slice the pasta by hand with a knife. Not sure why anyone would need any pasta making devices? It’s because if you roll the dough of unequal thickness or if you cut the pasta of unequal width (which is all too common if you do if by hand), this will result in unequal cooking time for the pasta. It was definitely not easy to roll the dough to a thin consistency! So what happened to my pasta? Some were overcooked and some were undercooked. Eww. Not fun at all. Thanks to my dearest and most loyal test subjects for wolfing that night’s dinner down. To my utter suprise, I did not take any picture of my pasta attempt (must have been deemed not up to mark) but that experience left me much wiser.

Since then, I’ve been secretly coveting all pasta making devices. I have a kitchenaid machine at home and for years, I wanted very badly their pasta making attachments (but which cost a few hundred dollars for each device; hence it held me back since store bought pasta is much cheaper!) and then my crazy pasta phase stopped. Why? I got hooked onto the gluten free diet (lost a few kg but missed my bread and pasta like crazy and stopped) and I can assure you I tried most gluten-free pasta brands. They just never tasted like pasta. After reading this article, I decided to stop being gluten-free, and to eat healthily, wholesomely, with a good balanced nutrition and to take everything in moderation (though recently there are a lot of gluten-free pasta recipes you can try including this one made of almond flour ).

So what got me back to being crazy about pasta again? The day I met this machine Philips Avance Collection Noodle Maker HR2365/05

What a compact beauty!

What a compact beauty!

Look at my happy face when I was unboxing it. Knowing how crazy I once had been about pasta, the Intraix team decided to write in to Philips to request for a unit of their new noodle maker for us to review (and so me being the the kitchen appliance hoarder, I can purchase a unit if I really like it). We are working on the video, but I can tell you the noodle maker made the freshest spaghetti I have ever tasted.

What’s so special about this machine? There are 4 noodle discs which allows you to make different types of pasta/noodles in less than 10 min: Ban Mian, Penne, Spaghetti, Angel Hair Pasta. Have you ever heard stalls offering funny noodles such as spinach noodles or carrot noodles? The good news is you can now make them at home with extra vitamins.

Making of the pasta

We decided to make carrot spaghetti on our very first attempt. Our first attempt failed. What was our downfall? We didn’t read the instruction manual and poured too much liquid in. Here’s a tip: the dough in the machine isn’t supposed to be as wet and sticky as if you are kneading by hand. The machine compresses and squeezes the flour into noodles efficiently. So if you are worried that the texture is too dry compared to hand-made pasta, don’t be! In fact for every 250 g of flour, you should use exactly 95ml of liquid (including your egg or carrot juice).

If it looks too dry don't be worried. As long as your flour is well mixed and doesn't feel wet to the touch!

If it looks too dry don't be worried. As long as your flour is well mixed and doesn't feel wet to the touch!

We also realised we should have poured the juice in gradually through the juice slot rather than dump it in all at one shot. This helped mix the juice with the flour more evenly. (On a sidenote: I never knew carrot juice in supermarkets consists of orange juice and apple juice!)

Too wet! The texture shouldn't be sticky!

Too wet! The texture shouldn't be sticky!

Freshly made pasta only requires about 3-4 min of cooking in rolling, boiling water (if you want it al dente). We had prawn aglio olio that day by our in-house resident Master Chef Sai!! Check out our facebook for more pictures!

Masterchef Sai's Prawn Aglio Olio!! It was so yummy!

Masterchef Sai's Prawn Aglio Olio!! It was so yummy!

My thoughts on the machine? It was fast, easy to use (please read the manual on how to assemble the selected noodle disc) and generated chewy, tasty and fresh noodles.

Cleaning of the machine

In our first failed attempt, as we had used too much liquid, cleanup was a mess. Instead of nice bouncy noodles, we had mushy noodles. On our second attempt, cleanup was a breeze with the cleaning discs. It helped to pop out any remaining dough from the discs. Dry flour definitely makes for easier cleanup than wet, sticky dough.

My final thoughts on the machine

Will I get it? If you have enough kitchen space and love eating fresh pasta, get it! The only thing that is holding me back besides the price (Recommended retail price: SGD339) is the fact that it is a single purpose machine that will take up precious kitchen counter retail estate. The machine is a very compact one with its own storage space for its discs. It’s definitely much more convenient than having to mix the dough in the kitchen aid, then manually feeding the dough into the pasta attachment. It also beats having to knead the dough by hand to the right stickiness and texture, and then having to roll it and cut it. Productivity increase of hundredfold!

Beautiful fresh noodles! Like a piece of art!

Beautiful fresh noodles! Like a piece of art!

I am trying to refrain from eating processed food these days, and the taste of fresh pasta makes me look forward to dinner! Too good to be true? Well we have the machine till next week… why not drop by Intraix to taste test? :)

The test unit was generously provided by Philips for a period of review. If we have convinced you to find out more about this noodle maker, click here!

 

Lydia Lok

Lydia is a former civil servant who worked on policies regarding social issues and Singapore small medium enterprises. After serving the nation for six years, she left to join the start-up scene with Intraix to be an energy super hero! With a major in Political Science from NUS (minor in English), and a specialisation in Singapore’s public administration/ policy, Lydia has a passion for all things pertaining to start-ups and social enterprises!