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Joke pasta


Photo: Joke pasta

Photo: Joke pasta

Having bought a very smart pasta machine, I made my first pasta last night. It was a dismal flop. Instead of soft delicious ravioli I made nasty miniature chewy hot water bottles. The filling was tasty though.

I tried making it using a 400g well of flour “00” on the worktop. I broke four large eggs into the centre of the well and began to combine the eggs with the flour. Easy peasy until the eggs started to break through the wall of the well and cascade towards the edge. I managed to save some of the egg mixture whilst Inca and The Contessa guzzled the egg splosh that had escaped to their level.

I should really have started again. But being a pasta making newbie assumed that I could guess how many eggs I had lost and just add more. I reckoned that I’d lost about one so added another to the bobbly dough. It looked far too dry so I added another. This made the dough too wet so I added more flour. I skipped most of the kneading bit as I reckoned passing it through the machine several times would do the work for me. So I slapped it around a bit, wrapped it in cling film and popped it in the fridge for half an hour whilst I did the watering.

The flattened ball didn’t look very promising and bucked a bit at being forced through the machine a few times. It was too dry on the outside and too soggy on the inside. So the concertina of rolled pasta remained just that. I was getting rather alarmed at this stage. Was I making puff pasta?

Eventually I managed to make two long strips of pasta that looked more like pastry. I daubed on the filling and cut out the ravioli parcels. Plunged into a large saucepan of salted boiling water, ravioli is supposed to rise to the top when it is cooked. Mine lay at the bottom in a heap. Eventually we hauled them out and attempted to eat them.

So this morning I cruised the internet for advice and suggestions. I found this recipe from Mark Hix, it gave me loads of pointers as to where I’d gone wrong. I’ve decided to dedicate an afternoon to pasta making next time.

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  1. Ooh that takes me back. More than 20 years ago I bought a pasta maker in Italy. It was a bit like a plastic version of a mincer and the spaghetti came out like sausages!! A couple of Christmases ago hubby bought me another one and my 1st attempt was a super linguine and that’s when I realised it was down to lots of ‘kneading’ in the form of refolding and refeeding through the machine. I had it licked. That is until the next time: I made it in advance and left it in a heap and it all stuck together!! Great lumps of stodgy pasta and I was feeding others too!!lol. I checked online and should have hung it up to dry not left it in a heap. Lots of interesting ideas and advice here though I shall be revisiting this page. It’s just such hard work to use the machine – you need muscles like Hercules!

    I’ve just made a batch of your rich tomato sauce with 6kg tomatoes to freeze and see me through the winter. Tomatoes 99p kg in Lidl at the mo and I’m greatful cos blight took all mine. I may be tempted to make some home made pasta to go with it.

  2. Belinda

    Im sure I have read here that you have a kitchenaid or similar – do you have dough hooks? An online friend of mine from who is a very acomplished cook makes the pasta dough in the KA before resting & rolling it. She lets it be bashed around by the hooks for a good 10 minutes instead of bothering with kneading.

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