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Homemade vs boxed (dry) pasta

Old 03-09-17, 04:28 PM
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Homemade vs boxed (dry) pasta

I got my daughter a nice KitchenAid mixer and I saw that they sell pasta roller attachments. Then I realized that I don't think I've ever had homemade pasta before. I eat pasta by the tons so I'm wondering what the difference is. Does it taste better?
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Old 03-09-17, 04:53 PM
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Does it taste better... sure, if it is well made. Anybody can F up a recipe though.

However, over boxed dried pasta, consider that homemade, much like homemade ice cream, can include flavors not readily found. So homemade pasta can include all sorts of available flavors that dried box pasta may not.

Now, having said all that, we have that attachment, and frankly making pasta is a bit of a chore... so unless you really love homemade pasta, it may not be worth the effort for you.

Now you mentioned "pasta by the tons," so you may be just the right audience.

Now pesto... heck, don't even get me started...
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Old 03-09-17, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I got my daughter a nice KitchenAid mixer and I saw that they sell pasta roller attachments. Then I realized that I don't think I've ever had homemade pasta before. I eat pasta by the tons so I'm wondering what the difference is. Does it taste better?
Fresh pasta making takes the inevitable learning curve to get the basics down for a reliable product but when done properly is sublime, although boxed dried pasta is what we eat >90% of the time.

No big surprise but I use a C&V design, the Atlas manual pasta machine and "The Splendid Table" methods/recipes by Lynne Rosetto Kasper which I highly recommend. The KitchenAid attachment is used by friends and does a commendable job, but the secret is is in the dough and how it is handled.

At least once a year we have a Pasta Party where the invited all participate in making fresh pasta and a variety of sauces from scratch, great fun.
If your daughter has kids making fresh pasta together is a fun way to introduce them to the skills and useful work of feeding themselves with fresh homemade tasty fare and an introduction to Cuisine.

PS: An easy way to sorta-taste/compare "fresh vs. dried" are the fresh-ish packaged pasta products like Barelli readily available in the cold case at your supermarket. Not the same thing as fresh homemade by any means but if you try it the investment is minimal, the effort non existent.
If you go "So What" or "That's Really Good" you are on your way to ignore/explore as suits your taste.

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Old 03-09-17, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
PS: An easy way to sorta-taste/compare "fresh vs. dried" are the fresh-ish packaged pasta products like Barelli readily available in the cold case at your supermarket. Not the same thing as fresh homemade by any means but if you try it the investment is minimal, the effort non existent.
Oh yeah, I'll have to try that.
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Old 03-09-17, 05:52 PM
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It really depends on the sauce. If you'e going to smother it in a tomato or other overpowering sauce you won't notice much difference. OTOH, if using a lighter auce, like a pesto, aglia olio, or anything where the pasta shines through, yes, you can tell and homemade is worth the effort.

It's also worth the effort for any stuffed pasta recipe, because you can control the fill, and that opens up a world of possibilities.

BTW - if you live near a large enough Italian community, odds are that there'll a store that sells fresh pasta sheets. These are excellent, and give you the freedom to make your own stuffed pastas with less than 1/2 the effort.
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Old 03-09-17, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Oh yeah, I'll have to try that.
Look around... maybe fresh pasta is being made locally near you.

We've found it in a few italian markets here and there. So fresh you buy it by the pound right off the drying rack.

The comments about the dough above are correct... getting the machine to work wasn't the issue, getting the dough right was. Saw something on Create TV the other day about using a food processor to make the dough... may give that a shot.

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Old 03-09-17, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post

The comments about the dough above are correct... getting the machine to work wasn't the issue, getting the dough right was. Saw something on Create TV the other day about using a food processor to make the dough... may give that a shot.
After trying various methods, I find I prefer doing it entirely by hand, or if lazy, starting with a food processor, but finishing by hand. One of the keys to good pasta is not overworking the dough, which can become tough and pasty. Overworking is too easy with a machine, so I prefer maintaining "feel" by working the dough by hand, same as I do for bread and pie crusts.
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Old 03-09-17, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Saw something on Create TV the other day about using a food processor to make the dough... may give that a shot.
Friends use a food processor & the KA attachment to produce a tasty variety of fresh pasta types.
Having the mind and skills of a baker she makes a more consistent product than I do, but I make a bigger mess.

@FBinNY is way correct, over saucing is not the way to taste good pasta and feeling how to work the dough by hand is the fundamental skill.

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Old 03-10-17, 09:20 AM
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I've had fresh pasta in really expensive restaurants in Italy.

I prefer dried, and al dente.

This may be because I also don't care for light sauces, but I don't see what the excitement is about.
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Old 03-10-17, 10:41 AM
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Fresh pasta is great. It's arguable if it's enough greater to justify the work (even with a powered pasta maker). But the activity, if people are into it, will also be a good thing to do.

The kitchen aid for your daughter is a great gift, and the attachments are additional great gifts down the road, but the KA pasta *attachment* is pricier than a standalone countertop one and no better.
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Old 03-10-17, 01:55 PM
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As genec said, anyone can f-up the recipe.

We've got a KitchenAid with the flat pasta attachment. Brilliant tool, but my wife does mix the stuff well...

Last edited by JonnyHK; 03-11-17 at 12:32 PM. Reason: Screw you autocorrect!
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Old 03-10-17, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by late View Post
I've had fresh pasta in really expensive restaurants in Italy.

I prefer dried, and al dente.

This may be because I also don't care for light sauces, but I don't see what the excitement is about.
I get that. May I remind you that a great percentage of the US population doesn't understand why anyone would want to ride a bike.

As the French say, Chacun a son gout".
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Old 03-10-17, 02:43 PM
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I LOVE pasta (lightly buttered with a little fresh Romano cheese) and have tried the home made route and it is a lot of work. There is a difference and if I really enjoyed the process I would go that route, but there are good quality dried pastas available and I'm satisfied with them.
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Old 03-10-17, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It really depends on the sauce. If you'e going to smother it in a tomato or other overpowering sauce you won't notice much difference. OTOH, if using a lighter auce, like a pesto, aglia olio, or anything where the pasta shines through, yes, you can tell and homemade is worth the effort.
So true.


About a 15 min. ride from my office is a place that makes great, fresh pasta pretty much daily. In the spring, summer and fall I sometimes ride down there after work to pick up some. Out of coincidence, the business was originally started by the father of a woman with whom I now work.
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Old 03-10-17, 04:40 PM
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There is Pasta, and there is Pasta.

The Dried pasta you buy in any Supermarket is extruded pasta made from just flour and water and maybe a little salt.

Handmade Pasta has eggs in the recipe along with a tiny bit of oil and salt usually and its rolled rather than extruded. Fresh egg pasta is richer in flavour and as there are raw eggs in the recipe its eaten fresh as well.

I'd much rather have fresh egg pasta and I make it sometimes although I make the dough by hand and then roll it with an inexpensive non-powered pasta roller.

Pasta making takes a little skill. Its not diabolically difficult but I think you need to be taught it and good teachers will teach people to make the dough by hand so that they learn to feel when it's right. A simple hand cranked Pasta roller would be preferable until you know that your really going to get into fresh pasta making.

So, the Kitchen Aid mixer was a nice gift but Fresh Pasta making is a whole other thing.
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Old 03-10-17, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
There is Pasta, and there is Pasta.
....

Pasta making takes a little skill. Its not diabolically difficult but I think you need to be taught it and good teachers will teach people to make the dough by hand so that they learn to feel when it's right. ......
Yes, learning "touch" helps.

So, since this is a bike forum, does anyone think there may be a loose correlation between folks who prefer to work dough by hand, and those who build wheels the same way, ie. not using a tensionmeter?
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Old 03-11-17, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Yes, learning "touch" helps.

So, since this is a bike forum, does anyone think there may be a loose correlation between folks who prefer to work dough by hand, and those who build wheels the same way, ie. not using a tensionmeter?
Since I do have never worked pasta dough in a food processor or used a tensionmeter in wheel building: Sure.

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Old 03-11-17, 10:27 PM
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the fresh stuff is very illegal here for obviues reasons
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Old 03-12-17, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by genec View Post
Now you mentioned "pasta by the tons," so you may be just the right audience.
Eating pasta by the tons.... how long does it take to make an equivalent pound of pasta? I have a KA mixer, but don't have the pasta attachment.
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Old 03-12-17, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by black_box View Post
Eating pasta by the tons.... how long does it take to make an equivalent pound of pasta? I have a KA mixer, but don't have the pasta attachment.
It doesn't really take that long, but can be messy, so the cleanup can be the worst of it.

I earlier mentioned the possible linkage between those who make their own pasta and those who build their own wheels. I wonder if there's a certain personality type that tends to stuff like this.

I sometimes make my own pasta, and build all of my own wheels, and I see similar ironies in the economics.

Here in NY good boxed pasta can be had at under a dollar a pound, and if one shops sales down to close to half that. Good quality fresh pasta is at least triple the cost, as is semolina flour. So not only do I put in the time and effort, I end up with a product costing me roughly 5 times as much for the privilege.

Wheels are the same way, where home builders often pay more for the rims alone, or rim plus spokes than what a decent production wheel may cost.
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