The first thing you have to do is figure out how to put the pasta maker together. Fortunately, there's only four major pieces, so it's a pretty easy puzzle.
4 pieces: the pasta roller, roller handle, table clamp and cutter.
I remember how to do it mostly because when assembled properly, I think it resembles a baby dinosaur. Or maybe a baby T-rex with no tail.
Anyway, after you get the pasta maker put together, it's time to make the dough. The recipe we have is really easy. Three eggs, a cup and a half of flour. Not bad.
You have to make a mountain with the flour, and then crack the eggs inside. It makes a neat little volcano, but be careful not to break the wall while you stir up the eggs. Otherwise, you have a very runny mess all over the cutting board.
Apparently, slowly incorporating the egg with the flour is key. Otherwise, it takes a long time for your pasta to become smooth if you do not do this step.It does take some time, however, to make the egg less runny (like 20 minutes).
Once the egg is mixed in enough, you can finally pile all the flour in the middle and knead it into the perfect pasta dough. This requires folding the dough on itself several times. Makes for a good workout too!
You'll know the dough is done when it is nice and smooth. (I suppose you can see who was doing most of the work in making the pasta!)
Then, in the pasta roller it goes. You have to fold it several times while it's still soft. When the dough is pliable and not too dry, you can roll it through the pasta machine, each time changing the setting one notch tighter. The dough gets thinner and longer.
Two sets of hands is very useful. One person feeds in the dough and turns the crank, and the other catches the long strip as it comes out.
Once the dough as thin as you like it, it's time to cut! The other side of the pasta roller has a roller with a cutting edge that you just run the strip through.
Of course, this is also the most difficult part of the pasta making process. Or, it was for us at least. If you feed the dough in the cutter incorrectly, the pasta folds on itself and gets munched up. Then you don't have thin flat ribbons, but you have doughy munched up ribbons.
Exhibit A: Ghetto Pasta ...................Exhibit B: Fab Pasta
At the end of all of this, it doesn't really matter if the pasta is pretty or not because it all goes into the same salted water to boil for 10 minutes. (I throw in the ghetto pasta first since it can be a little thicker in places.)
Throw in some sauce (homemade is the best), a glass of wine and you've got a great meal. Sure, it took us several hours to get to the finished state, but it was well worth it.
Yum! Let's eat!