In our Italian restaurant, anything can happen

My weekends have certainly been taken up by challenges just recently and I have got just under 7 weeks to finish. Very busy weekends. Preparation is going very well.

The challenge I completed at the weekend certainly goes into the top 10 of my favourite challenges. Believe it or not, I found it fun, a little challenging and rewarding too. There were 2 challenges here; buy a new baking machine and make something with the baking machine. Also have to document it in my scrapbook.

I had been searching for the right “baking” machine for a while. It didn’t have to be baking like a bread machine or doughnut maker; it could be something like a soup maker which I did think about. Looking at my blender attachment for my food processor, I decided against that. I did also think an attachment for the food processor would be a good idea; I really want the mincer attachment. I could make great chicken burgers. In the end, a book helped me with my decision. I was reading From Rome With Love, when it gave me the idea for a pasta maker (also an idea for this month’s book to read with a different genre too so a worthwhile read!). I investigated the different sorts, a manual machine and an attachment for the food processor. I ruled out the attachment out due to cost and after reading the reviews, went for this little beauty from Marks and Spencers.

Shine pasta machine


I decided to use it when everyone would be home and after looking at the many recipe books we own (I was delighted to read in Mike Gayle’s The To Do List that he has cookbooks to that he hasn’t used), with Chris’s input, I decided to make a carbonara recipe from one of Gary Rhodes book. For the pasta recipe, I used different books to find the the best method and ingredients. All you need for the pasta dough is flour and eggs. The flour needs to be 00 flour (I didn’t have a clue either) and some need semolina flour too. In the end, I opted for Tesco pasta flour and it worked a treat. It even has a recipe on the side.

I was a little surprised to see that I was expected to sift the flour on the worktop and make a well to add the eggs. I decided on a less messy approach; my good old food processor. Such an easy method. Whilst I rested the dough, I assembled the machine. The only fault with it was the clamp did not fit my worktop but that didn’t beat me; I had a new vegetable rack with worktop that fitted the job perfectly.

When the pasta dough was ready, I had to feed it through the flat rollers which according to The Ask Italian book, proves the dough, and the gluten’s in the flour will be kneaded and elastic. It needed to go through this part several times. It was amazing when I looked at the photograph in the book to find that mine looked the same.

Proving the pasta
Like the book said!


Next job was cutting the dough. It did make me so happy watching the machine cut the dough into tagliatelle. I concocted a rack to dry the pasta on for two hours before making the carbonara. The pasta does not take long to cook so dinner was made very quickly. End result was fantastic; my description would be a creamy Italian version of an English cooked breakfast. Delicious.

Cutting the pasta

I loved this challenge and although it won’t be used every week, I am determined to use it regularly. Might even attempt the manual method of making the dough next time.

Two big ticks earned here.

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