Monday, 19 February 2018

Faster Pasta

I have a few kitchen gadgets,  and I don't ever buy gadgets on impulse.

As a young adult, I would be swayed by demos at my first couple of Ideal Home Shows.   When I got home, often the gadget just didn't work the way it seemed to when demoed

As I started to move into more expensive, often electrical, gadgets,  I learned to look at the gadget more critically, and really see what the flaws were.  Would it really do somethng better than I could do myself, or an existing gadget could do?  Would the cleaning routine really be worth the effort?

If I'm interested in a gadget,  I look at it critically, research it,  and (usually) I walk away from it. In these internet days, I store my research in folders, just in case I decide to look again.  Often the itch goes away. Sometimes it doesn't.   Sometimes it goes away for ages and then comes back....

A while ago, I heard about an electric pasta maker made by Philips.  It looked.... surprisingly good.   I read about it, but decided against buying one.  We have pasta rollers for our Kitchen Aid, and these work really well.

A few things then happened.

My KitchenAid has recently been supplanted by a different mixer.  I didn't sell the KA, I put it in the loft.     I did, however, decide to sell the pasta attachments. 

While thinking about selling them,  I looked again at the Philips Pasta Maker.    They now had two sorts,  a big one and a small one.  A Facebook group related to one of my machines had a discussion about them, and one chap had both sorts.  I quizzed him a bit.        More people bought one or other of the machines, more raved about it.  

I couldn't justify the expense, but I did set up an Ebay and Gumtree alert.  A machine came up at an inexpensive price. The seller  had gone gluten free, so wasn't making pasta any more.  One part of the machine was cracked,  so I googled to see how much a replacement piece would be.

My googling revealed some interesting things.   A better-loaded model, not available in the UK,  was available from Amazon in Germany at relatively low price.   That same model was more expensive - a lot more expensive - on all the other European Amazon sites that I visited.     I couldn't understand why it would be so 'cheap'.  Even with shipping, it was cheaper than the small version, and this one came with lots of extra dies,  it had integrated scales.....      When I looked at the second hand model I was considering,  added in the cost of the extra dies and the cost of a replacement lid,  there wasn't much in it.

I ordered it.

To make myself feel less bad about what was almost an impulse buy,  I sold my Kitchen Aid pasta rollers and I also sold my lovely food processor.  It was fab processor - I just don't need to use it anymore.  Last time I tried to sell it, I wrote the ad and it made me not want to sell it.  The same thing nearly happened this time,  but I made  myself go through with it.    The money I made almost covered the cost of the pasta machine.

It arrived quickly, and we had pasta that same night.  It was amazing!

Now, it's not at all the same as making pasta by hand.  You don't atually make a dough at all.  You put the flour (or semonlina, or combination) into the machine,  you add the egg and water (or just water),  it mixes it to something like breadcrumbs and then a few minutes later, it extrudes it through a die into your chosen pasta shape.

The resulting pasta looks crumblier than conventional home pressed pasta.  It cooks beautifully and tastes wonderful.  We've had pasta about four times since we bought it.      It takes just a few minutes from putting in the ingredients to having pasta ready to cook.  We can have pasta on the table within 15 minutes of deciding to have pasta for dinner.

We can also make noodles, we just haven't tried that yet.

It is a big machine. The little Philips Viva is much more compact and (by all accounts) works just as well

I'm really pleased we went for the all-singing model.  We put in the dry ingredients, press a button, and it tells us how much liquid to add.  No guessing. 
It's here if you are interested (this is not an affiliate link)

What's your position on gadgets?

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