In pasta paradise

Everyone loves a good Italian meal. And even a total kitchen amateur knows that no Italian meal is complete without a pasta. Rochelle Pinto tells more.

| Updated on: Feb 24 2009, 16:38 IST

Everyone loves a good Italian meal. And even a total kitchen amateur knows that no Italian meal is complete without a pasta.

Made from a mixture of many grains and the popular equivalent to the roti, pasta is considered a sacred tradition by the Italians. And if you really want to understand the intricacies of the meal, try making your own pasta from scratch.

There are hand-operated pasta machines that knead and mix the dough with just the cranking of a lever. The sister of the chapatti dough maker, this is often found to be more cumbersome than actually using your fingers to knead the dough.

The hand-operated machine doesn't allow you to continually test the texture and the lumpiness of the dough, making it a bit unsettling for the amateur cook.

On a roll
The old pasta maker was called the chitarra derived from the Italian word for guitar, due to its appearance. Made from a frame which is strung with fine wires, this is the simplest tool used in the making of the fine pasta strips that are also the easiest to cook.

The rolled out sheet of dough is placed on the stringed surface and then gently pressed into the wires using a rolling pin. The sheet is cut into even slices by the strings and falls into the plate below.. ready for the cooking pot.

The Chitarra is so simple to make, you can probably construct one at home. However, it requires hand- kneaded pasta, so if you're not into hard physical labour, then this is not the one for you.

Depending on whether you are trying to produce spaghetti, ravioli or cannelloni pasta, the pasta makers have differing widths and lengths of blades. The basic structure comes along with attachments that produce the variations in width from the super fine capelli d'angelo to the fat lasagne strips.

Routine check
Upkeep is important and routine lubrication is required to make sure that the blades and the levers don't go rusty.

Wipe off carefully after use and use a brush to make sure that the dough leaves no remnants. Also, when dismantling the parts of the pasta maker, be careful of the blades. Once you've got your pasta maker, wow your guests with lasagna that would have made Garfield proud.

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First Published Date: 24 Feb, 16:35 IST
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