Monday, April 5, 2010

Time to grind the pasta

My friend Tom wonders if I've gone mad. He won't say this, of course, but I know what he's thinking:

You used a meat grinder?

To make pasta!

Thing is, I'm a reasonable man, and so if anybody has a brighter idea, let's have it.

See, the pasta in question isn't one of your popular varieties. It's called bigoli, an extruded pasta that is long like spaghetti but very, very thick. None of the dies I own will make bigoli. In fact, there is a special extruding device made just for the job. It's called a bigolaro, costs more coin than I'm apt to spend at the moment, and if you're interested in seeing one in action, well, say no more:

Tom: KitchenAid makes a pasta extruder. You know that, right?

I (reaching for a box next to one of my many pasta-making contraptions): You mean this one?

Tom (polishing off the last bottle of that terrific vermouth I picked up in Brooklyn at Christmas): That's the one.

I: No can do, Tomasso. Not thick enough.

Tom (curmudgeon-like behavior now appearing): How about that yellow box with all the Italian writing on it?

I (turning downright churlish, possibly because I know I won't be back to Brooklyn, or Long's, for awhile): What part of, "This meat grinder attachment is the only thing in the house with the remotest possible chance in hell of doing this job" did you not understand, Tommy?

I've gone to the meat grinder attachment (KitchenAid; and I use the smaller of the two dies that come with it) a couple times now. The noodle thickness seems about right, possibly a bit thicker than called for. It's just that the die doesn't produce even a remotely smooth outside, and so the pasta can be a little strange looking. (Yeah, I know, worm-like; good thing I didn't make the squid ink pasta dough.)

But I'm a big fan. Not only is the noodle thick and chewy, which means it'll hold up well in a whole bunch of hearty recipes, but the rough exterior is just perfect for clinging to sauce. The noodle is great in soups too, because it doesn't get mushy. (The dough should be on the stiff side for this noodle; If you don't already, I'd recommend adding a good bit of coarse semolina to whatever flour mix you use for pasta. I'm happy to answer questions, too. And future posts will address flours and pasta making.)

Of course, the dark truth is that a real bigolarist (that's a bigoli maker, or so I'm told) might not even recognize my version of the product, or worse, could tell me that it isn't bigoli at all that I've been slaving over. For shame!

Other hand, when am I apt to run into a bigolarist?

In Maine, no less.

Con le sarde


Corey Templeton said...

The final product looks great!

Mister Meatball said...

It was, actually. The more I eat this noodle the more hooked I become. Thanks for reading.

Modern-Day Ma said...

I was just google-ing to see if anyone else had thought of this idea too and I stumbled upon your post. Your pasta looks great to me :) I was trying to find a way to make rice flour noodles (from home ground rice flour)my daughter is GF. I think this might just be the way.. also, do you think if you oiled the cutting plates beforehand if the noodles would extrude smoothly?

Mister Meatball said...

I don't know if the oil would help that much, but am all for experimenting, sure.

Unknown said...

Can you share your recipe for the dough? I'd like to give it a try and am wondering how stiff or not the dough should be so that the kitchenaid can handle it. Thank you!

Mister Meatball said...

This link is for papparedelle but the dough is the same:

Hope said...

Yea. I came across this post because I recently am GF and was looking for how to make homemade noodles without paying for the expensive pasta attachment

tinathorn said...

I have been searching for a way to put pasta dough through the kitchenaid attachment to have it extrude a long thick log for making gnocchi or the like. When you use the meat grinder, I'm guessing you omit including the cutting blade?

Mister Meatball said...

Yes, that correct.

JB said...

Wonder if anyone makes an elbow pasta disk for the meat grinder?

Unknown said...

Kitchen Aid had a meat grinder and pasta maker combo (I have one) You take out the metal chopping blade and use the noodle plates. They replaced it with two attachments. So you have to pay for a meat grinder and pay for a pasta maker.