Whenever my mum asked me what I wanted for tea as a child it was always spaghetti Bolognese, or frankly, anything spaghetti related! I loved the challenge of trying to spin the spaghetti onto my fork, emphasis on ‘trying’ as most of it landed on the table or down my clothes. So, when it was my turn with my children, the thoughts of cooking them spaghetti filled me with horror rather than a sense of adventure. All I could think about was the mess which was bound to ensue.
If you want to master twirling spaghetti on your fork without any drama, then simply observe an Italian. Trust me, Italians grow up learning how to twirl spaghetti, fettuccine, and other long stranded pasta around their forks with effortless flicks of their wrists and fingers. As one Italian friend of mine advised me; less is more. Savour the moment, the food and your clothes by keeping the number of strands down to three or four and wind from there. A great way to preserve your dignity!
One of the best perks of working within the kitchen industry is the ability to try out new kitchen equipment. When I was asked if I would like to try making pasta and then spaghetti, I was excited and keen to try something familiar but also new. All you need to make spaghetti is some freshly made pasta dough, a pasta maker and a little practice.
Firstly, roll out your pasta dough with a pastry board and roller until thin enough to feed the dough through the pasta maker’s rollers. Ensure that the Dexam Pasta Maker knob is set to 7 and feed a piece of rolled dough through the rollers, turning the handle in a smooth motion. Repeat the process 5-6 times on the same setting. As it thins, you can then start to feed your pasta sheet through on a reduced setting, until you have the thickness you desire. In general, the thinner the sheet the easier it is to make your spaghetti.
Cut the pasta sheets into approximately 25 cm lengths (spaghetti length!) with a knife. The Dexam Pasta maker has three settings – one for pasta sheets, a second for tagliatelle and a third for spaghetti.
So let’s make spaghetti! Make sure that the handle on the machine is moved to the position for making spaghetti before you continue, and remember there’s no rush.
Gently feed one of your 25 cm pasta sheets through the spaghetti cutter and watch your fresh prepared spaghetti appear, like magic! Take the spaghetti strands and hang over a pasta drying rack, continue to feed sheets until you have the desired amount of spaghetti.
Now it’s time for cooking! Simply boil a pan of water with a splash of oil and a pinch of salt and place spaghetti in pan for 3-4 minutes and then drain.
An easy classical Italian dish to make is Spaghetti al Pomodoro. This recipe includes a tomato and basil sauce, which the spaghetti is tossed in to and then serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. If you are feeling particularly creative, why not make your own passata to add to the tomato sauce.