9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Actually about making pasta,
This review is from: Making Artisan Pasta (Flexibound)
Unlike many books that claim to be about making pasta, and turn out to be mostly recipes for dishes using pasta, this book actually is about making fresh pasta. And not just italian pasta, but other similar "pastas" from all over the world, such as Udon noodles, gnocchi, dumplings from Europe and Asia, which adds a new level to the book beyond what you might expect of a normal pasta book.
The book describes how to use a pasta machine, and it often will make your life easier to use one, but it is not really required for the majority of recipes.
It goes into a decent level of detail about types of flour and the effect they have on your pasta, egg sizes and everything.
The author introduces her own pasta flour mix including things like semolina, unbleached flour, italian 00 flour etc. I have been perfectly happy with bread flour so haven't tried her mix, but may give this a try to see the difference. Edit: I now use Sainsbury's "taste the difference" pasta flour which is so much easier to work with than bread flour, and the cheapest such flour I can find
The book then goes on to list a wide variety of ways to colour (and mildly flavour) pasta, for example beetroot pasta, red pepper, spinach.
After this, there are sections for making different shapes and styles of pasta. Noodle style, shapes, sheets, dumplings and stuffed pastas.
There are a few basic recipes for sauce on one page. For the stuffed pasta, the steps for making the pasta also include the steps for the stuffing that is suggested to go inside them. I would have liked to see a few different stuffing recipes listed separately as well as obviously there is plenty of freedom to put in a different stuffing.
There are a number of tools and techniques employed in the book. From the simple fluted pastry / pasta wheel, the ravioli tray and stamp, to the more specialist machines. The latter are interesting, but I can't really see myself buying a machine just to curl pasta into one specific shape (and you will probably have difficulty trying to source such a contraption for a reasonable price)
The style of writing in the book does show through as being a little Americanised and targeted at the American audience, but it doesn't really matter. Clearly the author has spent a lot of time in Italy, although it would be interesting to hear what an 'authentic Italian Nonna' would make of some of the suggestions - I really don't know and it's probably not that important. I think making pasta in this day and age is more about the enjoyment of making it and whether or not you enjoy the end result rather than sticking to tradition.
All of the measurements are provided in grams and oz, although I would like to see some more round numbers of grams which would make the recipes easier to recall. Although I feel when you get into making pasta properly the recipe can only ever be a guide and you tend to feel the way the dough reacts rather than needing to measure all the time.