May be its the reappearance of “MasterChef” on nightly TV but as the winter creeps in I find that I have a compulsion to cook. Filling your home with splendid aromas and purchasing unfamiliar ingredients are the winter’s way of saying roll on spring but not too quickly.
I have enjoyed cooking pasta for many years. All too often this has meant adding some dry durum wheat pasta to boiling salted water and topping with the latest tomato or pine-nut based sauce. To be honest that removes half the fun. Why not make your own pasta?
For me – as a reviewer justifiably called it – the iconic Italian original, the “Imperia” pasta machine is “the Ferrari of pasta makers”. Since February 1932, Imperia pasta machines have been helping Italian families make “la pasta fatta in casa” (home-made pasta). Moreover, with extensive emigration from their homeland many Italian families chose to resettle in the US and, of course, took their Imperia pasta machines with them.
Starting at the beginning – even before taking your Imperia pasta machine out of its retro printed box – you are going to need to make a pasta dough – and to do this you are going to need access to a food processor (see our later review of the Magimix).
For me, the best recipe is as follows: 140g plain flour or preferably, if you can get it, Italian “doppio zero” or ’00’ flour – which is specifically ground to make pasta. 2 eggs – 1 whole and 1 separated yolk. Sift the flour into the food processor and pulse it. Then add the eggs and keep mixing until the mixture appears crumbly – this should take no longer than three minutes. Shape the resulting dough into a ball – which should be stiff – and knead it to for a minute. After wrapping it in clingfilm leave it in a cool place (not the fridge) and avoid it drying out. After an hour its ready for use. Divide into two equal pieces and roll to a 5 mm thickness. The dough is now ready to be passed through your Imperia pasta machine.
The classic manuel machine, the Imperia SP150, is at the heart of the home-made pasta making process. It rolls the raw dough into a number of thickness and its basic attachments allow you to cut the flattered stretched dough into spaghetti, fettuccini, or tagliatelle.
Slowly cranking the handle, pass your proofed dough through the pasta machine set on its widest setting, collecting the flattened dough in a figure “z” and re-rolling on then same settings- this exercise should be repeated seven times – until the dough appears shiny. The dough is ready for rolling starting on the widest width setting, without folding and reducing the setting with each pass to your preferred thickness.
Imperial sell a range of flat metal sheets with indents for fillings to make ravioli and gnocchi but you can also buy bolt-on attachments to the Imperia machine, developed by Imperia to make ravioli filling and gnocchi rolling – for example – very simple.
So Imperia’s SP150 pasta machine is not only an iconic design, it’s also hugely practical. Truly, “Made in Italy” at Imperia’s factory in Sant’Ambrogio (Turin), it is constructed to a high standard with a solid steel body and clamp and a wooden cranking handle.
One quick tip – you don’t need to wash, as a wipe down with a soft moist cloth will be sufficient.