Is there anything in the world more satisfying to kids (young or old) than a giant plate full of homemade macaroni and cheese? Seems like their quintessential comfort food. Hot from the oven with the cheese still bubbling and the breadcrumbs crusting, it always puts a smile on their face.
There are so few ingredients in mac and cheese, yet there’s always room for experimentation. The first thing most people change is the cheese – but freshly made pasta will do just as much to improve the old classic.
As for making the hole in the middle of the macaroni, the KitchenAid Pasta Press is just the thing. And if you find making pasta dough by hand to be an arduous process, the perfect solution is to use a KitchenAid Stand Mixer. The Pasta Press, as with all other attachments, will fit any KitchenAid stand mixer with a hub, no matter the age.
There are many variations of pasta dough, but the basic egg pasta consists of flour and eggs, a pinch of salt, and water as necessary. A great place to find recipes is Aliza Green’s newest book, Making Artisan Pasta, and there are also some recipes in the user manual of the Pasta Press.
Once the dough is thoroughly mixed (it should feel like pie crust dough), you’re ready to feed it through the Pasta Press. Select an extruding disc (there are two different sizes for macaroni) and load it into the machine, then feed a walnut-sized ball of dough into the top of the press. The pasta will begin to come through the bottom of the Press. The wire cutter, at to the bottom of the Press, will easily cut the dough once you get it to the length you want. Put the fresh pasta aside, and repeat the process until you’ve used up all the dough.
We’d say that’s the easy part but that makes it sounds like there’s a tough part! Once you pick out a favorite recipe (here’s a tasty-sounding one from Smitten Kitchen), your stomach will be full of creamy goodness in no time. For macaroni and cheese, remember to leave the pasta al dente, since it will continue to cook a little in the oven – and keep in mind that fresh pasta does cook a little faster than the dried stuff.
If you’re local and need help picking out the right cheeses for your dinner, our Italian Market neighbors at DiBruno Brothers and Claudio’s will be happy to help you pick out the perfect cheese. We have a few personal favorites, too – try a fontina, or a young (and therefore mild) gruyere. And no one in their right mind will complain about cheddar!
The big event this weekend, of course, is the Italian Market Festival (more on that below), but while you’re on South 9th, you can stop by the store and check out the Pasta Press in action! We’ll have Karen from KitchenAid here to show you the ropes (or the noodles, yuk yuk yuk).
Finally, no matter what you’re doing this weekend, you won’t want to miss the South 9th Street Italian Market Festival! Your favorite 9th street merchants will roll out their best offerings, their tables teeming with pastries, cheeses, sandwiches and more. There will be two separate stages for live entertainment, and even a craft fair! Food and fun in the market – you can’t beat it. We’ll see you here!