Keep a Five Year Old Busy for Two Hours

I had an idea the other day to make homemade pasta.  I have never made pasta by myself before so I chose a simple recipe for whole wheat linguine with a tomato clam sauce.  My Mother-in-law gave us her old pasta press months ago and we still hadn’t used it which made me feel a bit guilty and a pack rat like Martin is always accusing me of being.  Making the pasta dough was really simple.  I mixed 1 cup of whole wheat flour, ½ cup of water, and a little salt, then kneaded the dough for five minutes, and that was it.  I had to add a little more flour to make the dough more solid because I found it too soft.  Following the instructions for this very manual machine I ran the dough through the press and then the linguine sized cutter blades.  

I wanted Annika to join me but I was surprised how much she loved pasta making.  It could have been a machine like this which was the inspiration for the Play-doh Fun Factory because Annika wanted to continue playing with it long after we were done making the noodles.  I had saved her a small piece of left over dough which she played with for at least an hour.  At this time she could work the machine well (she helped me cranking the pasta press earlier) so I just let her go at it.  I was glad that I chose to make the pasta when the twins were napping as I could see the added hands causing a problem and I would have had to keep a very close eye on them.  I can imagine one child cranking the handle while another is sticking their fingers through the press.  That may be a bit embarrassing to explain to a doctor.  Annika would press her dough flat, cut it up into thick stripes, and then roll it into a ball again because it wasn’t perfect.  This happened over and over again.  Eventually the dough turned into little ‘bugs’ which she decided to put on the deck to ‘trick’ the real bugs.

I am focusing on Annika’s fun because while the pasta sauce was fabulous, the noodles were not as good.  I am not used to fresh noodles and I may have cooked them too long but I also wonder if it could have been the recipe.  I have heard good things about this recipe which I will try next time Annika wants to make ‘bugs’.

2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
Water, as needed (added 1 tbs at a time)

The clam sauce recipe I used and I will strongly recommend is as follows:

2 cans of clams (142 g each)
1 cup of white wine
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 1/3 cups (835 ml) canned whole tomatoes drained and chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
pinch chili
3 tbsp (45 ml) butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Add wine, 1 tbsp (15 ml) oil and liquid from the canned clams to a med pan.  Bring to a boil and continue boiling until roughly 1 cup (250 ml) remains.
  2. Meanwhile in a large pan heat remaining oil and saute garlic until golden.  Add the clam juice/wine mixture, tomatoes, parsley, chili and butter.  Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes over med heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a little more wine if the sauce has become too think.  Add the clams and heat through.
  3. Serve over pasta with a small drizzle of oil.

My intention is to make homemade pasta more often…lets say at least once a month.  It is time consuming to make so if I don’t use the pasta press again for another year or so I at least hope we can pull it out and use it for play-doh; I just won’t tell my mother-in-law what we used it for.

Next I think I’ll pull out the dehydrator I was given at the same time.  Why not…it was free!!

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