Monday, January 31, 2011

The Day the Mixer Died

Last night Lana and I decided to attempt making pasta from scratch again. Only this time we decided to not do ravioli. Not because ravioli isn't awesome but because we wanted to try something new. We decided to sort of follow this recipe but also sort of not since I don't like measuring and Lana doesn't like spicy things. Or actually, she likes them but can't handle them.

So anyways, we decided it might be to our benefit to follow a recipe for the pasta part of this adventure. After our not awesome ravioli attempt I purchased a pasta book which is pretty much the most amazing and informative book about pasta ever. Given it's the only one I've read. It's called The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles by Cook's Illustrated.

I forget what the actual recipe said but we figured out it should be one egg to every 2/3cup flour. This was helpful to know because I have a mini food processor so we couldn't fit it all in at once.

The book also has lots of neat tips about how to know when the dough is the right consistency or how to fix it if it isn't.

This is also the point at which I sliced my finger on the food processor blade because apparently I cannot cook with Lana without blood loss. It hurt a ridiculous amount when I did it but now it's mostly just making it a pain to type. I typed 'amount' as 'amouint' four times before doing it correctly. You're welcome for my sacrifice.

I didn't get any blood in the dough by the way.

I have this thing that is awesome. It's called a pasta press. It's made by Kitchenaid and has these disks that attach to it for making different kinds of pasta, "including spaghetti, bucatini, fusili, rigatoni, and large or small macaroni."

Awesome right?

We decided to make bucatini which is a long noodle like spaghetti but is hollow in the center. Then we put this thing to work.

This is where you would have thought Lana and I had been raised in some third world country with no running water and were seeing, I don't know, a computer or like Times Square or something because the excitement in that kitchen was ridiculous.

Then we made a pasta tree.

When we were pretty much done my mixer shut off on it's own which it will do if the motor is being worked too hard in order to keep it from breaking. So we decided to forgot about our last little piece of dough and start cooking the pasta.

If you decide to do this at home (which you should) know that this pasta gets very...puffy. What seemed like a normal sized pot to cook pasta in became not at all sufficient and I had to dump everything into a larger pot partway through.

I didn't take photos of our sauce making because it wasn't very exciting and also I forgot but we used the recipe I showed you above except I didn't measure the grated cheese, we used more of the wet ricotta, and we used feta rather than ricotta salata. Also we used less red pepper and more actual pepper.

We decided to not use bread crumbs or oil on ours because we didn't think it really needed either. We ended up trying it and liking it a lot with the bread crumbs but still didn't put any oil on top. I'm honestly not really sure why you would.

So that should have been the end of things and we all lived happily ever after except my mixer still wouldn't turn on. So we looked online and in the manual and it said to let it sit for 30 minutes to cool. So then about 2 hours later I tried and it still wouldn't work. I tried switching outlets, putting another appliance in that same outlet, using the breaker...I was not feeling good about this. I decided to wait until morning to see if that would bring better news. But it didn't.

I called the Kitchenaid people and spoke to someone who asked me what happened and I explained and then she ended up telling me that apparently whatever powers the motor also brings in air to cool the motor. So basically, in order to power this attachment with the disk we were using we should have had it at setting 10 to bring in enough air but we were all nervous about overworking it so we used it at setting 2.

Now I fully admit that this was totally my fault. Lana asked me if I had the manual for the attachment in the beginning and I told her it should be in the drawer where I keep those. When it wasn't I remembered I had read it while laying in bed but I didn't go try to find it in my room and we just soldiered on. If I had read the manual I would have known how to not break my mixer.

But, the amazing thing is, Kitchenaid is replacing mine with a brand new mixer in my same color and paying all the shipping. No one said, "Sorry girl, you're an idiot and we print huge booklets of instructions because um, they matter." Instead they explained to me how to not break the mixer and are giving me a new one. How incredible is that? I mean, I'm sure they'll get my old one and refurbish it and sell it which will likely cost them little but they totally didn't have to do that and even though it's probably a small blip on their radar it makes my day.

I'm taking a pasta making class next week too so I'll pass on any amazing bits of knowledge I end up with.


  1. "I typed 'amount' as 'amouint' four times before doing it correctly. You're welcome for my sacrifice."

    That totally made me laugh.

    People would put extra oil on their pasta if they have digestion problems(like me). That's what is recommended you do, if you really enjoy pasta but can't 'process' it. Otherwise, I don't really know why you would, unless you just wanted greasy pasta.

    I love seeing the stages of your pasta-making. Although I have a full sized kitchen, my husband claims that we don't have room for more gadgets like my dream kitchenaid mixer, aka the one you have but perhaps in red...along with that cool kitchen-aid pasta thingymabobber...Sigh. I would love to have both.

    Thank GOD they are replacing it!! Good company.

  2. I got my Kitchen Aid mixer at an estate auction for $60... probably the best $60 I've ever spent! Should this one ever die, it's nice to know that the customer service will make it worth it to drop some dollars on a new one :-)