The Pasta Disaster…


pastadisaster_mainI like to cook with my kids, it’s very satisfying to make something yummy and then sit down together to eat. Usually, they are very enthusiastic cooks and helpers, and though I know I will end up scraping more food off the walls and floors (and once even the windows!) than we eat, it’s still real quality time.pastapleaselogo

We’re hooking up to lovely Tinned Tomatoes Pasta Please for the first time and the host this month is Simone at Briciole – both really good sites and well worth a read :) Hello to everyone there!

So let’s make pasta, I think it’s a fantastic idea. Like bread it’s one of the most basic and wonderfully versatile foods, and the family all love it, so off I trekked to Waitrose for a bag of Tipo 00.

We go for the basic 100g flour to an egg recipe and as there are 4 of us, the kids measured out 400g and made their own little Vesuvius volcano of flour on the worksurface. They crack the eggs and get stuck in stirring with their fingers¬† – and things are going really well, much less mess and more control than I had envisaged. Here they are having a ball…


The dough comes together well, but as it is very tough to knead, the kids duck out onto their bikes while I hammer the lump into a smooth ball. Time for a coffee while it rests…

Now, I don’t have a pasta machine. ‘That’s ok’, the internet reassures me, ‘Italian Nonnas scorn and ridicule such gadgetry and have relied on strong arms and a rolling pin forever’. I can do that too!

So begins the next 40 minutes. I roll and fold the dough sideways a couple of times to keep the strip narrow and then transfer to the kitchen table for more space. I roll until the palms of my hands ache. Then husband arrives and holds the end of the pasta to keep it in place while I roll some more. I stand on the bench seat to get more weight behind the pin and jump up and down. It’s getting quite interesting now and the kids come to the door to stare and point…¬† The pasta is now at full table capacity, so I cut it in half with the scissors and start again. Husband wanders off muttering something about computers (but I know that really he thinks I’ve gone mad and is edging away slowly). I keep on rolling because it’s now me or the pasta.

Meanwhile, the children are back in the house. Bored and hungry they are clearly destroying the other end of the house while I roll on and on until – yes, I could see the animal pattern on the table cover through the pasta! I’d read something about seeing newsprint through the dough, so it must be ready. I fold and cut triumphantly.

With tomato sauce bubbling and water on a rolling boil, I drop in the pasta strands. Almost immediately it becomes clear that the pasta was too thick and as they take on water,  huuuge snakey strips float in the pan. I know where this is going, but lets see it to the end РI add the pasta to the sauce with parmesan, serve it to the kids and hide round the corner.

After a few minutes I go in the room to find out why it is so quiet, and bless them, there they are trying to eat it.

I have learnt several things

1. My kids are lovely

2. Never mess with an italian woman, ever

3. My local pub does an excellent pizza and wine deal

4. I need a pasta machine



  1. Perhaps you should include the menu when inviting me to dinner. Either that or ‘where can I buy a good pasta machine to bring with me’
    However your blog did provide me with a good laugh while hubby was watching Indian cricket on TV – I’ll stay tuned for the next episode !

  2. The photo of your kids at work with the dough is priceless. I understand your wish to feed the whole family with your efforts. However, with 4 eggs you get a lot of dough and rolling it is not easy. I hope you don’t get deterred. A pasta machine will hel, but I would still suggest that you start with 2 eggs. That will allow you to get familiar with the task without being too worried about how much more dough you have to work. I would also suggest to measure less flour and add more as needed as you proceed with the kneading and rolling. Thank you so much for sharing your pasta adventure with Pasta Please.

  3. Dear Lisa what a lovely post! I must confess that I am not able to make a good egg pasta sheet without a pasta machine. I tried and I failed. I had the same problem: very thick pasta…. but you had fun and two very nice girls (I have two boys…). Next time you decide to attempt to make egg pasta add ex virgin olive to the dough mixture (my mum does that), it works!!! Ciao

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