Recently I wanted to find some great make-ahead recipes that I could prepare in batches and freeze for fast and easy, but still homemade meals that I would feel good about on those “I don’t feel like scratch cooking” nights. Stuffed pastas kept catching my eye as something highly versatile (options including but definitely not limited to: cheese, spinach, squash, beef, tuna with a bechamel sauce) and are super easy to freeze and reheat.
I already had a great homemade pasta dough recipe (for use with the KitchenAid stand mixer and pasta roller attachment) and ravioli filling recipe but wanted to do some research and see if some varieties freeze better than others.
While doing searches for freezing homemade stuffed pastas my results kept turning up all these recipes and ads for pasta maker machines…hmm. A few dozen YouTube videos and Amazon.com reviews later, I decided a pasta maker was just what I needed both to make fast and easy ravioli for my make-ahead meals as well as ditching the boxed, dried stuff in my pantry for fresh, on-demand pasta made with high quality wheat*.
I found the pasta maker I wanted on sale at Williams-Sonoma – the Philips Smart Pasta Maker. I liked this one in particular because in addition to the weighing function which helps you fine-tune your liquids if you are using more or less than a perfect single or double batch of pasta flour, it comes with 8 shaping discs meaning no accessories to purchase later.
I had to try it right away after it arrived so I made a simple angel hair pasta to get a feel for the machine and process.
The adverts say that you will have fresh pasta in 15 minutes, I am pretty sure they mean when the last of the noodles come out because this machine begins extruding pasta in just 3 minutes!
I made a double batch which was double the amount I needed. The other 1/2 can be dusted with flour and refrigerated for a few days or frozen for a longer storage time.
The pasta was fantastic – delicious and with great bite, perfect al dente!
* A note on the pasta flour I use – as much as possible, I buy my grains from Anson Mills. I could do a whole series of posts on Anson Mills and founder Glenn Roberts and how they are reviving lost tastes through heirloom grains. If you haven’t read it yet, a great way to get to know Glenn is through Dan Barber’s seminal book The Third Plate. I became an instant convert based on what I knew about Glenn’s grains. Tasting them only further cemented my ardor.