Unsanctioned uses for a Pasta maker.
July 9, 2013 10:02 AM   Subscribe

What are some alternate uses for a hand-crank pasta maker?

I scored a pasta maker almost identical to this one at a thrift store for a whole $12 bucks. It took a bit to get it secured to a table, but now that it's all set up, I love it. Hand cranking pasta is really meditative to me, and I really, REALLY enjoy it.

So far we've done traditional italian style pastas a couple times, and about a million batches of homemade ramen noodles (the real reason I picked it up). The pasta is great, the ramen noodles turn out fantastic.

We run a pretty gear-adverse kitchen, keeping this pretty basic, and I really dislike uni-taskers. What else should I be using this for? If I wasn't into making ramen at home from scratch a couple times a month, I wouldn't have picked it up, honestly. It takes up a little space in the kitchen, which is ok, I'd just like to put it to better use. I've googled around, but aside from running dough through it to make crackers, I can't seem to find any really good uses for this little buddy.

What other (food related) projects do you use your pasta maker for?
posted by furnace.heart to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I had a cheap single-purpose pasta roller that I used as a kid to roll out sheets of polymer clay for my various polymer clay crafting things.

But you want food-related, so sticking to the artistic theme, how about for rolling out marzipan or fondant for cake decorations?
posted by phunniemee at 10:12 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Casings for wontons, which are super easy to make and taste so much better than the premade ones.

I make sausage rolls/turnovers and use it to roll the pastry for those. It would also work for little pies.

Rolling fondant.

Ginger bread for ginger bread houses.

Cookie dough for rolled cookies

posted by wwax at 10:13 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you aren't a stickler for perfect roundness, you can use them to roll out tortillas (either flour or corn).
posted by drlith at 10:16 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Crackers. Such as these crackers (uncredited here, but from from the excellent King Arthur Flour Baking Book) http://www.atastefulgarden.com/2012/11/recipe-mega-seeded-crackers.html Rolled in the pasta machine they are crisp and artisanal looking, and very economical.
posted by Sybil Stockwell Oop at 10:17 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also in the same category as the wontons: Pierogies and potstickers. (These might not traditionally be made this way, but boy does it make things easier.)
posted by jeffjon at 10:17 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Homemade croissants and puff pastry could use that kind of treatment, if you don't mind cranking long long pieces of dough-- puff pastry is more useful in sheets in general, but there are plenty of applications for smaller pieces. In both cases, you make a strong dough, later it with butter, and then fold, roll, fold, roll, etc.

Puff pastry in small pieces can be used for smaller 2-3 bite hors d'oevres or amuses bouches; take a cooked whatever, freeze briefly for firmness, slice into portions, wrap in puff pastry (the base only, or all over) (which will be the right width from your pasta roller), freeze again, and when you're ready to get them hot, brush them with butter, throw them in the oven, and the chow will defrost while the pastry cooks and balloons out and browns into golden goodness.

You could conceivably make layer-tastic biscuits as well. Make long strips of biscuit dough that's been folded and rolled maybe 4 times, then cut out disks or squares and glue a short stack of disks together with butter. Bake. They'll be a little more toothsome (we're compromising on tender to get flaky), but that's okay-- they should puff up.

In all cases, continue to use a pasta- or pizza-cutter to trim when possible; the cutter helps seal the edges to trap steam.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:29 AM on July 9, 2013

Best answer: Crackers are mentioned above: I would add Graham crackers! Graham flour is a slightly coarse grade of wheat flour that's not hard to come by. You can add honey and/or cinnamon if you you so desire, or other things that might be good. Off the top of my head, sesame or carraway would be worth a try.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:34 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: NYC chef Wylie Dufresne runs Martin's potato rolls through a pasta maker, bakes them, and serves them as "chips."
posted by neroli at 10:38 AM on July 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Empanadas!
posted by STFUDonnie at 10:43 AM on July 9, 2013

Best answer: I use mine for super-thin-crust pizza.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:50 AM on July 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Damn metafilter, you all are the best.

Empanadas and perogies are something we've not attempted yet. This is right in our comfort zone, but all these answers are fantastic, and exactly what I need to turn this machine into a regular-rotation gadget.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:00 AM on July 9, 2013

making homemade pierogis has gotten much easier once I started using the pasta maker for rolling out the dough.

Obviously you can make any culture's dumplings from ravioli to wontons to whatever as well.
posted by garlic at 11:36 AM on July 9, 2013

Best answer: I once saw a PBS special where someone ran a soft chocolate bar through a pasta machine: the chocolate was at just that temperature where it yielded to pressure but it wasn't exactly melted, kind of soft and floppy.

And then they filled it with some kind of pastry cream and stamped it into raviolis and served it dusted with cocoa powder and now I am starving.
posted by hmo at 12:01 PM on July 9, 2013 [4 favorites]

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