Question for those that make their own pasta

I’ve been making my own fresh pasta for years, first with a hand crank machine, and now with the Kitchen Aid attachment. I am very comfortable with the process except for one part. When I see cooks on TV making pasta they feed a very long strip of pasta through the machine with apparent ease, it always goes through nice and straight making nice wide sheets. I have always found, especially when you get down to the thinner settings, that I have to be very careful feeding it into the rollers or the sheet will not go in straight and it will get scrunched to one side. And I never go with a section that is more then 2 feet long after it’s gone through the smallest settings as they are just too hard to handle. With lots of pasta dishes I don’t really care, it’s all good pasta, but when making lasagna you want those nice, even sheets to build your layers.

I’m using the 6 inch wide KA attachment. Is there a trick? Or is it just experience?

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I think I have the same issue as you: my “ends” are always jaggedy irregular ovals. I just go with it, as long as the thickness is uniform. If the lasagna noodles are longer than 13” (for a 9x13 pan) you could trim the ends straight.

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Same here… I just go with it. Most of the time, I cut mine into Fettuccine, the odd oval ends just become part of the pasta pile and go into the boiling water.
As far as bunching up, is there enough flour on the pasta?? If my dough is too damp it will bunch up. I usually dust it with flour a couple times during the “rolling” process.
If my pasta dough gets over 12-15", I cut it in half and roll the cut piece on the next go round.
As a side note, my girlfriend absolutely loves “spinach pasta”. Between my food processor and the kitchenaid attachments, it is quick & easy to whip up a batch.

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Mine has never bunched up… but I am pretty religious about lightly flouring my counter, and picking up a bit of it with my fingers to lightly rub on the top side after every couple/few passes.

As for the shaggy ends… after passing it through on the first couple/three settings, fold each end back into the middle so you have a rectangle. Then go back to the wider setting and run it through a couple times (and repeat if necessary). This will give you square edges to continue to work with.

I usually feed and capture the output using the back of my hands to both keep it flat, and to drape over the rollers for the next pass. Once it is about three feet or so I’ll cut it in half, and continue working those pieces.

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“bunching up” may not have been a good choice of words as it’s definitely not sticking to the rollers, I use plenty of flour. It starts going in and then it starts going crooked and “bunches” on one side. You end up with a piece that starts out 6 inches and by the end it’s spear shape. My goal is nice 6 inch wide pieces, but I don’t worry about it, the lasagna always gets made. :slight_smile: The odd shaped pieces come in handy when fitting the odd corner.

I just marvel at the people on cooking shows, mostly competitions like Top Chef, and they effortlessly run an 8 foot long piece through the machine. Must come from making pasta in a restaurant for years.

Had a dinner at a local restaurant named Spinasse and watched the chef make raviolis. He had 2 sheets, 12 inches wide and 5 feet long. dolloped the filling, laid the top sheet on and pressed out the air, cut out perfect little raviolis and made it look easy. Was very fun and inspiring to watch.

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I can only guess that your issue maybe due to you not feeding it perpendicular to the horizontal axis of the roller.

Yes. The question is, how do you not do that on occasion? Especially with the KA attachment. Those rollers are spinning and the moment the pasta starts to go in, the die is cast.

I guess it just takes a little practice. If you leave a little draping of the back of your hand, gravity should ensure it goes in vertical.

I’m a bit late but may have something to offer. When I worked as an engineer I made sheet materials that were rolled through various nips, like the paired rollers on a pasta maker. Sheet binding toward one side of the nip was usually an indication that there was resistance to rolling on that side in one or both of the rollers, typically either bearings gunked up or too much pressure on the top roller at that side of the nip.

Analogizing to your experience, is there any chance that there’s something obstructing the smooth rolling at one side of your nip?

I wondered about that, but it happened with the hand crank and the KA attachment, so it’s most likely just me. :frowning:

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This may not be terribly informative, but my trick is another pair of hands in the kitchen. I have a hand crank, not a mixer attachment.