The Unexpected Tool To Use For Homemade Spaghetti Noodles

Taking the time to make a batch of fresh pasta always feels like a special occasion. Even if you're just meal prepping for the long week ahead, the slow and simple process of crafting your own handmade noodles from scratch can be a rewarding and simple way to spend an afternoon. If you're worried about adding a dozen more kitchen utensils just to try out this new process, have no worries. You might already have everything you need in your cupboard.

If you own a meat grinder, then you are already on your way to making great fresh pasta at home. While it might seem unconventional, meat grinders follow a similar process to how most conventional pasta shapes are made. According to Patagonia Provisions, traditional bronze cut pasta is made by feeding the dough through an extruder and then a die cut that gives the pasta its shape and texture. This is essentially the same way that meat grinders work. As Nature Leaf Kitchen notes, meat grinders simply cut the meat into smaller pieces that are easily pushed out of holes similar to a die-on-the-end of the device. In fact, some meat grinders can even be fitted with pasta making attachments for an easy swap (per Bosch via HealthyKitchenVideos on YouTube). With a few small adjustments you can get your meat grinder to work double duty as an at home pasta maker too.

How to use a meat grinder for pasta

One of the biggest adjustments that needs to be made is the type of fresh pasta dough being used. In order to have a pasta that will survive being pushed through the die and chopped, it's important to have a drier than usual pasta dough. Saveur recommends starting with a 3:1 ratio of flour to water. Use this as a starting point to test out working with the meat grinder/pasta extruder method. From there, you can fine tune the recipe and texture to see what works best. It's also important to use only semolina flour when making this kind of pasta. The reason for this, according to Bob's Red Mill, is that semolina is high in gluten and therefore keeps its shape better through the extruding and cooking processes.

To make spaghetti with a meat grinder you'll also have to do your cutting by hand. Meat grinders usually have a rotating blade that keeps the segments of chopped meat relatively short. According to Bosch (via HealthyKitchenVideos on YouTube), this part should be removed when assembling the meat grinder. This will keep the blade from cutting your noodles too short. Just feed the pasta dough into the grinder and cut the pasta at a uniform length with knife as it comes out.

The meat grinder might not be the end all be all pasta maker but it can be a fun experiment to try before upgrading to another machine.