Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pasta Followup

Thanks to some helpful commenters on this recent post, and a little improvisation, we had another successful go at the pasta-making Sunday evening.

This rack, believe it or not, used to sit in our microwave. I was generally under the belief that nothing metal belongs in a microwave, but this rack definitely belongs to it. I could delve into how the spacing and length of the bars probably makes it have very little resonance at 2.4 GHz, and thus picks up very little microwave energy, but I would quickly exhaust my expertise in the subject. Actually, I think I just did it right there.

This rack was just used for staging purposes, not drying. It would hold about half a batch's worth of noodles at a go - as much as I would try to boil at a time. Being able to keep them reasonably separated this way out in the open meant that they stayed quite separate in the water.

One thing this image doesn't show is the use of a spatula's wooden handle to help in transferring. As a pasta noodles came out of the machine, I'd drape them in half over the handle rather than my hand. The handle fits quite easily between the bars of the rack, you see, so laying the noodles out was pretty neat and easy. It also worked in reverse: I could lift the noodles back off the rack using the handle and use it to deposit them in the water.

All this makes me think of building a special-purpose pasta rack, strange a project as that might seem. I kinda like the notion of one similar to the metal rack - two arms with crossbars on which to drape the pasta - but would probably also have legs to make it freestanding. What would distinguish this as a pasta rack would be that the wooden dowels could be lifted in and out of the rack for easier loading and unloading. Pull an empty dowel from the rack, let the pasta drape over it as it comes off the machine, and set it on the rack to sit or dry, then later reverse those steps to deposit it into the water or storage container. Then again, some quick searching around reveals this design, which is pretty clever and could be done in an afternoon with some dowels, a drill, and some PVC pipe. Probably I could get the job done for less than the $25-$60 that comparable products would cost.

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