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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homemade Pasta with Rival Pasta Chef Model PM1000

     I was lucky enough last week to find a Rival Pasta Chef at a local thrift shop for just $2. It works but is missing the measuring cups, the plastic knife and the wrench. Luckily it did come with the manual so I had not only the instructions but the recipes that came with it. I don't need the wrench or plastic knife. I googled online and managed to find where someone had measured how much the pasta chef dry cup and wet cups hold as the manual states it is not equal to one regular cup. (Dry cup = 1 1/4 cups, Wet Cup = 3/4 cup).
     My only real problem with the machine is that the collar around where the pasta is extruded has a hairline crack that's two inches long and if the pasta dough doesn't want to go through the extruding ring (mine didn't want to become macaroni), then it started to push the crack open and extrude dough out the crack on the side of the collar. I've cleaned it up, tried to seal it, and hope it works better next time. I'm thinking as long as the dough is thin enough to go through the shaping disk as it extrudes, then I shouldn't have to worry about the collar anymore. (*Fingers crossed*)
     If the message boards are correct, then this particular pasta machine is no longer manufactured or supported by Rival. Other folks who have located a machine without a manual are not having any luck getting one from the manufacturer. So although I've contacted them to see about a replacement collar, I'm not expecting much. This particular pasta maker has cutting disks to shape your pasta into: rigatoni, macaroni, fettuccine, med. egg noodles, thick spaghetti, spaghetti, angel hair, lasagna, linguine and cookie.

      I love the idea of being able to make my own pasta. Fresh always tastes better than something packaged (no preservatives, etc.) I'm excited to add flavors to the pasta. The manual suggests variations to the basic recipe by adding 1 tablespoon of dried herbs, or 2 tablespoons of pureed carrots or spinach (or use baby food). I figured if you could add jars of pureed baby food for carrot or spinach pasta, then how about the jar of baby food vegetable chicken for the next time you add noodles to homemade chicken noodle soup. The basic recipe calls for some warm water to be added to the eggs and oil. Why add water when you could add warm broth instead and add flavor at the same time.  I figured if you'd add it on top of your pasta, why not put it in your pasta. So when I made fresh thick spaghetti the other night I used vegetable broth in place of the water, and mixed in a tablespoon of Parmesan & Garlic spice mix. What I attempted today (before the machine collar started cracking on me) was cheesy macaroni. I was thinking of adding some of the powdered cheese from a box of instant mac & cheese before my son pointed out the "Macaroni & Cheese" flavored popcorn topping canister. So I sprinkled that in to add the cheesy flavor right into the pasta itself.
     I'm going to reprint the basic recipe and the how to use instructions for the Rival Pasta Chef Model PM1000 because the manufacturer no longer supports this product. Anyone who has the machine but does not have/lost the manual will need the information below to use it.

Basic Pasta Recipe
(from Rival Pasta Chef PM1000 manual)

2 Pasta Chef cups all-purpose flour (equals 2 1/2 cups flour)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon oil
warm water
Pour flour and salt into Pasta Chef mixing bowl. Break eggs into Pasta Chef liquid measuring cup. Beat eggs with a fork until yolks are broken. Add oil to eggs. Fill the cup to upper black line with warm water. Mix slightly. (Wet cup = 3/4 cup).

How to use/Making Pasta: (From manual)

Choose the disk you want to use. Place it in a small bowl of very hot water. Add several drops of olive oil. After disc has heated 1-2 minutes, remove from water. Align the 3 slots on back of disc with 3 notches on front of extrusion chamber. Hold disc in place and put on disc collar. Turn Mix/Extrude knob to mix. Measure 2 level cups of all-purpose flour into the flour cup provided and place in mixing bowl. NOTE: The flour measuring cup included is not a standard one cup measure. Break 2 large eggs into liquid measuring cup provided. Add one teaspoon oil. Beat until yolks are broken. Add warm water until liquid level reaches the upper black line. Beat slightly. Put cover on the pasta chef. (Unit will not work when cover is off.) Plug in and turn on. Slowly pour egg mixture into mixing bowl through slots in cover. Push all of mixture into bowl. Let dough mix for 2-3 minutes. Turn off. Check dough for proper consistency. Take a pinch of dough and roll it between your fingers. It should form a small ball and should not crumble. The dough should look like coarse crumbs with the largest about the size of a pea.

Too Dry: Dough that is too dry will look like very fine crumbs and will not form a ball when rolled between your fingers. To correct: Add 1 TBsp water. Mix for 1 minute. If still too dry, repeat.

Too Wet: Dough that is too wet will form several or one large mass. It will not resemble coarse crumbs. To correct: Open cover and add 1 TBsp of flour. Close cover; mix for 1-2 minutes. If still too wet, repeat.

With machine turned off, turn Mix/Extrude knob to extrude. Turn on. Cut off first 2 inches of extruded pasta and discard. Continue extruding. Cut pasta into desired length. (Pasta should being extruding within 1 minute.)

NOTE: The pasta maker is designed with an internal clutch that will release if too much pressure builds during extrusion, this may result in a loud popping noise. If this happens, immediately stop the machine and close the slide gate by turning the knob to mix. Remove the locking collr and disc. Clear the dough from extrusion chamber, then check dough consistency in mixing bowl. It is probably too dry and you will need to add liquid. Correct dough consistency and mix for 1 minute before continuing to extrude.

After all pasta is extruded, it may be cooked immediately or dried. See cooking chart for cooking times or dry pasta. (To dry pasta, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or other flat surface or hang on a pasta drying rack. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.)

How to Cook:
To cook 1 pound of pasta: Heat 4 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling. Add pasta. Cook until tender but firm to bite. Use the following chart as a guide:

                                                 Fresh            Dry

Linguine                                   2-4 min           5-8 min
Fettuccine                                5-7 min           10-12 min
Angel Hair                                4-6 min           7-10 min
Spaghetti                                  5-7 min           10-12 min
Thick spaghetti                        8-10 min         12-14 min
Rigatoni                                   5-7 min            8-10 min
Macaroni                                  5-7 min           8-10 min
Lasagna                                    8-10 min         12-14 min
Egg Noodle                              8-10 min          12-14 min

I hope anyone else who acquires a Rival Pasta Chef machine but doesn't have or lost the manual find this blog helpful.

Updated August 31, 2012
By request I'm adding how to clean your machine. I figured I better add the photo above labeling all the parts from the manual and how to assemble and disassemble, so that you know to properly take it apart and put it back together to clean it. All reprinted from the discontinued manual.

How to Disassemble

BEFORE USING FIRST TIME: Wash all removable parts in warm, soapy water; rinse. Dry thoroughly.
1. Remove cover. Grasp the latch, pinch and lift up. Lift cover completely off machine.
2. Using the wrench, remove disc collar and disc.
3. Slide scroll out of the extrusion chamber. Remove plastic washer from metal shaft.
4. Press lever at back of mixing bowl and slide bowl straight out of the main housing.
5. Remove mixing blade from mixing bowl.
6. Turn Mix/Extrude knob to Extrude. Press down lightly on slide gate and slide out of mixing bowl.

 How to Assemble

1. Turn Mix/Extrude knob to Mi. Insert slide gate into mixing bowl by lightly pressing down on slide gate and pushing all of the way in. Gate should be closed and knob should be on Mix.
2. Place mixing blade into mixing bowl, with concave end towards front of mixing bowl.
3. Insert mixing blade shaft through hole in the back of mixing bowl and push it all the way through. he grooved end of the shaft should be towards the back of the unit.
4. Set the mixing bowl in the main housing. Rotate mixing blade slightly to align the shaft with the socket in main housing. You will hear a click when bowl is correctly positioned.
5. Place white plastic washer on the metal shaft of the scroll.
6. Slide scroll into the extrusion chamber.  Rotate the scroll until it slides into the socket at the back of main housing.
7. Select disc you want to use. Align the 3 slots on back of disc with the 3 notches on front of extrusion chamber. Hold disc in place and put on disc collar.

How to Clean

1. Unplug. Let removable parts stand for 1-2 hours.
2. Brush off as much dry pasta as possible.
3. Tap disc on hard surface to loosen dry dough. Remove remaining dough with cleaning tool.
4. Wash all removable parts in warm, soapy water or dishwasher. Rinse; dry thoroughly.
5. Wipe Pasta Chef housing with a damp cloth.


1. Fettuccini, linguini, egg noodle and lasagna discs should be mounted horizontally for best results.
2. If pasta doesn't appear within 1 minute after beginning to extrude, stop machine. Check consistency.
3. Add egg mixture to flour slowly to help achieve the correct consistency.
4. During extrusion, it may be necessary to stop the machine and scrape accumulated dough from corners of mixing bowl and mixing blades.
5. If pasta extrusion begins to slow, you may need to clear dough from the opening gate. Turn unit off. Using a small spatula, remove dough from gate opening inside the mixing bowl.
6. When mixing, if motor begins to labor excessively, turn machine off. Dough is probably too heavy (wet). Try adding more flour as instructions dictate. I may be necessary to start over with new ingredients if this occurs.
7. To dry pasta, spread in a single layer on a baking sheet or other flat surface or hag on a pasta drying rack. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Variations to Basic Recipe

Herb Pasta: Add 1 tablespoon dried herbs to flour in mixing bowl.
Jalapeno Pasta: Add 2-4 tablespoons minced jalapeno to flour in mixing bowl.
Carrot Pasta: Add 2 tablespoons pureed carrots or carrot baby food to eggs before adding water.
Tomato Pasta: Add 2 tablespoons tomato puree to eggs before adding water.
Beet Pasta: Add 2 tablespoons pureed beets or baby beet food to eggs before adding water.
Spinach Pasta: Add 1/4 cup finely chopped, cooked spinach that has been well-drained to flour in mixing bowl or add 2 tablespoons spinach baby food to eggs before adding water.
Lemon Pasta: Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to eggs before adding water.
Personal Note: Based on the above formula above, you can add 2 tablespoons of anything mushy to the dough. As I was making homemade chicken noodle soup, I added Stage 1 (IE really pureed, not lumpy) Vegetable Chicken baby food to the noodles. Another time, I added a spice "Parmesan & Garlic" to the noodles. Experiment and have fun. I figured if you'd add it to the finished dish, why not add it to the noodles. That's part of the fun of making it yourself.

Additional Recipes:

See above for converting their measuring cups.

Egg Pasta

2 Pasta Chef cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon oil
warm water
Pour flour and salt into Pasta Chef mixing bowl. Break eggs into Pasta Che liquid measuring cup. Beat eggs with a fork until all yolks are broken. Add oil to eggs. If necessary, fill the cup to upper black line with warm water. Mix slightly. Follow mixing/extruding instructions.

No Egg Pasta

2 Pasta Chef cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon oil
warm water
Pour flour and salt into Pasta Chef mixing bowl. Put oil in liquid measuring cup. Add warm water to the upper black line. Follow mixing/extruding instructions.

Butter Cookies

1 Pasta Chef cup all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup (standard measuring cup) of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Attach cookie disc to Pasta Chef. Preheat oven to 375ºF.  Add all dry ingredients to Pasta Chef mixing bowl. Place cover on mixing bowl. Combine butter, water and vanilla. Turn on Pasta Chef. Slowly add the liquid. Mix for 3-4 minutes. Dough should be the consistency of small, pea-sized lumps. If you do not see small lumps, add 1 tablespoon hot water. If the dough forms very large lumps, add 1 tablespoon flour. Turn off Pasta Chef. Turn knob to extrude. Turn on machine. Dough should begin extruding within 1 minute. Cut off cookies to desired length. Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned.

Alfredo Sauce

1 pound pasta
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to chart (see above). Melt butter in a large skillet. Saute garlic until translucent. Add whipping cream and heat 1 minute, stirring occasionally (do not boil). Add cheese and remaining ingredients; stir well. Toss with pasta.
Note: The only other recipes included in the manual I am not including as you can find similar recipes in any cookbook. They are: Artichoke and Pepper Sauce and Classic Tomato Sauce.
The above is not the extent of the manual.
~Happy Cooking

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Pizza Hoagie

     When I was in college, I loved to go to DaVinci's. I've only ever found them in Ames, Iowa (home of Iowa State University) and Lincoln, Nebraska (home of University of Nebraska). My all-time favorite item on the menu are their  Pizza Hoagie's. Which is pepperoni covered in pizza sauce, melted mozzarella and sprinkled with romano cheese served hot on a hoagie roll. 
     I've experimented with trying to recreate it at home. Mine isn't exactly the same as theirs, but delicious just the same. The first thing I discovered is that the bread must be toasted first. If you don't, the bread just ends up soggy after you add the sauce. Almost any bread roll could be used for this. Use whatever you have. The only thing I wouldn't recommend is traditional sandwich bread as it's rather thin and spongy and wouldn't hold up to a lot of broiling and fillings. You could use bakery rolls in any shape, or even leftover hamburger or hot dog buns. I used 6 inch long steak rolls as it's what I had handy.
     Cut your roll in half, butter and toast lightly under the broiler. You want it crisp and light brown but not too toasty because it'll have to go back under the broiler once more and you don't want it to get too hard. 
     For the sauce, any spicy tomato sauce works. Use whatever you have leftover or on hand. Could be pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, or marinara sauce, store bought or homemade. Use as much pepperoni as you would like in your sandwich, whether that's a little or a lot. On their website Davinci's says they use romano cheese. I use traditional pizza cheese, ie. mozzarella. Today I used sundried tomato and basil mozzarella cheese, and spaghetti sauce as that's what I had in the house.

Pizza Hoagie

Hoagie bread roll

Cut bread roll in half. Do the following to the inside on both sides of the roll. Spread with butter and toast under the broiler. Spoon sauce and spread over roll. Top with pepperoni and cheese. Return to the broiler until the cheese is nice and bubbly and a little brown on top. Remove from oven. Carefully put both sides of the sandwich back together. Cut on the diagonal and serve hot.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Homemade taste from store bought packages and mixes

     Do you buy packages and mixes from the store for things like biscuits, muffins, cake, etc? At times, the mixes can be cheaper than baking from scratch (like when cake mixes fall to 89¢ each on sale.) You don't have to follow the mixing directions exactly however, and being a little creative can help the finished product taste more homemade. A few examples:
     Last week I made some banana nut muffins as an after school snack for my boys. I happened to have a couple package mixes in the cupboard. Each mix made 6 muffins. I mixed both up together to make a dozen muffins. The package called for nothing more than adding water to their mix, stir up, drop into a muffin pan and bake. Seeing as this was banana nut muffins, I added one banana for each package. I mashed the bananas, then added the mix. The package called for adding water. Depending on what's in my refrigerator I'll add milk even buttermilk. I added the amount of liquid called for on the mix but due to the added bananas it was still a little thick so added a couple more tablespoons of liquid til the consistency was right for the batter. Not too thick but not runny either. I added just a touch of mini-chocolate baking chips to the batter and stirred that in. Then filled the muffin tin and baked according to package directions. Tasted better than had I just added water as the package called for. In fact, my 3 sons loved them so much they ate the dozen muffins that same day!
    Today I'm using two packages of apple cinnamon muffin mix to bake up a dozen muffins. To boost their flavor and use up something in my pantry, I'm going to add a little unsweetened applesauce to the mix. I may need to reduce the amount of liquid called for due to the moisture in the applesauce. I'll sprinkle the top of the muffins with coarse Demerara Cane Sugar before baking.
    Do you have any leftover dry instant baby cereal? When my boys were little we got more infant cereal through WIC than they could actually eat. I googled online to see what others had done with the leftover cereal. If you're making muffins from scratch, you can replace about a third of the flour called for and replace it with the instant dry infant cereal flakes. It might be just slightly drier or heavier than usual, depending on how much you put in. Adjust the liquid in the recipe just a touch to compensate. Infant cereal is fortified with vitamins and minerals which you and your kids can take advantage of by adding them to the muffin mix. Infant rice cereal basically is tasteless so you can add it to anything. Infant oatmeal cereal works very well. My youngest is 6 and loves instant oatmeal with fruit for breakfast. However, if you make the oatmeal following directions (using either water or milk) it's always ends up with a runny consistency. I stir in just a touch of instant infant oatmeal cereal to thicken it up after it's cooked. The flakes dissolve almost instantly and thicken the oatmeal very nicely. And again, it adds those fortified vitamins and minerals to his breakfast.
    Last week when I prepared a mix for buttermilk pancakes, which called for mixing with water, since I had it on hand I used real buttermilk. I believe I had to add a little more mix than the directions called for to get the batter consistency right, but of course, they tasted great.
    You can add a little flavored extract to cake mixes. (Lemon or peppermint angel food cake anyone?) A touch of instant espresso powder will boost the chocolate flavor in cake or brownie mixes. Replacing the water called for with milk (skim, 2%, whole milk, even buttermilk) in biscuit or muffin mixes boosts the flavors. If you have a strip or two of leftover cooked bacon you could crumble it and add it to a biscuit mix when preparing it. Or you could put a little bit of shredded cheddar into the biscuit mix too for a bacon and cheddar biscuit. It just takes a little creativity and imagination to turn a prepared mix into something that tastes a little more homemade.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Grandmother's Rushmore's Wednesday Casserole ( Mashed Potato & Ham Casserole)

      I thought I would share with you a recipe I baked up last night for dinner. I consider it classic comfort food. It's not the quickest of recipes to make, but it's not a lot of work either.
   I originally found this recipe years ago in a book called At Grandmother's Table: Women Write about Food, Life and the Enduring Bond between Grandmothers and Granddaughters by Ellen Berkeley.  (I always make a note of the book title where I find a recipe). The book was very nice. It combined stories folks told about their grandmother's cooking, their kitchens, etc. along with sharing a favorite recipe of their grandmothers. I hope they don't mind that I'm reprinting the recipe below. (I read this as a library book back when I lived in Kansas. I just noticed from the Amazon insert that used copies of this book are available for as low as 76 cents for the hardcover plus shipping. I'm seriously tempted to get a copy for my home library at that price as I read it so long ago I'd love to read it again.)
   This recipe is titled Grandmother Rushmore's Wednesday Casserole. Over the years I've simplified it. I prefer it without the applesauce. I don't bother anymore with the milk or cream for glazing. It's perfectly fine with or without it. With it, it'll have a crunchier top. I also don't bother to measure anymore for this recipe. I simply make a very large portion of mashed potatoes. (NOTE: You cannot make this recipe with instant mashed potatoes that have been reconstituted. You must boil and mash real potatoes.) The recipe calls for just 1 cup of diced ham. I've added up to 3 cups of diced ham. Depends on the size dish your using. I simply put a thin layer of mashed potatoes across the bottom of the casserole dish, then a layer of diced ham that covers it completely, then top with more mashed potatoes and sprinkle paprika on top and toss in the oven for a half hour. For this recipe, I don't recommend a 9x13in casserole dish. Something smaller and taller works better, so you get a nice big scoop.  I use an 8 inch round roasting pan, but a 8in or 9in square dish would be fine too. Depending on your families preference, it would probably taste fine with shredded cheese sprinkled across the top as well.

Grandmother Rushmore's Wednesday Casserole

5 large potatoes
3 TBsp butter
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp sale
1 cup diced ham (boiled or baked)
3/4 cup applesauce
milk or cream for glazing

Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Peel and quarter the potatoes; boil them until tender. Mash them with a potato masher or electric mixer until smooth. With a fork, beat in the butter, milk, salt, and pepper. The potatoes should be slightly dry. In a large casserole dish, layer half the mashed potatoes, then all of the ham and applesauce. Top with the rest of the potatoes, brush with milk or cream, sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Serve to 4 to 6 people on Wednesdays (and other days, too.)

This is an easy recipe to make. It just takes a little time to peel, boil and mash the potatoes. While you're doing that, you can dice up the ham. It's a good way to use up leftover ham. As it's meat and potatoes, it's good comfort food. It doesn't use that much ham, the most expensive ingredient in it. It's a good way to stretch the protein as a little feeds a lot. Add a vegetable and dinner rolls, and you're all set for dinner tonight.