penne-recipeWhen you want pasta for dinner, you usually just reach for a package. At least that’s what I’ve always done. Sometimes it’s penne with grated cheese, other times it’s linguine with Alfredo sauce, and more often than not, I choose freshly packaged organic pasta in the cold section over the dried pasta you can buy in bags.

But over the past week or so, I was sent the Philips Avance Pasta Maker to try out, and it seemed like the perfect time to make every type of pasta I could possible squeeze in. Last week on Shelly’s Friday Favourites I made lasagna in the WeMo Wi-Fi Slow Cooker, and I used fresh lasagna noodles from the Phillips Pasta Maker. This week I tried out spaghetti with tomato sauce and meatballs, and tonight I decided I was brave enough to try out the hardest noodle of all, penne.

Penne isn’t easy to make in a pasta maker because the dough has to be come out just so, and I’ve seen people roll it by hand but I honestly wasn’t sure how it would come out in the pasta maker.

10363939_4 copy.jpgWith my first attempt, I tried to follow the Philips recipe and make beet flavoured penne. You can’t beat the red color for getting kids interested in their dinner, and it’s always great if you can squeeze vegetables in them when they don’t know they are there.

But after two tries, I couldn’t manage to get the dough right, and it wouldn’t turn into proper penne noodles.One round was too sticky, the other too dry, and although the Philips Avance Pasta Maker has enough force to push noodles through and shape them, the noodles that came out weren’t quite what I was hoping for.

I don’t give up easily though, and my third try was just with organic white flour, egg, and water. Although they weren’t the perfect penne tubes I’ve had with store-bought pasta, there were penne tubes! The shape didn’t matter though, because this batch was the best tasting pasta out of all the recipes I tried this week.

Want to see the Philps Pasta Maker in action? Take a look at my Vine video:

If you’re ready to make penne now, here’s the recipe for Penne Alfredo I whipped up tonight:

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Ingredients:

1 batch penne noodles made with the Philips Avance Pasta Maker
2 medium size chicken breasts
1/2 cup butter
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup half and half

 

 

Directions

After making the penne noodles as per directions on the Philips Pasta Maker, you cook them for approximately 12 minutes or until they float to the top of the boiling water.

While noodles are cooking, dice two medium size chicken breasts and fry in small frying pan until cooked all the way through. Once chicken and penne is cooked, work on the Alfredo sauce.

Alfredo Sauce:

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Add cream cheese and stir until mostly combined. Add half and half and Parmesan cheese; stir. Remove from heat and let thicken (1-2 minutes).

Combine chicken, penne noodles, and Alfredo sauce in the same saucepan you cooked the noodles in and dinner is served.

When you’re combining your penne noodles and alfredo sauce, remember you can add ingredients to customize it. I added some fresh spinach to my penne, and for the kids I added a dash of pasta sauce to give it the alfredo a little tomato taste.

The beauty of penne is that you can change it up to suit whoever you’re cooking for.

If you decide to make regular pasta in your pasta maker, you can expect your pasta dinner to be quick and easy. But if you try to add a flavour or vegetable to your pasta-making, you just may be experimenting for a while. I was, but that’s OK, because experimenting is part of what makes cooking fun.

I’ve loved my adventures in pasta making with the Philips Pasta Maker this past week. If you’d like to see what types of homemade pasta you can whip up in your kitchen, pop over and take a look at it now. I hope you have as much fun creating pasta as much as I have.

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Make your own pasta sauce by crushing tomotoes with the Norpro Chinois, Stand and Wood Pestle

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Kitchen fun starts with specialty appliances like the Philips Pasta Maker

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Don’t forget about the strainer!