400g plain flour (or you can use 00 flour if preferred)
1 tsp salt
3 large eggs (160ml required), at room temperature
50–60ml (2 ½ - 3 tbs) water
3 tbs plain flour
500ml (3 cups) milk
2 cups (250g) grated cheese (we used a combination of tasty and gruyere)
fresh chopped parsley
salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
Attach the flat beater to the stand mixer. Place the flour, salt, eggs and 50ml of water into mixing bowl. Turn mixer to speed 2 and mix for 30 seconds. If mixture is too dry add the remaining water. The dough will just come together and look similar to dry, crumbly, large 'pebbles'.
The dough will not be moist or smooth. Attach the dough hook and knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes. The dough will not form a large ball but will be smoother and softer looking, still in the form of 'pebbles'. Turn off the mixer and bring the dough together with your fingertips to form 3 or 4 crumbly balls. Hand knead each dough ball for 1 minute or until smoother but still looking drier than standard pasta dough.
Note: Dough must be very dry to successfully extrude through the pasta press attachment and for the pasta to hold its shape. If the dough is too soft the shapes will not be defined and they will collapse. Attach the pasta press to the stand mixer with the macaroni plate. Turn the mixer to speed 6. Break off small balls of dough (walnut sized) and place 2 balls into the press.
Use the combo tool to help push the dough into the press. Be patient, the dough may take up to 10 seconds to come through the press. Trim the pasta at the desired length with the cutting arm and lay in a single layer on a lightly floured surface. Continue to add 1-2 balls of dough to the press at a time and extrude until all dough has been pressed.
The dough will move itself into the press, you will not need to push it in. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. Do not overcook. Drain well in a colander place into a large saucepan. Cover and keep warm. For the sauce Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the flour.
Cook, stirring for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk, whisking with a small whisk until the sauce is smooth. Stir gently until the mixture comes just to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the grated cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Pour cheese sauce over the pasta and stir until well coated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately sprinkled with chopped parsley. Variation: add crispy fried chopped bacon or pan fried mushrooms, chopped fresh tomato and roughly chopped baby spinach leaves for colour texture and a flavour boost.