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Kluski pasta is a type of pasta which is formulated to resemble home-made pasta. It is classically a dense egg noodle which can appear in lengths ranging from one inch (2.5 centimeters) to around four inches (10 centimeters). Some recipes call specifically for kluski pasta since they are meant to have a more earthy, home-made feel, while kluski pasta can also be used to replace homemade pasta in recipes which call for it.
The Weiss Noodle Company claims to have patented the kluski pasta design in the 1930s, and the company continues to produce a wide range of pasta products. The pasta is also associated with Amish cuisine, and many people in Amish country purchase their kluski pasta directly from the Amish. The pasta appears to have originated in Polish culture; “kluski” describes both filled dumplings and some types of pasta. It is certainly unwise to believe the claim that the pasta was invented in the 1930s, although the Weiss company may have perfected a kluski recipe.
Traditionally, kluski pasta is an egg noodle, which adds to the homemade feel, since many people who make pasta at home use egg in their recipes. It is also rolled out fairly thick, tending to make it more dense and chewy than other commercial egg noodles, which are sometimes pressed to be very thin before being cut. The narrow width makes kluski pasta useful in pasta dishes, soups, casseroles, and a range of other dishes; the variety in lengths makes this simple pasta very versatile as well.
In addition to being available in the form of dried pasta in many parts of the Midwest and in Amish country, kluski pasta can also be purchased in a fresh or frozen form, or even made at home. Frozen and fresh pastas have a shorter shelf life, but they tend to have more dynamic, rich flavors than dried pasta. Making kluski pasta at home is remarkably easy; you don't even need a special pasta machine to make it, since you can roll it out to the desired thickness with a rolling pin.
To make kluski pasta, mix up a batch of egg noodle dough of choice. This pasta is traditionally plain, but you can also add ingredients like dried spinach or chilies to make your pasta more flavorful. Roll the dough out to be as thin as possible with a rolling pin; remember that the pasta will expand as it is cooked. Use a sharp knife to slice thin strips of pasta and cook immediately or lightly toss in flour and refrigerate for up to one week. If you are using a pasta machine, roll the dough through on a high setting so that it stays thick, and use a thin cutting attachment or slice it yourself. You can also dry homemade kluski pasta on racks in a warm, dry place.
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