I want my first blog post to dispel any fears or hesitations about making your own fresh pasta. So here we go…
At the minimum, you need two ingredients: flour and eggs…
At the simplest: use all purpose flour (this is just the regular white flour you use to bake with). If you want to get your fancy on, try semolina flour–it will give the pasta this yellowish color. I use Bob’s Red Mill semolina flour. Semolina flour is more coarse and marginally harder to mix with the eggs than all purpose flour, but will help your sauce stick to your pasta once cooked. For first-timers, I suggest starting with all purpose flour!
- all purpose flour
Making the dough.
I use this general guideline to start: about 1 cup of flour for every 1 egg (get fancy: about 2 cups of flour for every 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks). About 1 cup of flour = 1 serving.
Begin by placing flour on a large, clean surface. Create a hole in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into the hole. I like to add a pinch of salt before mixing. Using a fork, beat the eggs in the middle and slowly start incorporating the flour in. When you added about half the flour, you can put the fork down and get your hands dirty. Start kneading the dough mostly with your palms.
Once the eggs are fully incorporated, you can add more flour if its too sticky or add another egg if it's too dry. Continue this process until the consistency hits the "sweet spot" between too dry and too sticky.
Let it Rest.
Roll the dough into a ball, then let the dough rest for at least half an hour. This is important! Don't skip this step. Check your Instagram...like my food pictures.
Let it Roll.
The real task here is to make the pasta dough and rolling it out very thin. It's possible to roll it out without the use of a pasta maker but it's truly an arm workout using a rolling pin and time intensive to get the dough thin enough.
Let it Rest...Again.
I like to let the pasta rest again on a towel (you can use a clean dish towel or a sheet). You can leave it all day if you'd like, but about half an hour is safe.
Time to Cook.
Start by boiling water in a large pot with salt (I use the larger, grained kosher salt). Fresh pasta doesn't need nearly as much time in the boiling water as dry pasta. Start checking it after about 2 minutes.
Toss with your favorite sauce and enjoy! Practice makes perfect. The first time is usually a learning experience so don't plan a big dinner party your first time.
Tip: To help with the mixing, leave the eggs out at room temperature for about half an hour.
Tip: Roll your dough thinner than you want it to look like when it's cooked because fresh pasta, unlike boxed, will expand when cooked.
Tip: Take a piece of pasta out and run it under cold water before tasting it to avoid burning your mouth.
I bought this simple, affordable pasta maker on Amazon currently on sale for $33.95 from $64.95:
The front rolls the dough and the back cuts the dough into two sizes: fettuccine or spaghetti. It works really well for the price–I don’t plan on replacing it anytime soon!
If using a pasta maker, you want to pass through the roller some “practice” dough to clean the rollers…and then throw this dough out. Do the same with the back portions that cut the pasta. Start by putting some flour on the rollers so the pasta doesn’t stick. If using a rolling pin, toss some flour on your surface and some extra on the rolling pin itself.