We have wanted to make fresh pasta for many years. We only dabbled in rustic pastas due to not wanting to invest in a pasta roller and cutter. This all changed when we found a pretty good one on clearance. We decided that a manual one would fit our needs better, though we could have gotten one to attach to our stand mixer.
Making pasta is actually much simpler than you may think. You only need 3 ingredients:
- 2 Cups Unbleached Flour
- 3 Eggs
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
First off, make sure your assistant has all of her equipment ready.
Place your flour into a mound and form a cup in the center. Add your 3 eggs and salt to the flour cup. As you can see here, I did not make my cup big enough and my eggs overflowed. I won’t make that mistake again as it was a PITA! Using a fork, whisk the eggs. Slowly work the eggs into the flour from the center out.
Using a dough knife, fold the egg and flour mixture into itself until it has thoroughly combined. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball. I quickly found out that my dough was too wet as it glued my hands together. I slowly added flour until the dough was workable.
Using the palm of your hand, kneed the dough for at least 5 minutes.
Form a ball with the dough. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Cut it into 3 pieces and form those into smaller balls.
Press the dough flat about 1/2 inches thick using the palm of your hand. Make sure both sides are floured.
Starting at the largest thickness, run your dough through the pasta roller.
Use one hand to carefully pull the dough along, being careful not to stretch it.
Decrease the thickness by one level each pass until your reach your desired thickness. I was making fettuccini, so I took it down to level 2 on my machine. After each pass, if the pasta gets sticky, sprinkle on a small amount of flour.
Make sure both sides of your pasta are floured otherwise you will be scraping it off of your workspace.
Run the dough through the cutter die. It helps to have a second hand to pull the cut pasta along.
Make sure your pasta has enough flour (preferably semolina) on it to not stick to itself. We were going to be cooking ours soon so we just cut it to lengths that would fit on a cookie sheet and let it sit out. If you plan on using your pasta in the future, you might want to hang it to dry for a couple hours before refrigerating or freezing it.
Cook your pasta in lightly salted, boiling water for around 5 minutes, until it reaches your desired chewiness. Keep in mind, if you plan on tossing it with sauce, over heat, you may want to undercook it some so it doesn’t end up overcooking in your sauce. Make sure you remove it from the water as soon as it is done or it will continue to cook. You might also want to run some cold water over it to stop it from cooking any further.
Toss your pasta with your favorite sauce and enjoy! We had a basil-almond pesto, in the freezer, we had made a couple months ago. If anyone is interested, we can do a post on making pest sometime. Pesto doesn’t have to be the over-garlicy crap you get at the grocery store. We are hoping to make some ravioli next time; perhaps tortellini if we can get down the technique.