Why make homemade pasta instead of boiling water and tossing in the boxed variety? Satisfaction of making a homemade meal, from scratch, just like Nonna used to make (that is if you were lucky enough to have a nonna like this!) or because you want to be the nonna/nonno who is able to do this for your family, because let’s face it, homemade is just better and we are all better off knowing how to make fresh pasta. Better still, homemade pasta is so chewy and flavorful and probably simpler than you believed. When done right, it cooks up so quickly that dinner will be ready in no time.
If you’ve got all-purpose flour and eggs in your fridge you’ve got the makings of pasta. You could obsess over the perfect combination of these two ingredients, but you don’t have to, because the Italian rule of thumb is 100g of flour to 1 egg. So that’s roughly 3/4 c of flour to one egg. It’s not an exact science so don’t fret.
How to get started
Make a flour well
Try channeling your elementary school volcano project and build a volcano of flour and create a “well” in the center. Pour your eggs and yolks into the well (you can also blend them beforehand to save time). Mix the eggs with a fork and when well blended, begin folding in the flour to the eggs with a fork or if you are feeling adventurous, your hands. Combine ingredients well until a solid dough forms.
Spread a good amount of flour onto a large flat surface and begin working the dough. Turn over the dough for about 15 minutes to work out any air bubbles in the dough.
The stretchy, chewy nature of pasta is thanks to the gluten in flour. Kneading helps to form the “gluten net,” and allowing dough to rest helps these bonds to relax so rolling will be easier (imagine if you tried to roll it out immediately it would be like trying to roll a rubber band). You don’t need to let the dough rest for a long period of time, but resting is good. So wrap up your dough in some cling wrap, grab a good book, and let the dough do its thing for around a half an hour or so.
Fresh handmade pasta can be turned out using a pasta machine, but when you don’t have one a good ole rolling pin will do the trick. You want to roll the pasta out to around 1mm thick, or basically as thin as you can make it. If you are rolling it through a pasta machine, turn the number down each time you run the dough through (eg. starting at 7 working your way down to 1) to obtain the thinnest dough possible.
Choose your shape
Making the basic pasta types: spaghetti, fettucini, pappardelle is simple to do with a knife, and also possible on the pasta machine. If you are wanting to branch out and make some other shapes, this handy video will guide you through it.
When your pasta is ready to go, why not give one of these recipes a try?
Good luck and buon appetito!