Ever fancied the idea of making your own fresh pasta at home but thought it looked too difficult? Or maybe you’ve heard that you can’t do it without an expensive pasta machine? Well, now you no longer need to put off making your own fabulous fresh pasta. The recipe below is easy and you don’t need a pasta machine!
That’s right, you can form your own homemade pasta with nothing more than a rolling pin and a sharp knife!
Bowl or Flat Surface
The first step in pasta making is learning how to make the dough. Traditionally, pasta dough is made from scratch on a flat surface, no bowls are used. If you think you’d prefer the old school method feel free to try it, the process is exactly the same as the recipe outlined below, but dispenses with the mixing bowl. The advantage of using a mixing bowl, though, especially for first time pasta makers, is that it saves an awful lot of mess.
The flour used for making pasta is of the utmost importance. You cannot just use standard plain flour and expect great pasta. To get proper texture and taste you have only two options: “Tipo 00″ flour (Tipo 00 is a measure of the flour’s fineness) or semolina flour. Either one of these flours will give good results – some pasta chefs use a half and half blend of both.
Pasta Dough Recipe
- 400 grams of Tipo 00 or semolina flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil (optional)
- ½ a teaspoon of salt
- Place the flour in the bottom of a wide, shallow mixing bowl.
- Form a deep well in the middle of the flour.
- Crack your eggs into this well.
- Add the salt and the olive oil to the eggs.
- Using a large fork, carefully whisk the eggs, salt and olive oil together until they are all combined and the mixture is a smooth, uniform colour. During this part of the process your aim is just to mix the eggs, not to mix in any of the flour. In effect, the flour is just acting as a container for the egg mixture.
- Once the eggs are thoroughly combined you can start to mix in the flour. Do this by slightly widening the strokes of your fork so that the flour begins to be drawn into the egg mix little by little. Patience is very important during this stage as one of the most important things about making pasta is achieving an absolutely uniform consistency.
- Continue to work the flour into the egg. The mixture will become increasingly stiff as more and more flour is absorbed. You’ll eventually reach a point where almost all the flour is blended and the mix is so stiff you can’t effectively use your fork anymore.
- Put your fork aside and work the remaining flour into the dough with your hands.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for five minutes. The dough will feel tacky at first but this should disappear as you knead. If the dough remains tacky just sprinkle it with a little extra flour during the kneading process.
- Your aim is to achieve a dough that is firm but still tender. You can tell when you’ve got to this stage by forming the dough into a ball and pressing it quickly with your fingers – if the dough springs back a little it’s the right consistency.
- Wrap your dough in cling film and set it aside for 15 minutes. You can put it in the fridge during this time, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. It’s the resting period that’s important, not the temperature.
Rolling Out the Pasta
Now comes the part that you probably always thought you needed one of those fancy pasta machines for. All you really need is a large surface, a rolling pin (the heavier the better) and a sharp knife.
Unwrap your ball of dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and begin to roll it out into a wide disk with your rolling pin. Roll the pin away from you to stretch the dough in one direction, then turn the dough 90˚ and roll again.
By repeating this process over and over you’ll form a nicely shaped disk of dough. Keep rolling until the dough is about 2 – 3 mm thick. Take your time, be patient and make sure you get an even thickness all over (very important).
Forming the Pasta
When you have rolled out your disk of pasta dough, take one side of it and lightly fold it over about 4 cm, then flip this portion again and repeat until you have rolled up the whole disk.
Take a sharp knife and, starting at one end of your “roll”, slice off disks of pasta. How thick you make these disks depends on the type of pasta you want. Linguine, say, will be abut 3 or 4 mm wide, while tagliatelle will be double this.
When you have sliced up all your pasta, unroll the disks into strands and place them in a loose heap. Sprinkle with a little semolina to prevent the pasta strands sticking to each other. Allow to sit for one hour before cooking.
And there you have it – great homemade pasta, fresher than fresh, that didn’t require any fiddly gadgets or expensive ingredients. All you have to do now is throw it into a large pot of boiling water, cook for about 3 minutes and serve with your favourite pasta sauce!
To learn more about making pasta at home check out this video.
Tags: Italian cuisine