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Monday
Nov072011

Making Fresh Pasta

I'm going to be showing you lots of fresh pasta recipes this next year and I hope you will cook right along with me. Fresh homemade pasta is truly a fun thing to make and has so many creative possibilities.  And you can make it at a moment's notice - who doesn't have eggs and flour in their kitchen?  I've posted about making fresh pasta before, but I wanted to do an update and include a video to show you just how easy it is.  I know when people can see something being made they are more likely to try it.  So the video within this post may inspire you to make the leap!

There is no one correct recipe for fresh pasta.  In Italy, different regions have different ways of making it. Some places only use eggs and flour and others use only water and flour.  Some cooks add a little salt and olive oil, some do not.  You will have to experiment and decide what pasta recipe you like.  How do I like to make mine? I basically make my pasta the way they do in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy - with just fresh eggs and flour. 

 

for a printable version of the pasta recipe, click here

Although you can certainly use the eggs you buy in the grocery store and good old plain All Purpose flour, if you want to take your pasta to the next level, you can use superior ingredients - after all, if there are only two ingredients in fresh pasta, why not make them the best?  If you can, buy fresh farm eggs.  The yolks are richer and darker in color - your pasta will be better tasting and golden.  Try to let your eggs come to room temperature because it will make the dough easier to work.  For the flour, Italian 00 flour is a special treat, as it makes a very delicate pasta.  Italian 00 flour is very finely milled flour, high in protein and soft as a baby's bottom.  I love fettuccine, especially, made from this flour. 

Another way I make fresh pasta sometimes is to use half regular flour and half durum semolina flour. When I make pastas that I want to have a little more "tooth" to them, as when I make ravioli, I will sometimes make this pasta. The semolina flour is harder than regular flour.  It takes a little more kneading but is worth the effort. If you use some semolina flour in your pasta dough, you will have to add either more eggs to the dough or, as I do, just add a little water in to make the dough more workable.  These are all things that you can experiment with and see what you like - pasta dough is hard to mess up.  Semolina flour is not that hard to find - you can find it now in a lot of grocery stores  - Bob's Red Mill actually sells one, also. 

fresh tomato and plain fettuccine
 

Making flavored pastas is easy, too.  The tomato pasta above just has a little bit of tomato paste added to the dough.  That's it.  The video in this post shows how to make spinach pasta by just steaming a little bit of fresh spinach and making the dough with that.  For spinach pasta, it's better to make the dough in a food processor because it blends the spinach a little better than by hand (although you can certainly do it by hand - just chop the spinach very finely before adding it to the dough).  There are all kinds of flavors you can add to pasta once you master the basic plain pasta - peppered pasta, beet pasta, saffron pasta, herb pasta, and on and on. If you make flavored pastas that use moist or wet ingredients like tomato paste or spinach, you will need to add a bit more flour until you get a dough that is not too sticky. 

 

Watch how easy it is to make fresh pasta:

 

 

When I make fresh pasta, if I am only making it for 2 or 3 people, I will make the dough by hand (as shown in the video).  Just mound the flour on your counter, create a well in the middle and break your eggs into it. Whisk the eggs with a fork and start incorporating the flour until it has all been added. A pastry scraper makes this process a lot easier, allowing you to scrape up the dough. If you have a regular sized stand mixer, you can make the dough in that, if you prefer.  Add the eggs into the bowl and mix them with the dough hook a little - and then start adding your flour until it mixes up into a nice dough.  If I have a larger batch of pasta dough to make, I always make it in my KitchenAid mixer

 

My basic recipe for the pasta dough is about 1 egg to every 3/4 cup of flour.  Of course, this will vary on how big the egg is, how fresh, and what kind of flour I'm using.  So it's just a starting point.  I may add just a little water to the dough if I think it's too dry.  If you would like a richer pasta for a special occasion, add more egg yolks to the dough.  It will be wonderful. 

After you make the dough, it must rest a little.  Wrap the dough in a piece of floured plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for about 20 to 30 minutes.  It will be easier to roll out.  

There are different ways to roll out the dough and I prefer, of course, the easiest method - my KitchenAid pasta rollers, which you can see in action in the video.  I used an Atlas hand crank machine many years ago, and that is absolutely fine but if you have a stand mixer, get the pasta rollers and cutters attachment and you will be making pasta even faster.  The machine simply cranks the rollers for you, which lets you have an extra hand.  If you don't have a KitchenAid mixer but would still like motorized pasta rollers, the Imperia Pasta Presto machine is fantastic and comes with many different cutters - more than the KitchenAid.  This is what I would buy if I did not have my KitchenAid. The most difficult way to roll out the dough is by hand with a rolling pin.  If you want to do that, it is a technique that takes a lot more effort but you may find it satisfying.  I prefer the machine.

Rolling out the pasta is not hard - you will get the hang of it pretty quickly.  After the pasta has rested, cut off a piece about the size of the palm of your hand. Adjust the pasta rollers to #1, the widest setting, and put the pasta through.  Make sure you flour the pasta dough lightly so that it doesn't stick to the rollers.  After the dough comes through the rollers, fold it into thirds and pass it through the #1 slot again.  Do this a couple of more times. The pasta will become very soft and velvety.  Adjust the rollers to the next thinnest setting, #2, and put the pasta through.  Do not fold the pasta this time.  Keep passing it through the rollers, adjusting them thinner, until you reach the thickness you like.  I usually stop at #5 or #6 (for ravioli, I never go beyond #5 because it will be too thin).   As you pass the pasta through narrower settings, the pasta may become sticky again - keep lightly flouring it.

 

 

At this point, you now have fresh pasta sheets that you can make homemade lasagna with.  After rolling out the pasta sheets, they must dry just a little on the counter if you want to make a cut pasta, like linguini or fettuccine.  If you cut them before they have dried a little, the cutters will not cut them cleanly through. Dry them too much, however, and they will be brittle.  

After your pasta has been cut, I have found that the best way to store them pasta is on a rimmed sheet pan. Toss the pasta with a little flour so it does not stick.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until you cook it.  I usually make the pasta in the morning but I have even made it the day before I needed it and it has done just fine in the fridge.  It will stay supple and not become brittle, if you refrigerate it.  Toss the pasta every once in a while with a little more flour, just to make sure it doesn't become sticky.

This recipe (1 egg + 3/4 cup flour) produces about 5 to 6 ounces of fresh pasta.  It is easily doubled, tripled, etc.   

To cook the pasta, boil it for only about two minutes in a large pot of salted water.  

 

 

Never wash your pasta rollers - this will ruin them.  Just wipe with a paper towel.  If you feel you need to wash them because there are bits of dough stuck to them, then your dough was too wet. Remember to keep your dough lightly floured and it will not stick to your rollers or cutters.

Now get out there and make some pasta! 

 

Next pasta recipe:  Straw & Hay, a dish made with plain and spinach pasta.

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Reader Comments (81)

Thank you. Great post! I can't wait to try my hand at making pasta.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie O'

Fabulous video, I love spinach pasta, and had no idea how easy it was to make. Time to get the pasta accessories for my Kitchen Aid. Will definately make this soon.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCooking with Gill

I haven't made fresh pasta for several years- this has inspired me to dust off my pasta roller and make some this morning- my three sons and husband will *love* it! You consistently have wonderful recipes and I have tried and enjoyed many of them! Thank you!

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

I love homemade pasta. We make it all the time, but lately, I'm trying to cut the carbs. However, you have reinspired me to get out the kitchen aid and make some green noodles. Looks so home and comfort good.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterangela@spinachtiger

perfect timing! I'm taking a Pasta Workshop in a few days, and I'm so excited about making my own pasta! I have a Kitchen Aide mixer, just need to get the rollers and cutters.
I'm looking forward to more of your pasta tips!

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

Oh, yes!!! I want to make pasta NOW!!! To be honest, I have a pasta roller and cutter for my KitchenAid mixer on my Christmas wish list. With those attachments, I hope I can make good pasta, too!! Thanks for the inspiration and love the video. It is a pleasure to actually see the pasta being made...

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjimmye

As usuall you are just wonderful on your recipes, I have the Kitchen Aid attachments and just love it.

What I do is add the egg and Semolina flour with a little water if dry. The best thing is that when I put the pasta thru the Fettuccini attachment andafter going thru the numbers starting at number 2 the last number 5. I take the Fettuccini and roll it up like a circle, place them in layers between parchment paper in a container with a cover and freeze them. Any time I have unexpected company I just take out the amount I am serving for dinner and put them in boiling water. This takes 1 to 2 min. to cook. This make wonderful Fettuccini Alfredo or regular red sauce.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarmella Mitrano

What an excellent post Elaine! Peter and I just started making fresh pasta together this year after we took a pasta cooking class together at Sur La Table. It was so much fun! My family made fresh pasta often, but I had never really tried it myself, so I feel so proud to have learned how to continue one of my many Italian food traditions. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFlavia

Wonderful!
I haven't made fresh pasta in a while, my last "experiment" was a bit of a failure, and I wonder if you could give me some advice

I tried to make a beet pasta, and in its uncooked stage it looked gorgeous, but the moment I cooked it, the color faded away almost completely - do you know if there's a trick to preserving that beautiful purple tone? I wonder if it's just a matter of adding more of the puree to start with.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSallyBR

SallyBR: Yes, unfortunately, that beautiful bright pink fades away some when you cook the beet pasta. I wish it weren't so! I don't know how much of the beet you added. Try it again with a little more beet - just grate a little cooked beet this time. Add about 1 tablespoon per 3/4 cup of flour. It should retain some color.

November 7, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Your blog is something. I love the recipes.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfood,peopleanddesign

Please will you tell me where I can puchase the Italian 00 Flour?

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulianna

Great! I look forward to making some pasta together. This was just the push I needed to purchase the Kitchenaid pasta attachment. Now, if I could only find some farm fresh eggs, I'd be in EGG-cellent shape :)

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna A.

From The Italian Dish:

Julianna: I have a link to it in the post. Just click on it. Also, you can google "Italian 00 flour" and you will get a ton of sources.

November 7, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I would love to make my own pasta noodles someday.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSook

Thank you so much for this post! I'm expanding my kitchen skills, and making fresh pasta is the next thing on my list of things to do, but I've been putting it off because it's something I've never done before and never seen done. You know, the fear of the unknown! Your post is timely and informative for me, and eases my stress about starting something new. I even feel encouraged to go ahead and get started! Thanks again!

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

You make me want to go make pasta NOW. :)

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrancesca

This was well written and easy to follow. I love the addition of the video as well as the anticipation of the next pasta recipe.
I make my pasta very similar and use all the same rules as you do. However I have yet to try flavored pasta as I cannot quite sense the flavors coming through once I marry it with a sauce. I do however think it adds great color to a dish and will try it out this week.

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterZelda

Now I really do want to make pasta - and buy a Kitchenaid! GG

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlamorous Glutton

Thanks - could not reply under your reply, so added it here...

I will try adding more beet, in fact I have some of the beet puree saved in the freezer, might as well give it a second chance!

thanks again...

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSallyBR

Thanks for all the great tips. I received the pasta roller attachments for my kitchenaid mixer for my birthday (last January), and after making my first batch I was hooked. I actually find running the dough through the rollers is quite relaxing for me. The taste of freshly made pastas are far superior to the dry stuff we buy in the stores, and I make fresh pasta about 1x a week. I was thinking of giving fresh pasta as gifts for our friends and neighbors this Christmas (I'm not big on sweets). We will see how that works out. I'm excited to see what you have in store this next year.
Thanks for the information too. The pasta making manual wasn't very helpful when my pasta wasn't cutting all the way through. Now I know why! Thanks again, I always love reading your new posts and trying your recipes.

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Greetings! This is something I've been so tempted to try at home but just haven't. Plus, I usually buy whole wheat pasta. Have you had any luck with findings any whole wheat semolina? I've got a favorite brand (Delallo) that uses whole wheat semolina and it is just delicious. I would love to try making it at home. Lovely and very informative post. Thank you!

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLuv'n Spoonfuls

From The Italian Dish:

Luv'n Spoonfuls: You absolutely can make homemade pasta with whole wheat flour. I have used white whole wheat flour from King Arthur and it's great.

November 8, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

The color of the tomato pasta is so beautiful! I really enjoy your blog, I 'stumbled' upon it about a year ago.

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterrachel

Thanks for the push to make pasta - I will try this out on my boyfriend on the weekend!

Now, I am in need of a good alfredo sauce recipe - can you or anyone else out there help me out?

Thanks!

November 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersusan

Terrific post. Loved the video - very professionally done. You make me want to get moving on making pasta - and I shall this week.

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterciaochowlinda

I had a "hankering" for fresh pasta today and told the little voice to go away. But now - after reading this - the little voice is back! Delicious posting!

November 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClaudia

Such a well-explained process. I'm surely gonna try it. Thanks!

November 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Wieners

Hi Elaine,
Which number (on the machine) do you stop at when rolling out the dough sheets for tagliatelle? I'm guessing 3 or 4?
Thanks!

November 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDianna

From The Italian Dish:

Dianna: Yes, for tagliatelle, I wouldn't roll the dough out to #5 on my machine, but #4. However, you have to figure out how thin your pasta rollers make the dough. Different brands are slightly different.

November 23, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

This post has finally inspired me to make my own fresh pasta! Thank you so much - it's wonderful and so easy. Now I just need to get the pasta attachments for my KA. I did my first two batches by hand today and I definitely need to do this more often. Can't wait to try different flavor additions!

November 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanine

I just started making pasta. Thanks for this tutorial.

December 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

I just love your blog and look forward to new entries each month. I have a large KA and I also have the pasta rollers and my husband and I plan to make pasta to give as Christmas gifts. I'd like for it to be dried but not sure how long it takes to dry fettuccine that has been rolled to #5 on the Kitchen-aid roller or for bowties that have also been rolled to #5 and handmade. Could you give me some guidance here? Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGale

WHERE! Do you get those wonderful pasta stamps for the product at the top of your website?

Thanx

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCurt

From The Italian Dish:

Curt: You can find the post on Corzett at http://tinyurl.com/ydjz68x. I have links to sources within the post. Also, if you read through the comments on that post, readers have included more links to sources. Hope this helps.

December 6, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

made pasta for the first time it was a bit of a failure. I followed directions for semolina poasta. When I tried to roll it out and make a sheet, it keep tearing, was not a uniform sheet like the video, ont sure how to get the dough not too wet or not too dry. If it was too thin is just had holes, sometimes it fell apart in shreds. I need help and advice.

December 31, 2011 | Unregistered Commentereric c

From The Italian Dish:

Eric: It sounds to me as if your pasta dough was too dry. This can cause it to have holes and fall apart as it rolls through the rollers. As long as you could not see the pasta sticking badly to the rollers, this was probably the case. The next time you make it, add the flour little by little at the end until you get a dough that is not dry but does not stick to your hands. Make sure to wrap it in plastic and let the dough rest 20 minutes. When you pass the dough through the rollers, make sure if it's a little sticky to sprinkle flour as you go. Try again. It just takes a little practice and you will get the feel for it. Let me know!

January 1, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Great post! I have just bought the pasta attachment for my Kenwood mixer, so I'll give it a go with your recipe and video. Thank you. GG

January 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlamorous Glutton

A rule of thumb my Mom taught me for how much pasta to make is one egg per person. If it turns out to be too much who doesn't like leftovers? The noodles also freeze well if you end up making more than you will cook all at once, but don't leave in freezer too long a couple of months is the max.You will want to put them in the freezer for an hour or so on a sheet pan to prevent from freezing into a huge ball then bag and remove as much air as possible. I also have to roll mine out with a rolling pin but I found a really good noodle cutter at a local cookware warehouse and I am happy with it. Thanks for the great tips on the flavored pastas I am eager to try them out. Have a great year.

January 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Hello Elaine,
firstly, thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and ideas with us and your food photography is great.
I have been baking all of my own bread for the past year (and will never go back) and I now know it's time to start making my own pasta too. Every now and then our whole family get together to make huge batches of ravioli but that's as far as it goes. I now know it's time! I'm about to log on to Amazon to buy an attachment for my Kenwood. Keep up the good work.
Health and happiness for the new year.

Jane

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane

so I have perfected my fetucinni, egg noodles and spaghetti now I am making rigatoni using the extruder from kitchenaid, I tried 2 parts semolina and 1 part flour rather than 1/2 and 1/2 and it is too heavy and gluteny, the 1/2 and 1/2 seems to work with all types any thoughts on the amount of semolina?

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereric c

how do you handle fresh rigatoni w/o it flattening as you cut it fromt he extruder?

January 25, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereric c

From The Italian Dish:

Eric: Personally, I feel pastas like rigatoni should be the commercial dried variety. I am familiar with that pasta extruder and I don't like it much. I think other pastas lend themselves to being made fresh. The key to using that extruder is to have a pretty dry dough - if it's sticky at all, it won't work. Semolina or even rice flour makes a good dusting on it to help prevent from sticking.

Good luck!

January 27, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Amazing.
I received the kitchenaid rollers and cutters for Christmas and have made several batches using your recipe and instructions. The results have been fantastic. Thank you!
I've been using Italian '00' so far and I'm about to experiment with semolina. I'm curious if I'm kneading the dough the proper amount. I think it would help me to know what the purpose of kneading the dough is and what the intended results should be like. I'm using the dough hook on the kitchenaid, can you suggest an appropriate amount of time I should knead?
Lastly, is the cooking time with semolina the same as with '00'?
Thanks again, I LOVE your blog!

January 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

Thank you for the video...My hubby bought me a 6 qt kitchenaid for our first anniversary and I love it...and I have debated on the pasta attachment...now I know for sure that I want one. Now to talk hubby into it. It is on my list. thank you again

February 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPenny

hello Elaine, I made the honeymoon ravioli and homemade pasta with a wild mushroom sauce last night, Simply delicious. It was fun to impress friends with fresh pasta. I used some of the ravioli and deep fried it with italian bread crumbs and buttemilk batter,served with homemade marinara for an appetizer, those were fabulous. Thank you again for all of your cooking and baking tips.

March 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersuzette Ludka

From The Italian Dish:

Suzette: Wow - I am totally impressed! Way to go! I love it when people take a recipe and make it their own.

March 24, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

My xmas gift was a 7 qt Cuisinart which ONLY has an extruding attachment. I feel the same way...let them extrude rigatoni! So my solution was to motorize my Atlas crank handle. (bought on Amazon, where else).
However, I wanted to mention that I have always used corn flour to dust the pasta generously and layer with waxed paper in a gift box for freezer storage.
BTW ever since discovering this site I have visited every day! Just love everything about it. Thanks so much for lending such a high level of integrity to simple Italian cooking.

April 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel Citrino

i am soooo glaaaddd i found this blog! thank you! keep it up :)

July 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterruby

That's a great post. It's so nice to step out of the industrialized world and truly make your own food. One question, though: I am a vegan and I can find many brands of pasta that uses no eggs (I live in Brazil). Is it simple to make pasta without eggs? What do you think about it?

September 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFabio

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