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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 (85)

From The Italian Dish:

Suzette and Ruby: Thanks!
Fabio: There are actually many regions in Italy where they do not use eggs in their pasta! Eggs simply make it richer and tastier, but you can make pasta with just water and flour. Give it a try and see if you like it.

September 9, 2012 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

As I left work today, I began craving homemade pasta. However, my past attempts two attempts didn't work out very successfully. I came to your site, which I love, to see what tips you could provide. Let me tell you, your tip about allowing the rolled pasta to dry a bit before cutting with rollers made all the difference! I'm so excited that my pasta-making was finally a success. Guess third time is a charm!

November 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

I am on very high protein diet due to bariatric surgery and do not handle meat well since my gallbladder was removed. I would like to make fresh pasta but increase the protein content with an unflavored whey powder. Any suggestions as to the ratio of flour to protein powder and type of flour to use? I am also type 2 and need it to be as low glycemic as possible since I can only consume no more than 3-4 oz in a meal. I would also like to make pastas using spinach or tomato or beet "flour" - I love veggie based pasta.

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKimberly

Hi

I love your posts and I love cooking, I just can't believe I am new to pasta making!! My husband bought the pasta rollers for my Kitchen Aid and the first attempt I had great results (even though I say it myself), so no more shop bought pasta. Just one question, how many times do you fold the dough in thirds throughout the whole process of rolling, is it just the first few times you pass it through on the widest setting?

Many thanks for the great recipes!

January 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Fantastic instruction, very well written so even the worst of us at cooking can follow. Thanks very much.

February 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon W

All of these variations look so appetizing! I've made homemade pasta before with just water and flour to make tortellini, sealing the pasta closed with a bit of egg. There's always a great, accomplished feeling you get when you make your own pasta from scratch and finally sit down to enjoy it. Your instructions/explanations are great, I will definitely have to try out some of your recipes before I go on my trip to Italy! Thanks!

February 22, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

My first attempt making pasta was a awful, after reading this recipe and watching the video I made it again and to my delight it was wonderful!!! Using the Tip 00 flour and the best free range eggs makes a world of difference, it was amazing!! My local Italian made pasta with a hint of lemon, I did the same, just squeezed half a fresh lemon into the eggs, it has a very subtle taste and goes well with fresh pesto

March 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDawn O

Thank you for the pasta machine recommendations. I have been looking for a hand crank one because the electric ones are too expensive for me, and was waiting to find a good recommendation on one...so thank for the info! This one has an excellent review---!!!

March 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterShelly

Wonderful post. And you have given the best advice. I think the thing about making pasta is that there is no one 'right way' and that you have to work with your preferred recipe, ingredients, shape, method/machine often enough to be familiar with the feel and behaviour of the dough to have success. Great you have inspired so many people, me included! Grazie!

April 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Thanks for teaching me how to make fresh pasta. Would you please tell me for how many minutes I should cook them?

April 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSebnem Apaydin

From The Italian Dish:

Sebnem: That is the very last line of the post. Two minutes.

April 23, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I'm going to try making fresh pasta using your recipe...and roll it really thin into large lasagna sheets. Is it absolutely necessary to pre-boil the noodles before assembling the lasagna or will there be enough moisture in the sauce to cook the noodles during the baking process?

May 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoz

Does anyone know where to get the pasta cutter shown in this youtube video from RAI -- the Italian TV station?

It has a wood handle and cuts a fresh sheet of lasagna into 4 one-inch strips.

Thanks,

I've tried Fantes and looked on line but I can't find it.

Thanks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIRngM2mSys

July 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTJ

there is nothing better than fresh handmade pasta! I used to do it with my nonna...unfortunately nowadys I don't have a lot of time to make it so often... But occasionally I do and it's really worth making the effort! :)

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLukas

Do you have any suggestions on gluten-free pasta making. My sister has Celiac's disease and cannot have wheat flour, so I need ideas on alternative flours

August 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSandi N

Great post! The pasta maker definitely makes the process a whole lot easier. I bought mine for my restaurant here : Pasta Maker

September 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChristian Lee

I loved your post. I have ordered the pasta rollers just now and can't wait to give them a try!

Do you know of a gluten free recipe by any chance to use with the pasta rollers? My daughter has to be gluten free. I have made noodles by hand but it is not the easiest. I would love to make spaghetti noodles for her!

Thanks so much for all the great information!!

September 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl

From The Italian Dish:

Cheryl: Shauna over at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef has a recipe she has developed for making gluten-free fresh pasta: http://glutenfreegirl.com/2011/07/gluten-free-fresh-pasta/

Hope this helps.

September 30, 2013 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Really detailed post. I like pasta and I am making it with manual pasta maker. Will try your recipe for sure.
Thanks!

December 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLuka

My husband and children bought me the set of 3 pasta rollers for my kitchenaid mixer for Christmas because I have been wanting it FOREVER and have been making my own egg noodles since last year. So far I have used it twice and keep thinking that I need a book titled: "So I bought the pasta attachments for my kitcheaid mixer now what?" I literally just googled that and found your website! THANK YOU! YOUR VIDEO WAS AMAZING and I feel totally inspired to just wing it for now and make my own dough who needs a recipe! I really appreciate you taking the time to make a blog that is helping me.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

From The Italian Dish:

Sheila: That's awesome! You made my day. Thanks.

January 5, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I still have to test my pasta machine. This looks so great, I think I'm going to try it tomorrow ;)

January 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterriti

Making pasta today. Snowed in. Thanks for great recipes. How do I figure out how much to make to serve 8 hungry Italians

February 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterElaine too!

From The Italian Dish:

Elaine: the one-egg recipe feeds two people. If I were cooking for eight people, I would make a four or five egg pasta. That should do it.

February 15, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

ok i need to know when can i use 00 flour (meaning pizza dough, breads, pasta, all types of sweet
baking).

i have people telling me to use 00 flour only for pizza dough and breads never for baking then i have people telling me the oppisite.

March 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlucille

From The Italian Dish:

Lucille: 00 flour, although very soft and fine, is high in protein. That makes it a good choice for breads, pasta and pizza dough but not for baked goods. Although it feels like cake flour, it is very different. Cake flour is very low in protein and is a good choice for delicate baked goods. You don't want to use 00 flour for those kinds of things, like recipes that require baking powder. All purpose flour is a blend of flours that has a middle-of-the-road protein content. AP flour you can use for most things but some people like even more protein in their yeasted doughs. For that, use bread flour or 00 flour. For delicate baked items that benefit from even lower protein than AP flour, use cake flour.

Many people do not realize that 00 flour is high in protein, because it is so finely milled.

I hope this helps!

March 5, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I went with a culinary class to Tuscany last summer, and when we learned to make pasta, all the ladies used was flour and water. No eggs. Their flour was very very fine. They said it was 00. Can you tell me why every recipe I see in America calls for eggs? Is there a difference in the flour? Is it just tradition?

April 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

From The Italian Dish:

Patricia: I wrote about this very thing in this post. There are regions in Italy where they do not use eggs in pasta dough, but there are many regions that do. In fact, some regions in the north use a lot of eggs in their pasta doughs. As you get further south, eggs are used a little less. Every region has its own special way of making pasta. There is even a region in Italy that adds a little white wine to the pasta dough. But that is the reason for the difference. I also mentioned the flour that you are talking about - the 00 flour in this post.

April 14, 2014 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

Thank you for your reply. I did notice that every region also has it's specialties, I'm assuming based on what grows well in each region. i'm going to go with your recipe combining semolina with regular flour. So far i haven't been able to find the 00. It's so gracious of you to share yourknowledge and recipes.

April 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia

Julie, great video and instruction!

Yesterday I made pasta for a small dinner party - it was incredible, and with this recipe, incredibly easy. Thanks so much for the clear directions, and the simplest of recipes.

July 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Mayfield

Hello Elaine,

Thank you for this lovely recipe. I made it last night and I was delighted with the results. I would like to know however how to preserve this pasta for later use. Can it be dried? I figured since it contains eggs it may not be able to be dried, and one person has commented on this recipe that they have frozen the pasta after making it. What would you suggest?

September 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

excellent recipe

September 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

What a great site! Lots of tips and great information. My question: I have always used 1/2 semolina and 1/2 AP. Can I substitute 00 for the AP. If so, do I need to change the proportions?

October 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

Emily, I'm new to this site - just saw your post. You can dry your pasta, but if you are making it with eggs I think it loses some of its flavor when frozen after they are dried, Also they are pretty delicate and tend to break apart If I make a bigger batch than necessary I make the single portion nests, put them on a baking sheet, freeze them and then put them in a ziplock. They don't break apart as easily as if you were to dry them. Hope this helps.

October 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKathy

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