How to Make Homemade Pasta
Homemade Pasta. You know the difference when you dine out and taste it. You crave it at home. Who knew the recipe and technique could be so easy? With three ingredients (salt is optional and would make 4) and some good old-fashioned patience, you too can make homemade pasta at home.
Let’s talk equipment. Not necessary, but extremely handy, I recommend using a pasta roller of some sort and if you have a KitchenAid mixer, I’d recommend the pasta roller. It’s going to save you A LOT of time!
Shop around, for I found it at around $70 on the net (but I also saw it for way more!). You can also get the deluxe set with cutters for quite a bit more.
You can also opt to spend quite a bit less and get a hand crank pasta roller like this one for $20. While it won’t be as handy or as fast as the KitchenAid version, it will still cut down on your rolling time.
OR, most of you probably just have this lying around the house…but it’s gonna take a lot of muscle, so I’d enlist someone to help you. If you use this one, well, you’re gonna have some great biceps and triceps. Kudos to you!
You’ll also need a sharp knife, or even better, a pizza cutter or cutting wheel and a fork. That’s it folks, that’s ALL you need along with flour, eggs and olive oil.
I decided I wanted to make Mario Batelli’s recipe for pasta. After all, he is the Italian food King and I’ve always liked a man who can rock a pair of red clogs and a skirt with confidence.
It called for:
*5-6 cups of flour
*6 extra-large eggs
*1/4 teaspoon of olive oil
I was a bit confused with the range in flour – but quickly found out that you may or may not use it all. I also decided based on other recipes to add in 1 teaspoon of salt, but it’s up to you if you want to!
Mario said to use a cutting board, but I’ve seen this done on countertops and also large flat bowls.
I opted to use five cups of flour, because I didn’t have “extra-large” eggs (just large), and I mounded up a pile of flour, then using my fist, gently worked a well in the middle of it. Make sure the sides are 1 1/2 to 2 inches high. You’re going to pour the eggs in here so you don’t want them running all over!
Crack six eggs into a bowl and beat them up. Then add in a 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Mario said 1/4 teaspoon but for some reason, I felt rebellious.
Pour in your eggs and oil.
Then carefully take a fork and start pulling a little flour at a time, whisking it all the way. Be careful not to break your “wall” of flour. Just pull from the inside of the wall of flour.
It will be a bit lumpy and that’s okay. That’s where the rolling will come in later. Keep pulling in flour about 2 tablespoons at a time and mixing with the fork until you get a more solid dough ball. You probably will have a cup of flour or so left over. You don’t need to use it all!
Then, sprinkle some flour on your hands.
Grab your dough ball and start kneading. And PLEASE wear your Tiffany bracelet that your husband bought you in L.A. last year on your anniversary AND your wedding ring to do so…it will take you an hour of scrubbing later with a toothbrush to get them clean.
Fold your ball in half. (Note: See how much flour I have left around the edges?)
The push down with the heel of your hands (I only am pushing with one due to the fact that I can’t take pictures with NO hands).
Fold it again, push with the heel of your hand. If the dough gets sticky, add a little more of your flour to it. You want it to be “mildly” tacky but not super sticky and not too dry.
When you’re done you’ll have a nice ball of dough – a little tacky remember! At this point, I removed the leftover flour from my board into a bowl, but save it! You’ll need some more as you go!
Sprinkle a little of the flour back onto your board, roll your dough in it, and wrap it up tight with some plastic wrap.
Let it set for 30 minutes, where the magic dough fairies will cause the gluten to do sparkling and wonderful things to it (the gluten needs to relax).
Unwrap your dough and cut it into 4 equal pieces.
Cover three of these with a bowl to prevent them from drying out. Then take the fourth one and kind of pull it out into a sort of rectangle. Sprinkle it with flour.
Put your pasta attachment on or use your pasta roller set to the widest setting ( on a KitchenAid that’s 1 not 8). Run it right through. Don’t forget to catch it on the bottom with one hand. Mr. Wonderful fed and I caught. It’s kind of handy to do this with two people.
Take it out and fold it in half lengthwise and run it through again. (Fold the two short ends together).
On your first run, it might have holes or tears in it and look weird. That’s okay! Keep going!
After your first feed at setting 1 you’ll fold your dough each time and run it through a total of 3 times more. If it gets too wide, fold in one edge a bit. The roller will press it right back to normal again.
If it’s too sticky, sprinkle flour on both sides.
After your fourth time (on that setting), change the pasta roller to the next size smaller (setting 2 on the KitchenAid wheel). Run it through the first time just as it is, then three times more after that folding it in half again long ways after each run. Then change your roller setting one size smaller to 3.
Each time the dough will get smoother looking. And by the time you get down to 6 it’s going to be a LOT longer. I left poor Mr. W. alone to handle this while I snapped pictures.
Incidentally, the man is a solid rock on remaining calm while his dorky wife was jumping up and down watching this entire process clapping her hands and hollering how fun and cool her new toy was.
When we got to number 8 and our last set of 4 runs through the machine, we had a HUGE long piece of pasta. I think next time I will only take the setting down to #6 because I like a little more thickness and bite to my pasta. You decide what YOU like after you make yours!
We laid the long piece out on the cutting board and using a pizza cutter, we cut it into one foot sections.
You could use these “as is” for lasagna…I can’t wait to do that! Remember that we still had three more pieces of dough left? Lightly flour these foot sections and put them on some parchment paper while you make the other three.
When we were finished, it was time to cut the sheets into noodles. We had decided on Pappardelle, so we stacked up our sections on top of each other (about 4) and cut them into one inch strips, again with the pizza cutter.
Mario says that if it’s not cut perfect, all the better! For people will know it’s homemade! We agree with Mario! (Remember the red clog thing?!!)
If the pasta is at all sticky, lightly dust it with flour then pile it into “nests” on parchment paper. I did cut up some into fettuccine, just for fun. I rolled up two sheets and cut them with a knife. It was much quicker that way! I popped it into a freezer bag for another time.
And that’s it. We tossed our Pappardelle into a pot of salted boiling water for two minutes (on the printable recipe below I include times for different fresh pastas). Then we sautéed some shrimp and broccoli and mixed it all up with pesto and topped it with some grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
I want to experiment next with some different flours like 00 wheat flour and semolina. I also want to try adding veggies like spinach and beets.
But tonight, we savored our first bite of loveliness from our first try at homemade pasta.
It was a good night.
**Recently added – If you want more “bite” to your pasta, try using 1/2 semolina flour. It takes more to work the gluten, therefore it will be a bit chewier.
- 5 c. flour
- 6 large eggs
- ½ t. olive oil
- 1 t. salt (optional)
- On cutting board, countertop or in large flat bowl mound up flour and make a well in center the size of your fist and using your fist.
- Crack eggs into separate bowl, add olive oil, and beat up with fork.
- Pour into well in middle of flour mound.
- Using fork, gently pull out 2 T. of flour and beat into eggs.
- Continue doing so until a soft ball of dough forms.
- Using your hands knead the ball several times, adding more flour if it's too sticky. When the right consistency, the ball will be slightly tacky but not sticky.
- Cut into four equal parts, cover three with a bowl and shape the fourth into a rough rectangle.
- Dust with flour and feed through the widest setting on pasta roller once.
- Fold in half lengthwise and run through again, dusting with flour if necessary.
- Run through 2 more times folding each time then change setting to the next smallest setting on pasta roller.
- Continue down each setting sending the sheet through as is the first time, then folding each time for the next three runs.
- When finishes with smallest setting. cut into desired pasta, sprinkle with flour and place on parchment paper while finishing remaining three sections of pasta.
- Can be stored in freezer baggies.
- Pappardelle: 2 minutes
- Vermicelli: 1½ minutes
- Ravioli: 12 minutes
- Tortellini: 12 minutes
- Linguine: 6 minutes
- Pescine: 4 minutes
- Rigatoni: 6 minutes
- Rotini: 5 minutes
- Fettuccine: 2 minutes
- Allow 4-6 quarts of water per pound.
- Bring water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Shake pasta loose (do not cook more than 2 lbs. at a time).
- Add pasta to boiling water, stir and begin timing.