Years ago, I took a hands-on pasta making class at a local cooking school. I did so because making pasta seemed overwhelming to me and I was not sure I could do it on my own. However, pasta making is actually very simple and fun to make.
While making pasta from scratch does take longer than opening a box of dried noodles, it is well worth it. It tastes fresh and takes less time to cook than the dried pasta you get at the store. Plus, flavors can be added to the dough to give it a unique taste. Tomato paste, spinach, herbs, etc., can be added to give the pasta color, texture, and flavor. The pasta will be so tasty that heavy sauces will not be required. Fresh tomatoes or a butter sauce compliment the pasta quite nicely.
How does one go about making homemade pasta noodles? First, a pasta machine is required. The hand cranking kind works fine. Mine is an Atlas brand from Italy. Most kitchens will have everything else that is needed. Ingredients are also probably something most people will have as kitchen staples.
The dough can be made in a large mixing bowl. Dry ingredients are put in and a well is made in the center to hold the liquids. Liquids are gently mixed in the well until all dry ingredients are incorporated with the wet. This is then kneaded until smooth and let to rest for ten minutes. The dough is now ready to run through the pasta machine. It’s that simple!
Here is the recipe I use:
- 1 1/4 c flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 beaten egg
- 8 tsp water
- 1 tsp olive oil
In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture. In a small bowl stir together egg, water, and oil. Pour into well and mix with flour mixture.
Sprinkle kneading surface with flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic- about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough in half. Roll dough flat enough to fit in setting #1 in pasta machine. Pass dough through setting #1 four times, folding the dough after each pass and sprinkling with flour. Then roll dough once through settings 2 through 6 sprinkling with flour after each pass. (Do not fold dough on settings 2 through 6.) Repeat with other half of dough.
The dough is now ready to make into noodles. Add the noodle cutting attachment to the pasta maker and pass dough through to cut into noodles. Additionally, if you desire ravioli or lasagna noodles, they could be cut at this stage instead.
Cook pasta in boiling water for about 6 minutes, until floating and done to your liking. (Homemade pasta should not be overcooked. ) Top with your favorite sauce.
Recipe serves approximately 4 persons. Recipe can be doubled.