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  • Writer's pictureEmma Tierson

Homemade Pasta

Anytime I eat at an Italian restaurant I always scan the menu to find out if they have homemade pasta. Why? Because it is so much better than boxed pasta! It has more flavor, a different texture, and you can just tell that it is made with a labor of love! Even the way the sauce clings to the pasta is superior. It is only fitting that one should be able to have this luxury of a meal at home. That's why I knew that I needed to share my very own homemade pasta recipe.


I'm not going to sugar coat this. If you want to make homemade pasta it will not be fast work. If you make it often then it can become quick work, but I would honestly set aside at least an hour to make your pasta. This is just because it can take a bit of messing around to get the dough just right the first couple of times.



The ingredients for pasta are very simple. It is likely you have them at home right now. Eggs and flour. That's it! Water is nice to have in case of dry dough, but it is not always necessary. In a bowl combine 3 eggs with 4 cups of flour. Knead that dough for up to 10 minutes just to make it smooth. It will look like the photo below when it's ready.


If your dough is too dry, wet your hand and work the water into the dough by kneading. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle some flour on it and knead the flour in. If you have a kitchen aid you can absolutely use it to do the kneading for you, but making pasta does not require fancy equipment. You don't even technically need a bowl, some people just make a pile of flour on the counter, make a well to put the eggs in, and then slowly add flour from the sides of the pile to combine them. The only equipment you truly need to make pasta is a rolling pin**. I happen to have a pasta machine, so I use that. If I had an automatic machine or attachment for my kitchen aid then I would take the easy way out, but no matter what you have at home, I guarantee you can still make homemade pasta.


After you have kneaded your dough you need to let it rest, so put a damp towel, damp paper towel, or plastic wrap over it for 15 minutes. During this time the flour and the egg will combine further for an optimal dough. After resting, cut the dough into four sections. Keep three under a damp towel while you work with the fourth.



Flatten the dough by hand to prepare it for the machine. This helps prevent some breakage. Flour the machine and make sure it is set to the thickest setting before you put your dough through the machine. If your dough breaks the first time or two through don't fret, it is perfectly normal. Fold your dough over once and then put it through the machine again on the same thickness until you have a sheet of pasta that looks like one of the photos above. This is the part that takes the most time. You have to assess whether your dough is too wet or too dry or just needs to be folded and put through again. Just stick with it and remember you are in control of the dough! Once it is in an ideal sheet you can start to decrease the thickness. I normally don't bring it down to the thinnest setting. I like my pasta a bit thicker. It seems to get through the noodle cutter attachment better that way. My machine has number 7 as the thickest and 1 as the thinnest setting, I always go with either a 3 or 4 thickness for my pasta sheets. Keep in mind that you won't need to have a noodle attachment if you just want to make pasta such as lasagna, ravioli, or farfalle.



If you are making noodles however you have a couple of options on your hands. You can hang them up like the photo below to dry out for later use or you can cook them fresh. Just a tip, if you do hang them up, get the pasta off of the rack by lifting the stick and sliding the pasta off. If you try to lift the individual pasta off the rack it will break. :(


Remember to always, always, always, always, always salt your water! Unless you flavor your pasta* this is the only time it gets any flavoring to it. So get to it! Boil up some water, throw a good amount of salt in it, and then your pasta. And remember, homemade pasta cooks quickly, so be prepared to only wait 3-6 minutes. Enjoy!



If you're looking for a pasta machine, I recommend the products below.




 

Homemade Pasta


100% All-Purpose Flour


Ingredients:

4c All-Purpose Flour

3 Eggs*

1Tb water (as needed)



All-Purpose & Semolina Blend


Ingredients:

2c All-Purpose Flour

2c Semolina Flour

3 Eggs*

3Tb water (or more if needed)



Directions for either recipe:

Combine your flour and eggs in a bowl. Mix them by hand until they come together, then knead for 5-10 minutes. The dough will not be tacky to the touch and may feel slightly dry. Cover the dough with a damp paper towel and let rest for 15-30 minutes. After resting, divide the dough into 4 pieces. Keep one to work with and set the other 3 aside and under the damp paper towel to prevent from drying out. Flatten the first piece of dough by hand a little bit to prepare it for the pasta machine**. Sprinkle some flour onto your pasta machine and set it to the widest setting. Put your dough onto the roller and crank the handle to press the pasta through the machine. Don't worry if it breaks apart or is hard to press the first few times as this is very common. Simply fold the layer in half and put it through the machine folded as many times as needed to get a smooth pasta sheet. During this time you may need to apply water to your pasta by putting your fingers in a water bowl and "painting" the pasta before folding it, or if the pasta is too wet you may need to sprinkle flour on the pasta sheet. Play around with it until the pasta goes through the machine in a sheet with ease. Then you may start to use thinner layers until you get the desired thickness for your pasta. On my machine, the thickest layer is 7 and the thinnest is 1, I normally only go down to 3 or 4. If you have an attachment for noodles, you can put the pasta sheet through that attachment once it is at the desired thickness. Boil your pasta in salted water for 3-6 minutes, drain and serve immediately without rinsing.


*If you wanted to have flavored pasta, add dried or fresh herbs to your eggs. You can even add pureed tomato or spinach. Be as creative as you would like!


**If you do not have a pasta machine you can absolutely still make pasta! Just flour a surface and use a rolling pin to create your pasta sheet. Fold the pasta, as stated above, and roll out until the pasta is a smooth sheet. Then roll it to your desired thickness. You can use a cup or cookie cutter to make shaped pasta or a knife to cut noodles. To make farfalle, for example, use a square cutter to make shapes, then pinch the middle in to form a butterfly. Shaped pasta should rest for 15-30 minutes to slightly dry out whereas noodles can be cooked right away.


Mangia!



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