Learning how to make your own pasta is something I plan on doing at some point in my lifetime. I love to cook, and there are still a few items on my ‘want to make’ list. I want to stop buying packaged bread and have the smell of fresh baked bread waft through my kitchen. For tips on baking no-knead bread, click here.
For instance, I recently made homemade dog treats for my two dogs (thank you, Ina Garten, for the inspiration). There is a certain satisfaction that comes from making food from scratch. It makes you feel good, proud and accomplished. I enjoy eating breads and pasta despite the bad rap they get from people claiming that they make you gain weight. For more information on carbs, click here.
It is true that you can talk yourself out of any task. My excuses for not making my own pasta range from “I do not have a pasta machine” to “I do not have time for that.” The great news is that you can make your own pasta, and it is easy and inexpensive.
Make Your Own Pasta
Step #1 to make your own pasta: Gather the ingredients. The only three ingredients you will need are 2 cups of unbleached flour, three large eggs, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Jamie Oliver suggests you try to find Tipo ’00’ flour. It is a fine flour from Italy, also called farina di grano tenero.
Step #2 to make your own pasta: Mixing the ingredients. Place flour in a mound on a clean surface (kitchen counter or cutting board), or bowl and make a well in the center of the flour. Put the eggs and the salt into the well or if you prefer, whisk the eggs and salt together then pour into the well.
Step #3 to make your own pasta: Form a dough ball. Using a fork or your hands, gently combine the flour into the egg mixture a little at a time until everything is combined, and the dough is formed into a ball.
Step #4 to make your own pasta: Knead the dough. Knead the dough by pushing down and away from you with the palm of your hand. Squash it, pull it, stretch it, and squash it again. You’ll know it is time to stop when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury (about 5-7 minutes).
Step #5 to make your own pasta: Let the dough settle. All you need to do is wrap it in cling wrap, and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure you cover all of the dough, or it will dry out and get crusty around the edges.
Step #6 to make your own pasta: Rolling the pasta. A pasta machine is great for rolling and cutting the dough. They can be found at major kitchen stores or online, and are fairly inexpensive. A rolling pin will work just fine if you do not have a pasta machine.
If using a pasta machine, continue passing the dough through the pasta machine, reducing the slot size each time, until the dough is approximately 1/16 (the width of a playing card).
If using a rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out with a lightly floured rolling pin, to form a circle 1/8-inch-thick. Check for any thick spots by holding the dough up. Thin out any thick spots with rolling pin.
Step #7 to make your own pasta: Cutting the pasta. To cut the pasta, use the cutting adapter for your pasta machine or a sharp knife. To cut using a pasta machine, feed the dough into the cutting blades while holding your hand under the center of the cut dough.
If cutting with a knife, fold the rolled dough into a square. Cut the open end of the square a quarter inch at a time. Immediately, unroll the pasta and lay flat.
Step #8 to make your own pasta: Drying the pasta. Immediately after cutting the dough, hang the pasta on a dowel or other object (a clothes drying rack works great), or a dowel covered in plastic wrap propped up between two items. Dry at least 3 hours. Pasta can be used right away or will keep up to 4 days in an airtight container.
With simple, limited ingredients and pasta makers that flatten and cut, there is no excuse to not make your own pasta at least once. The truth is, we are all fine with the store bought variety because we have never made homemade pasta. Everything tastes better when made from scratch. I learned that from my grandmother, and maybe it’s because it is made with love.