Scroll down for the video on the technique.
Why make fresh pasta dough when it is easily available? Because nothing beats homemade. Because if you enjoy cooking, there is something so cool, and so satisfying about making your own pasta. Like baking your own bread (sans machine, of course). And you know how very easy it is to get fresh bread!
Why make your own pasta dough? Because you can make it the way you like it. Because you can have fun and experiment with it. Because if one day you fancy making chocolate pasta, you don’t have to get it from a specialist supplier, you just make it yourself! Nope, not kidding!
This post has been a long time coming, and has long been requested by many of you guys. It’s going to be a part of a new series on LinsFood, something to do with Italian and/or pasta making. I haven’t quite decided the direction the series is going to take, so we’ll just be a bit vague on that for now! I’m open to suggestions!
I have been giving Italian cooking classes, both on site (out of my kitchen) as well as online, via Udemy and Skype (Live) classes for a good many years now. So I’ve finally capitulated to the requests for a proper series on Italian cooking, as opposed to random recipes (my readers’ words, not mine!).
I sent out a questionnaire to 100 readers asking them what they would like to see, and fresh, homemade pasta was the most popular on the list. So that’s what I’ll start off with! You are in with a treat though, if you keep up with the series, because as soon as I finish my current Udemy course, I’ll be filming the long awaited Intermediate Italian Cooking course. And my blog readers always benefit from new Udemy courses, as most of the recipes are posted on LinsFood around the same time.
Pasta Making 101
It’s not rocket science, it’s not a difficult exercise, in fact, it is very, very doable. I have many, many first timers making pasta in my classes with great success. Ditto my Junior Chef students.
Rule no 1 in my kitchen: don’t let any recipe intimidate you. No matter what sort of a reputation that recipe has! I believe that many people fail at making a recipe before they even get into the kitchen. Mind over matter, first of all.
The fresh pasta we’ll be making here is a general purpose pasta, perfect for cutting into noodle shapes (spaghetti, fettuccine, tagliatelle) and for making filled pasta like ravioli, tortellini, etc. Not your squiggly and edgy ones like fusilli and penne. That’s a post for another day, with another recipe!
So how do we make fresh pasta at home?
- Mix our ingredients (just flour, eggs and salt)
- Roll (in another post)
Sound easy? I thought it might!
Ingredients for Making Fresh Pasta Dough
There is a whole lot of literature out there about making fresh pasta at home. Type of flour, semolina or no semolina, how many eggs, what oil, any oil, water, to dry or not to dry, to rest or not to rest, and so on. I said pretty much the same thing on the post when we made Lamian, the hand pulled Chinese noodles.
How do you make the perfect pasta? The bottom line? There is no perfect pasta. What was perfect for one mamma may not be perfect for another. And most likely, not perfect for nonna! Capisci?
A simple rule to remember and to start from when making fresh pasta is to remember this ratio of flour to egg:
100g (3.5oz) flour:1 large egg
I add a little egg yolk for added softness to my dough.
For the most part, you’ll see 3 different types of flour mentioned when making pasta:
- all purpose flour (AP flour/plain flour)
- 00 flour
- semolina flour (superfine semolina)
Let me start by saying, to each his own. Next thing I’ll say, is that it depends on what you need the fresh pasta for and what sort of pasta you fancy: smooth, satiny or rustic.
- All purpose flour will do perfectly when making fresh pasta, creating smooth noodles. In the last Italian restaurant that I worked, the old (Italian) Chef never touched anything else. We’d get the evil eye if we attempted otherwise.
- 00 flour is one of the grades of flour as measured in Italy. A single 0 flour is fairly coarse in texture, perhaps a little smoother than fine semolina. 00 is even finer, is considered everyday flour and is typically used to makes pasta because it will give you a smooth, satiny result, and is therefore, my favourite for most recipes, from tagliatelli to filled pasta. There is also 000 flour, with a texture resembling starch flour. In Italy, you’ll find 00 flour for pasta and 00 flour for other recipes like bread and cake. It’s outside of Italy, it would seem, that we only have the one type of 00 flour.
- Some people like to add a touch of semolina to their fresh pasta because it adds texture and allows the sauces to cling to the pasta better. That texture is also lovely as you take a bite of your pasta. I use semolina when making orrechiette, but that is a different recipe altogether.
I definitely like to use eggs in my general purpose fresh pasta dough. The egg whites provide moisture while the egg yolks provide fat (and colour). I use large eggs for this recipe as well as right across LinsFood, unless otherwise stated.
Although you cook pasta in salted water, a little salt in your fresh pasta dough goes a long, long way in creating pasta that has a well rounded flavour.
Pasta Making Tools
I use a pasta machine for rolling our fresh pasta, both for personal use, as well as in my classes. Pasta machines are so easy to come by and for home use, they don’t have to be expensive. They can be free standing (like the one I’ll be using in the next video) or one that gets attached to your food processor. The one I’m using in the video was purchased for my kids, and it only cost us £15/US$23 from Amazon.
Pasta machines are best for making fresh pasta at home, producing smooth, satiny and thin pasta, perfect for filling, especially. If you don’t fancy getting a pasta machine, you can still use a rolling pin, just knead the dough for a further 10 minutes before the resting stage. That’s how I did it when I first started making fresh pasta in my early twenties, in Singapore. Pasta machines would have been fairly expensive then, I would think.
I will do a full post on rolling out the pasta in the coming days.
When I’m making pasta at home, I have a huge smooth, polished, granite slab bought from the local DIY store. That’s what you see me using in the video lecture. It’s great, it remains cool on hot days and makes a wonderful work surface for all kinds of pastry and bread work.
That’s it, not much to think about, right? Let’s get pasta making. If you have any questions or comments, just leave them in the comments section below.
Look out for our Ravioli recipe (top image) that will follow soon. In the meantime, if you fancy checking out some of the other Italian recipes on LinsFood, head on over to the Italian page for yummies like:
Recipe and Step by step video on how to make Fresh Pasta Dough at home. Total time includes 30 minutes of resting time.
How to Make Fresh Pasta Dough
Recipe and Step by step video on how to make Fresh Pasta Dough at home.
Total time includes 30 minutes of resting time.