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!
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 your own 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.
More Italian Recipes on LinsFood
Recipe and Step by step video on how to make Fresh Pasta Dough at home.
- 300g/10.5oz “00” pasta flour
- pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- Place your flour on the work surface, add the salt to it and mix.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour.
- Lightly beat the eggs with a fork and pour in the “well”.
- Start pulling in the flour with the fork and mixing it with the egg. See video.
- Keep mixing with the fork until the fork is no longer able to glide easily.
- Put the fork aside and bring the dough together with your hands.
- Use a scraper to scrape bits of dough that are stuck to the work surface.
- Knead the dough for a couple of minutes until smooth.
- Wrap in a clingfilm and leave aside for 30 minutes to rest. No need to place in the fridge. The clingfilm helps the dough from drying out.
- Roll out the dough according to the recipes you are using.
Total time includes 30 minutes of resting time.
- Category: Side dish
- Method: Medium
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: pasta, italian