Homemade Pasta Dough
I've honestly not met one single person who hasn't either consumed or isn't in love with pasta. I mean, how could you hate it? And even for those on specialty diets, they still work around and find creative ways to have their favorite pasta meals. Whether it's zucchini noodles or gluten free gnocchi, we all find our way right back to this fantastic dish.
But homemade pasta. Boy oh boy, there is something really special about it. The first time I experienced the real deal was a trip to Italy back in 2012. It was lasagna. There was something special about it and for a while I couldn't put my finger on it - and there it was. Staring me in the face. The pasta was made by someone's loving grandma in the kitchen. I was convinced. My life was really never the same, since. I judged pasta so harshly after that - even when I made it at home. And after several trips to Italy since, I figured it was time to try it!
However, the mere thought of making pasta seemed so daunting, it would take me a full 8 years since my first encounter to ever even attempt. And of course I obsessed about it. I've read countless blogs about the process and everyone kept proclaiming it was the easiest thing they didn't know they could make. I mean, it sounded simple enough - flour, salt, eggs, olive oil. Items that are literally always in my pantry. But "easy" is pretty relative so I tend to take that word with a grain of salt.
Then there was the part about the pasta maker. How much was this gonna cost me?! I didn't wanna spend hundreds of dollars on a piece of kitchen equipment I'd only use once, maybe twice, a month - at best. And I am really not a kneading and rolling kinda gal. If I could avoid kneading dough, I will. Every single time. Spoiler alert: there's no ducking out in this recipe, unfortunately. But it is SO worth it.
So you see? All of these thoughts kept me from attempting to make pasta from scratch. But I overcame my fear and I am here to tell you the REAL truth - with a little effort, it's quite a simple process.
I still hate the kneading part - and pasta dough is pretty tough before it rests so I got a real workout for those 5 minutes.
I bit the bullet and bought the pasta maker. It was like $80 on Amazon - a fantastic investment, in my opinion. (I will say I was very sad to see the price lowered to $50 since purchasing mine - hot tears, man).
You don't need the pasta maker. You can most certainly roll it out (the dough is much more pliable after it rests so please do not skip this step) and cut it by hand.
Before we get to the fun part, let's go over our Pro Tips.
As always, please have all ingredients and supplies on hand before you start. You'll need to work quickly to get the dough to come together.
You do not need to use "00" flour. All purpose flour yields very similar results. And unless you're feeding the Italian president, nobody is going to be able to tell the difference. They'll just be shook that you actually made pasta from scratch. (But if you can, whoo chile, get it. It's such a fine and powdery flour and the pasta is incredibly silky smooth).
You can add herbs to the pasta dough if you want to get creative. Parsley flakes and garlic powder are great additions.
If you're rolling out by hand, please clear enough space for your dough. It can get really long, the longer you roll it out.
Use a sharp knife to cut the noodles and roll them up in a cute nest with a bit of flour to prevent them from sticking together.
If you're cooking for one, this is enough pasta for at least 4 meals. Have a ziploc bag on hand to store the remaining pasta. You can store it in the refrigerator for 2-3 days max and up to 3 weeks in the freezer. But be very careful when handling the pasta - your babies are fragile.
Let's get it!
1 2/3 cups Italian “00” flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil (+1 tbsp for resting stage)
1/4 tsp. table salt
Sift the flour onto your clean work surface and make a well in the center.
Crack the eggs into the well, adding the salt and oil right after. Quickly but gently mix the egg mixture into the flour to form a firm dough. If the dough feels too dry, add a few drops of water or oil. Do not overdo it with the flour, the dough will be a little tough but it shouldn't be falling apart with big clumps of flour.
Knead the pasta dough until it’s smooth, 2 to 5 minutes. (More like 5 minutes, honestly. Unless you're Superman). Lightly rub the dough down with your olive oil and wrap it in a ziploc bag or Saran Wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The pasta will be much more elastic after resting than it was before.
Cutting The Dough
Pasta maker Instructions
You need to make several passes through each thickness setting of your pasta maker for the best results. I literally ran it through every single setting. Start with the widest setting, run it through (once or twice) and then gradually adjust the settings to be thinner and thinner until you have a really thin (almost see through) sheet of pasta.
Then (the really fun part), pass it through the cutting side of the machine to slice into spaghetti or fettuccine.
Rolling Pin Instructions
If you don’t have a pasta machine, like I said before, you're all good! You can use a rolling pin (preferably wooden) and a pizza cutter or knife.
Portion your dough into about 3 parts.
You're going to have to create a good amount of space on your counter/workspace as the dough gets long and you need it to to be as thin as you can possibly get it. If you don't, you'll end up with a much thicker (but still tasty) pasta.
Roll each portion of dough out on a well-floured surface and cut into thin strips.
Be sure to keep your pasta rolled and nestled in flour to avoid them sticking together while you prepare to cook them.
Homemade pasta cooks really quickly. We're talking 2 - 4 minutes, here. Add the pasta to a pot of (rolling) boiling salted water.
Drain immediately and serve with your favorite sauce.
My favorite is any creamy cheesy sauce!