Is there anything better than a filling, hearty pasta covered in gorgeous sauce and topped with your favorite meats, vegetables, and cheeses? No pantry would be complete without generous supplies of dried pasta and olive oil as it’s so convenient and versatile: the perfect accompaniment for any dish.
But when dried pasta just isn’t inspiring enough, homemade pasta can give your favorite pasta recipes a new lease of life.
Making fresh pasta might seem like a lot of hassle, but finding the perfect pasta recipe doesn’t need hard work. With just a few household ingredients, learn how to make authentic level pasta in your kitchen without breaking a sweat.
Perfect for family get-togethers or quick and easy mid-week dinners, homemade pasta by hand is so easy, you’ll wonder why you never bothered before!
To make fresh pasta, you might think you need loads of specialized equipment lying around… But this isn’t the case!
Okay, so a food processor and pasta maker (like this one: https://unocasa.com/products/pasta-maker) will undoubtedly make life easier if you’re going to be making homemade pasta regularly, but it’s also possible to make fresh pasta by hand.
- 4 large eggs
- 2 ½ cups flour (“OO” flour, semolina flour, or all-purpose flour work best)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
Making the Dough
Make the dough by hand or place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse to combine before kneading.
- Place the flour on a flat board or into a bowl and make a well in the center.
- Crack eggs into the well and beat with a fork.
- Add the oil and salt and continue beating until smooth.
- Knead the dough with your hands for approximately 10 minutes until you have a glossy, elastic dough (there’s no mechanical substitute for this, you’ll have to get your hands in!)
- Wrap your dough and place it in the fridge to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes – be sure to wrap the dough properly to avoid crusty lumps in your pasta!
Rolling the pasta (with a pasta maker)
If you’re using a pasta maker to create precise, thin pasta sheets, be sure to clamp the machine firmly to a clean work surface before starting.
- Dust your work surface with some extra flour and select a chunk of dough roughly the size of an orange to start with, pressing it flat with your fingertips.
- Set your pasta maker to the widest setting and roll the pasta dough through it, lightly dusting the dough with flour if it sticks.
- Once rolled, click the machine down 1 notch and roll the pasta through again.
- After the second rolling, fold the pasta in half and repeat steps 2-3.
- Repeat this process 5-6 times until you have a smooth and silky dough.
- After six repeats, work the pasta through the maker on each setting, getting thinner each time.
- Fold the thin pasta dough four times, then turn it 90’ and roll it through one final time at the widest setting to create a silky dough with straight edges (if the edges are frayed, repeat this step).
- From here, you can then adjust your pasta maker to the setting most appropriate for the type of pasta you wish to achieve.
- Once complete, shape or cut your pasta into shapes as quickly as possible. Laying the dough on a damp, clean tea towel will help prevent it from drying too quickly.
Top Tips for Cooking Pasta
Even the most authentic Italian pasta dough can become an uninspiring disaster if not cooked properly. Use the below top tips to cook the perfect pasta every time, ready for tossing (not topping) with your favorite sauce.
1. Choose your pasta shape widely
Different pasta shapes aren’t just a fun experiment but are uniquely designed to get the maximum flavor out of your dish. There are over 500 authentic pasta shapes to choose from. Getting the right one will amplify the flavors and textures of your meal flawlessly.
2. Use enough water
The best rule is to use more water than you think you need when cooking pasta and only add the pasta after the water has come to a boil. This prevents the water from becoming too starchy and allows the pasta to cook without sticking to itself.
3. Salt the water
Whether you choose to salt the water before or after it comes to the boil is a case of personal preference. The important thing is to add plenty of salt to bring your pasta to life!
4. Al dente
Al dente translates as “to the tooth” in Italian and basically refers to the idea that you shouldn’t overcook your pasta. Test a piece before draining to ensure there’s a little bite in your pasta for a perfect al dente result.
5. Toss, don’t top
Before serving, drain your pasta well and toss it with your sauce. This will enable the pasta to incorporate the sauce’s delicious flavors and help avoid watery puddles at the bottom of your plate.