Making Fresh Pasta From Scratch

One of the foods that I was practically brought up on was pasta. It was cheap, quick and easy. If you’re tight on time, you can easily boil up some pasta in 8 minutes, toss in some sauce, and you’re good to go. (It was actually the first food I learned how to cook.) Anyone who can boil water, can cook pasta. Pasta is one of the cheapest, most filling and most versatile dishes out there.

That being said, I have never had freshly made pasta. At least, not to my knowledge… I’m pretty sure that I haven’t been to a restaurant that makes their own pasta the same day it’s served. I had also always assumed that it was some difficult task that required the use of expensive machines, so making it myself seemed out of the question. I had pretty much written off “freshly made pasta” as something that I might only try if/when Joe and I ever go back to Italy.

Reading through the Concise Cook’s Book, I found a whole (short) section on pasta. Browsing through the couple of pages, I was shocked to see just how easy it really was to make your own pasta dough! So it was decided that I would try it, and as I’m writing this with the taste of the pasta still fresh in my memory, I can honestly tell you that this home-made pasta was the best pasta I have ever had in my life. When I took my first bite, the clouds opened up, and angels floated down and sang to me. {Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit…} It’s going to be really hard to reach into the cupboard, and make dried pasta out of the box again… Of course I will still use it as a quick dish, but if I’m having people over and want to really impress with a pasta dish, I will most definitely be coming back to this home-made pasta!

I’m going to post my version of the steps I took to make pasta. Instead of making noodles, I decided to make marble cheese stuffed pasta. For this pasta, I used my own tomato and bell pepper sauce. This is a long entry, with plenty of pictures so you can get a visual of the steps along the way! Enjoy! 😉

Notes for fresh pasta:

  • To cook: Fill a deep pot with a lot of water (you want the pot to have more than enough water for the pasta), and sprinkle in just under 1 tsp of salt. Bring the water to a boil on (just under) high heat, and then add your pasta. Stir a few times to make sure the pasta won’t stick together. Once the water returns to a boil, cook the pasta at this steady boil for 5 minutes. Do not over cook freshly made pasta, as it will get a really pasty gummy texture if overcooked. You can cook the pasta covered, or uncovered.
  • To serve: After the 5 minutes are up, remove from heat and drain the water. Place the pasta into a bowl and toss with the sauce of your choice.

Making Fresh Pasta From Scratch

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs

You will need:

  • rolling-pin
  • fork
  • bowl
  • plastic wrap

Method For Making The Pasta:

  • On a clean counter/work surface (if you have granite or some other natural stone counter, this works perfect), place the flour in a “mountain” type shape. Sprinkle the sale in with the flour.

  • Crack both eggs into a bowl, and beat lightly. Then, create a hole in the middle of your flour mountain.
  • Slowly and carefully, pour the eggs into the hole. This part is a bit messy, and I ended up dribbling eggs down the side and onto the rest of the counter. But with a quick hand, you can push the flour over the dribbled egg and push it all back inside the hole.
  • With a fork, lightly whisk the eggs in the center of the flour, gradually incorporating more flour with each whisking motion.

  • Continue to mix the eggs into the flour until the mixture is well blended.
  • Once the mixture is blended together, you can start to knead it like dough.
  • Knead the mixture lightly with one hand, while using your other hand to turn the dough after each single knead. Knead only until the dough will no longer pick up and keep flour.

  • Set the dough aside for a moment, and use your hands and the fork to scrape and of the flour mixture that has stuck to the counter. With a damp paper towel, ensure that the counter is cleaned off, and dried.
  • Grab the dough, and continue to knead again for about 8-10 minutes. Finish kneading the dough once it has become smooth and elastic.

  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and set aside on the counter for 30 minutes to 2 hours. I suggest setting it aside for the full 2 hours, as this makes it much easier to work with later on. However, if you are pressed for time, 30 minutes is adequate.

  • After the dough has rested, remove 1/4 of the dough from the plastic wrap. Return the other 3/4 of the dough to the wrap, and set aside.
  • On the clean surface, roll out the dough with the rolling-pin as you would bread dough. Do so with a light hand, and slowly, being careful not to rip the dough. Between each roll, it is best to move the actual dough so that it does not stick to the counter. Some would suggest adding more flour to the work surface, but I’ve found that this tends to dry out the dough.
  • For pasta dough, you have to stretch it as you’re rolling it. This can be a bit tricky, and it’s really hard to explain how to do it. For this part, go with the feeling of the dough, and use your better judgement. When you are rolling the dough, you will have a feel for how elastic it is, and will know how far you can stretch it without it ripping. To stretch it, you simply set up the rolling-pin as if you are going to do a full roll, but then curl the end of the dough up over the roll. Place your left hand horizontally over the dough on the counter, and use your right hand to hold the dough over the rolling-pin. Slowly and carefully, gently pull the rolling-pin away from the counter in a smooth upward motion to stretch it slightly. Repeat this for the other end of the dough also.

  • Continue to roll and stretch the dough until it is as thin as you can make it without ripping it. Again, this is something that you have to practice and get a feel for to know how to do it. The dough should be no more than 1/8 of an inch thick.

  • If you are making noodles, you can simple cut the sheet of dough into strips and set aside while you do the rest of the dough. I wrap the finished pasta in plastic wrap while I work on the rest of the dough, but if you want the pasta dried out slightly you can just set aside on a plate until ready to cook.
  • If you are making stuffed pasta (ravioli), use a sharp smooth knife to trim the edges of the sheet of dough to form a rectangle/square. This should be a big enough piece to make 3 medium-large sized pieces. On the bottom half of the rectangle, take your stuffing (I used grated cheese) and press it into a tight ball and flatten it slightly. (About the size of a quarter.) Place these stuffing balls on the bottom half of the dough, spaced evenly apart. Drape the upper half of the dough over the lower half, and press the corners down to stick. Using a sharp smooth knife, cut in between each piece of stuffing to make three individual pieces. With each piece, use either the back of a fork or your finger to press the ends together. It’s best to even pinch the ends to make sure there are no openings. Also, try to make sure there is as little air as possible in the stuffing pocket.

  • Set aside the prepared pieces (again, wrap it in plastic wrap if you do not want it to dry out), and repeat the above steps with another 1/4 of the dough.

For this dough recipe (2 eggs with 1 1/3 cup flour), I found that I was able to make 12 pieces of stuffed pasta. The general rule of thumb for making pasta from scratch is: “1 egg per person”, so feel free to adjust the quantity accordingly.

When cooking the stuffed pasta, the pockets will puff out like little pillows, but they {probably} won’t burst. 😉

To cook and serve the pasta, follow the notes mentioned above the ingredient list on “to cook fresh pasta”.

Here’s my pasta served with sauce! It looks messy, but it’s oh-so-good! 🙂

Advertisements

12 comments on “Making Fresh Pasta From Scratch

    • 🙂
      I tried the fork-end of the fork, and I ended up ripping through one of the raviolis… :-\ I guess I just have to practice being more careful *lol*

  1. First, thanks for stopping by Food and Whine and I look forward to seeing your Daring Baker’s goodies (rooting for chocolate 🙂

    Your pasta looks fabulous! You know you’ll never be able to go back to dried now, don’t you? 🙂 I’ve haven’t been making my own pasta for that long, but since I made it the first time, we’ve never wanted to settle for dried. I just made lasagna for the first time with fresh pasta and it was so good!

    Just a tip for you from my limited experience, you might try boiling the pasta for even less time next time you try it. I started out thinking it needed 4 or 5 minutes, but now I’m down to about 2 minutes or so for thick-cut pasta and even less for linguini. It has a wonderful al dente texture at that point. So good!

    • You’re more than welcome, Food and Whine is so well put together, I love it! 🙂
      And thank you! 🙂 The pasta was so much fun (and oddly soothing) to make… 🙂
      It’s so true, it really will be hard to go back to dried… Have you used the home made stuff for lasagna yet? I’m not sure, but should I boil it before layering the noodles? …This always confused me…I’ve only made lasagna once before, and I didn’t quite make it properly… 😉
      Hmm, I’ll definitely try cooking it for a little less time the next time around, thanks for the tip! 🙂 I’ll probably be making it at least once this upcoming long weekend, so I’ll test out a shorter cooking time for sure.

  2. Pingback: What The Google, Foodie? « Cook With Nikki

  3. Pingback: Daring Cooks Challenge – August 2010 – THE WORLD OF PIEROGI! | Cook With Nikki

  4. If you brush a little bit of beaten egg on the pasta sheet as a “glue” for holding the ravioli’s together, it helps to keep them from bursting or even billowing. Great step by step visual.

    • Thanks for the tip! 🙂 I’m a vegan now, so I probably wouldn’t use the egg as a binder for the sides, but good to know! 🙂

  5. Just followed this link from a friend’s Facebook page. Being vegan, what do you use in place of egg now for pasta making? I’m familiar with most of the options in baking but I imagine pasta would be a bit different.

    • That’s a good question. I haven’t actually made pasta since this last time posting about it, but have been wanting to test out a few vegan pasta recipes including chickpea flour or lentil flour. I’ve purchased vegan pastas, and made raw “pasta” a handful of times (usually zucchini), but still am not 100% sure how to to go about making this one vegan myself just yet. Lately I’ve focused on more raw recipes, but will definitely be updating this blog with that when I find a way to do it!
      Let me know if you find a good one if you’re still searching! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s