Homemade Pasta Dough
Making you own pasta is not simply about the end product but much more about the experience. Like any other craft is super rewarding, it requires focus and time, but it's pretty straightforward. Practice will definitely make you master the art of pasta making but even you just do it once in your lifetime, you will never forget it.
Here we will cover the process of making the dough, rolling the pasta and how to cut the most frequently used types. In Italy (same in Argentina where I'm originally from) the flours are classified by how finely they are ground and how much of the bran and germ have been removed. Italians use 00 flour (doppio zero) -talcum powder type- to prepare pasta. You can either purchase this type in a specialized shop or simply use all-purpose flour which is Marcella Hazan, the woman who introduced the techniques of traditional Italian cooking to both Americans and British, recommends using all-purpose flour.
Making fresh dough:
- On top of a wooden surface, spread the flour and make a well. With the help of your hand, make a crown.
- Crack the eggs one by one at the center of the flour crown.
- With the help of a fork, gently beat the eggs until the yolks and whites are mixed.
- Little by little, incorporate flour from the inside part and continue to mix with fork. Make sure not to break the walls as you don't want to let the eggs escape.
- Once the eggs have a dense texture, using both hands, place the flour on top of the eggs mix cover it. You need to do this very fast to ensure that the eggs don't escape.
- Knead the dough to make sure eggs and flour become a cohesive mass. Depending on the texture, you might need to add more flour. If that's the case, do it little by little. If the dough feels a little bit dry, you might add a little of olive oil and knead. The dough should not be too sticky neither too dry.
- Cover the dough ball with a plastic film.
- Clean the working area removing any rest of dough that might be stuck to the table. Clean your hands to remove any remaining dough and get back to work :)
- With one hand, hold the dough roll, while with the fingers of the other turn it over towards you. It might take close to 10 minutes of kneading to reach a smooth consistency. Cover the dough ball with a film and let it rest for 1 hour.
- If you have a stand mixer you can choose to do step #9 with the machine instead of by hand.
Rolling the pasta:
- After letting the dough rest for 1 hour, remove the foil and proceed to rolling the pasta.
- Divide the Pasta Dough into 6 pieces. Work with one at a time, and keep the others covered with the plastic foil.
- Flatten one piece with your fingers to make a thick disc.
- Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting. (usually marked "1"). Feed the disc thourgh the pasta roller. Fold it into three pieces, press it with your hands and roll it again -without changing the setting- with the fold to the side. Repeat this 3 times until you have a nice rectangle. Repeat this process with the rest of the pieces. This helps strengthen the gluten.
- Thin the Pasta: Begin changing the settings on your roller to roll the pasta thinner and thinner. Roll each piece one at a time. Once you are done with all the pieces, change to the next setting and repeat the process with all the pieces. Continue until all the pieces have been rolled through all the settings one at a time. Make sure not to skip setting or you'll kill the dough. Note: some pasta might required to be rolled to the thinnest setting and some to the thinnest minus one. See below.
If cutting into noodles, switch from the pasta roller to the noodle cutter, and run the sheet of pasta through the cutter. Toss the noodles with a little flour to keep them from sticking. With one hand move the level and use the other to hold the pasta. Place the cut pasta on a paper towel, spread them evenly so that they don't stick together. For Fettuccine: roll the pasta to the thinnest setting and use the wide pasta cutter. For spaguetti: roll the pasta to the last but one setting and use the narrow cutter.
Let the pasta rest: You can cook it now. You can also keep it for another occasion by drying it. You can roll the pasta around your fingers to form a nest. Let them dry over clean surface and once they are ready, store them in a plastic container or zip bag for a couple of months.
Home made pasta is easier than you think. This traditional Italian recipe can be used to prepare fetuccine, spaghetti, lasagna, canelloni or whatever pasta you love. It’s like baking bread, you can buy good one but when you make it, the experience is therapeutic.Add to Favourites