A lot of my friends joke that I was born in the wrong time. I love doing almost everything the old fashioned way, and pasta is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, I still use dried pasta; I even use it pretty often. But… fresh pasta isn’t even really the same animal.
Dried pasta is made from flour and water whereas fresh pasta is flour, eggs, oil, and sometimes water. This means that fresh pasta is much, much heavier than dried pasta, which is why they must be treated so differently.
Fresh pasta + heavy sauce = extremely heavy dish, so read carefully! No one likes feeling like they ate a cannonball, so the recipes I’ll show you all have a pretty light sauce. You worked hard to make the pasta, show it off!
But is it worth the work? Making this is pretty easy, but it’s not as easy as making dried pasta. Boil water, insert noodle; hard to beat as far as ease of use. While I admit that there is more work, it is unquestionably worth it. Not only is the texture completely different from the dry in a ox stuff, the pride of eating a pasta dish that you made every component of from scratch is a great feeling. Somehow it tastes a little better than it should, know what I mean?
Plus, why not try out tradition? This is not nearly as difficult as you might think, and like everything else; the more times you make it the easier it will be. Ready to give it a try?
The super traditional way to make fresh pasta is on a cutting board, but I hate making a mess. I seem to all the time anyway, but I try not to. Anyway. Instead of making the dough on a cutting board, I prefer to make it all in a mixing bowl. Less mess, less cleaning, and I just let the dough rest in the bowl anyway.
Whether you choose the board or bowl, the recipe is the same. Simply put two cups of all
purpose flour on your board or bowl in a mound, then make a well in the middle of the mound. Crack 3 eggs into the well and add about a tablespoon of olive oil (no need for extra virgin here). Sprinkle a little salt in, and we’re ready to mix. Choose your weapon carefully.
What weapon? What you use to mix the dough. You can use a fork, a wooden spoon, a regular spoon, your hand; pretty much anything goes. Of course, you could also do this in a mixer with a dough hook attachment if you have one. I’ll call you a cheater though.
Whatever you use, begin by mixing the eggs and oil together in the center of well, try not to get any flour in just yet. Once the eggs and oil are a little happy together, stir in a little bit of the flour surrounding the well. Stir the flour until it’s mixed, then bring in a little more of the surrounding flour.
Continue this until all of the flour is incorporated. Dough way too dry? Add water about a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. If it gets too wet and sticky, just sprinkle a little flour on the surface. Now, we need to knead.
Kneading the dough just works out all of the proteins in it to make it stronger as well as thoroughly combining everything together. Good anger management too : “Work late? I’ll show you working late…”
You don’t have to be delicate with pasta tough. It’s tough. So kneading it is much easier than some other dough. Put the ball in on the table in front of you and flatten it out a little, then sprinkle with a little flour. Fold the point furthest from you into the center of the dough, then press it down and forward til they merge. Now, rotate 90 degrees and repeat. You only need to do this for a few minutes, until the ball becomes smooth. Once that happens, time for a nap.
Not for you, for the dough! I mean, you can take one too if you want; it doesn’t really matter. Put the dough (loosely covered with plastic wrap) in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. Why?
If we try to work the dough too much at once, the proteins in it will get overdeveloped. The dough won’t stretch properly and will eventually tear, which is always a bummer. Luckily, 15 minutes in the fridge will prevent that from happening. After its rest, we’re ready to rock and roll.
Actually just roll. You’ll need a pasta machine for this, but they aren’t expensive and last
forever. Seriously. Your great grandchildren can easily use the same one, and we all know how I feel about handing things down. Sorry, back to making the pasta.
Pasta machines are extremely easy to use. Cut the dough call into thirds and coat one third with flour, then flatten. Coat the rollers with flour so nothing sticks, set the rollers to the largest setting (widest gap between rollers), and roll the dough through. Go through one more time at that size, then decrease the size y one. If you need to cut the sheet you’re working with, just cut it and set the rest of to the side.
Continue this process until the second thinnest setting, then roll the sheet through the cutters. Congratulations, you have fresh pasta! Still a little unsure? Ask in the comments below, there will be a video of this process soon.