This is pasta made the traditional way, by hand. Nothing beats homemade pasta—not even store-bought “fresh.” A mixture of 50% Italian “00” flour and 50% Farina di Semola (pale yellow, finely ground, hard durum wheat flour for making pasta and some bread) works particularly well. This mixture of soft and hard wheat flours gives the dough a firmer texture. You may also use strong white bread flour. The dough must not be too soft—it should require some serious effort when kneading! However, too much extra flour will make the pasta too tough to handle or put through the pasta machine, and, when cooked, it will taste floury. You could opt to roll the pasta by hand using a long wooden rolling pin, although using a pasta machine makes for far less work. Generally allow one egg to 3/4 cup flour quantity per portion for an entrée. You can also make a large batch and freeze it once its been cut and shaped.–Maxine Clark, Contributing Author
LC Pasta Fact
The traditional flour used for pasta-making, known as “00″ flour, isn’t inexpensive. But it’s worth its weight in gold. Or pasta. Whichever you value more.
Homemade Pasta Dough Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 45 M
- 1 H, 30 M
- Makes about 18 ounces
- 1 2/3 cups Italian “00” flour (or half Italian “00” flour and half Farina di Semola)
- 2 medium or large eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- A pinch of sea salt
- Make the basic pasta dough
- 1. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center with your fist.
- 2. Break the eggs into the well and add the oil and a pinch of salt to the well.
- 3. Gradually mix the egg mixture into the flour using the fingers of one hand, bringing the ingredients together into a firm dough. If the dough feels too dry, add a few drops of water; if it’s too wet, add a little more flour. (You will soon grow accustomed to how the dough should feel after you’ve made it a few times.)
- 4. Knead the pasta until smooth, 2 to 5 minutes. Lightly massage it with a hint of olive oil, pop the dough into a plastic food bag, and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The pasta will be much more elastic after resting.
- Pass the dough through the pasta machine
- 5. Start to feed the blob of pasta dough through the widest setting of a pasta machine. As the sheet of dough comes out of the machine, fold it into thirds and then feed it through the rollers again, still on the widest setting. Pass the dough through this setting a total of 4 or 5 times. This effectively kneads the dough, ensuring the resulting pasta is silky smooth.
- 6. Pass the pasta through the machine again, starting at the widest setting and gradually reducing the settings, one pass at a time, until the pasta achieves the required thickness. The pasta sheet will become very long—if you are having trouble keeping the dough from folding onto itself or are making ravioli, cut the sheet of dough in half and feed each half through separately. Generally the second-from-last setting is best for tagliatelle and the last setting is best for ravioli and any other shapes that are to be filled.
- 7. After the pasta has reached the requisite thickness, hang it over a broom handle or the back of a chair to dry a little—this will make cutting it easier in humid weather, as it will not be so sticky. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can dust the pasta with a little flour and place it on clean kitchen towels and let it rest for just a short spell.
- 8. Shape the pasta by hand (see instructions below) or pass the pasta through the chosen cutters (tagliolini, tagliatelle, etc.) and then drape the cut pasta over the broom handle or chair back again to dry just a little, until ready to cook. You can, of course, again toss the cut pasta lightly in flour (preferably semolina flour) and lay out in loose bundles on a tray lined with a clean kitchen towel. Use as soon as possible before it sticks together.
- Cook the pasta
- 9. Throw the pasta into a large saucepan of boiling, salted water. You will need about 4 quarts water and 3 tablespoons of salt for every 13 to 18 ounces of fresh or dried pasta. It is the large volume of water that will prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Note: Cooking times for fresh and dried pasta vary according to the size and quality of the pasta. The only way to check is to taste it. However, the basic method of cooking remains the same.
- 10. Stir the pasta only once or twice—if you have enough water in the pan and you stir the pasta as it goes in, it shouldn’t stick.
- 11. DO NOT COVER the pot or the water will boil over. Quickly bring the pasta back to a rolling boil, stir, and boil until al dente, or firm to the bite, about 2 minutes. The pasta should not have a hard center or be soggy and floppy. If following a specified cooking time, calculate it from the moment the pasta starts to boil again and have a colander ready for draining.
- 12. Drain the pasta, holding back 2 to 3 tablespoons of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pan (the dissolved starch in the water helps the sauce cling to the pasta). Dress the pasta straight away with the sauce directly in the pan. (The Italian way is ALWAYS to toss the cooked, hot pasta with the sauce before serving.) Serve the hot pasta immediately with your favorite sauce. Even a copious drizzle of olive oil or melted butter—cooked just to the point of taking on a slightly nutty, toasty brown tinge—and a smattering of fresh herbs constitutes a sauce when the pasta is as tender and tasty as this.
- Shape the pasta dough by hand
- 13. Tagliatelle On a lightly floured surface, roll or fold one side of the sheet of dough loosely towards the center of the sheet, then repeat with the other side so that they almost meet in the middle. Gently fold one side on top of the other, but do not press down on the fold.
- 14. Cut the dough into thin slices with a sharp knife, slicing through the folded dough quickly and deftly in a single motion.
- 15. Immediately unravel the slices to reveal the pasta ribbons. You can do this by inserting the dull side of a large knife into each slice and gently shaking it loose. (If you wait, they will stick together. Trust us.) Hang the pasta to dry a little before cooking or dust it well with semolina flour and arrange in loose nests on a tray lined with a clean kitchen towel.
- 16. Pappardelle On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into wide ribbons using a fluted pastry cutter. Hang up to dry slightly before cooking.
- 17. Tortellini On a lightly floured surface, stamp out rounds of pasta using a round cookie cutter. Pipe or spoon your favorite filling into the middle of each round. Brush the edges with beaten egg and carefully fold the round into a crescent shape, pressing the dough around the filling to expel any air.
- 18. Bend the two corners of the crescent around to meet each other in the center and press well to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let dry on a floured kitchen towel for about 30 minutes before cooking.
- 19. Ravioli If your dough is still in a single sheet, cut it into two equal portions. Cover one portion with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap while you work with the rest of the dough. Spoon small mounds (1 teaspoon approximately) of filling on the dough in even rows, spacing them at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the spaces of dough between the mounds with beaten egg. Using a rolling pin, carefully drape the reserved sheet of dough on top of the mounds, pressing down firmly between the pockets of filling to push out any trapped air. Use a serrated ravioli or pastry cutter or a sharp knife to cut the ravioli into squares. Transfer to a floured kitchen towel to rest for 1 hour before cooking.
- Color the pasta
- 20. Spinach Follow the Basic Pasta Dough recipe. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface. Next, puree 3/4 cup frozen cooked leaf spinach (squeezed to remove as much moisture as possible) in a food processor. Add it to the well in the flour. Continue as per the Basic Pasta Dough method.
- 21. Tomato Add 2 tablespoons tomato paste or sun-dried tomato paste to the well in the flour. Use 1 large egg instead of 2 medium ones. Continue as per the Basic Pasta Dough recipe.
- 22. Beet Roast 1 red beet until softened, about 45 minutes. Let cool. Peel and grate or puree in a food processor. Add 2 tablespoons grated cooked beet to the well in the flour. Use 1 large egg instead of 2 medium ones. Continue as per the Basic Pasta Dough recipe.
- 23. Saffron Soak 1 sachet of powdered saffron in 2 tablespoons hot water for 15 minutes. Strain the water, discarding the solids. Use 1 large egg instead of 2 medium ones and whisk with the vibrant saffron water before adding to the well in the flour. Continue as per the Basic Pasta Dough recipe.
- 24. Herb Add at least 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh green herbs to the well in the flour.
- 25. Black squid ink pasta Add 1 sachet squid ink to the eggs and whisk to combine before adding to the flour. A little extra flour may be needed.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
May 20, 2010
This was my first attempt at semolina pasta and I was very pleased with the results. I used half 00 flour and half semolina and adjusted the recipe for flavored pasta. I added 2 tbsp pureed carrots and it was quite delicious with spicy sausage and a creamy tomato sauce. This pasta dried much more quickly than egg pasta, but I found this made cutting it into linguine (using my Kitchen Aid attachment) much easier as there was no sticking. I can't wait to try other flavors!
May 20, 2010
In my testing, I doubled the recipe and used half semolina flour. I also had some ramps, so I blanched the greens and used them like you would in the recipe’s spinach variation. The amount of ramp greens I had was well under the 3 to 4 cups of spinach called for, but the bossy flavour of the ramps more than made up for it. The colour was a pale mint green with flecks.
The dough came together beautifully, though next time, I’d omit the oil. After a 5-minute knead, the dough was smooth and elastic, but needed a little rest. When I rolled it out in the pasta maker, it was beautiful to work with. Though the recipe suggests you send the whole thing through the machine at once, I found it much easier to divide the dough into six walnut-sized pieces. I then cut the sheets into papparedelle, but when cooking I pulled the noodles out before they were ready, at about 5 minutes, then sautéed them in a pan with ramp bulbs, butter, and a bit of the cooking water. I served this with toasted bread crumbs, and loads of cheese. I’d totally make this again—this pasta was so effortless that I’d only bother freezing this if I was making stuffed pasta, like ravioli.
May 20, 2010
This is a pasta dough that works, although it’s rare I come across a pasta recipe that doesn’t work for me. I used a 50/50 mix of Italian 00 flour and semolina. I also used large eggs. It took some kneading to get the dough to come together at first, so I can see how one might need extra water if medium eggs are used. I only kneaded it for 5 minutes, and after that, the dough was stiff but cohesive —there were no hanging straggly parts or anything like that. I find pasta dough benefits hugely from a rest, so I didn’t knead it any further. This is also the first time I’ve seen the suggestion of rubbing olive oil over dough before resting. I don’t know if that’s what made everything nice and soft, or if it was the rest itself, but the dough ended up smooth and supple. I did have use the thickest setting of the pasta roller (I use my KitchenAid attachment, not the manual crank one), but after that, it rolled out very nicely, even when using the second-thinnest setting. Half of the sheets were cut into fettucine using the attachment, while the other half I hand-cut into tagliatelle. The sheets seemed to dry faster than I’m used to, but that could’ve been due to the weather; it was a little warm and dry in the kitchen. The recipe headnote says that for every egg used, you’ll end up with about one entree portion of pasta. I ended up with enough pasta to serve four people—and we were hungry! It took 2 minutes for the noodles to cook al dente after the water came back to a boil. Fresh pasta is always great, and this didn’t disappoint. There’s a nice bite to the noodles, and they’re not heavy on the egg flavor. It’s the first time I’ve made pasta using the flour-well method (I usually whiz it together in a food processor), but it worked really well. We ate some of it buttered with Parmesan, and some with spinach and cream.
May 20, 2010
This is a straightforward, lovely, and easy recipe for basic pasta dough. I hunted down the Italian 00 flour and the farina di semola so that we could test the proper flours. I also used large eggs instead of medium. This is a fun recipe, and I made it with my 9-year-old granddaughter, who became a master of cranking the pasta machine. It took only about 1 to 2 minutes of kneading the dough. We made the basic medium-wide noodles, and will make the dough again to try some of the other shapes and cuts. All in all, it was a great hit for dinner with a hint of butter, fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, and fresh grated cheese. It’s definitely a keeper.
May 20, 2010
This recipe yielded beautiful pasta with a delicate texture. I didn't have 00 pasta flour on hand, so I used a regular AP Flour and large eggs. My pasta dough was initially very dry and wasn't coming together very well. With the addition a few drops of water at a time, about 1/4 cup total, the pasta dough finally came together. I kneaded it for about 5 to 7 minutes and still wasn't sure if the dough was going to be too dry, but I massaged the outside of the dough with a little olive oil and popped it into a resealable plastic bag. Half an hour later and I had a mound of dough that felt ready to work with. The rest time really did help. This dough made beautiful pasta which my family thoroughly enjoyed! I will definitely make this again.
Homemade Pasta Dough Recipe © 2010 Maxine Clark. Photos © 2010 Ryland Peters & Small. All rights reserved.