This homemade pasta dough recipe is the best. It’s made fresh, the traditional way, from eggs, flour, olive oil, and salt. Nothing’s better.
Homemade pasta dough is one of the best things on the planet. Although not all recipes for fresh pasta are equally spectacular. This fresh pasta dough recipe works exceptionally well for us. The magic can be found in the recipe’s mixture of 50% Italian “00” flour* (lower in gluten than most American flours, it’s an exceptionally light, almost powdery flour that yields dough that is softer and suppler and easier to work with) and 50% Farina di Semola (finely ground, pale yellow, hard durum wheat flour for making pasta and some bread). The homemade pasta dough that results has just the perfect firmness, which is good, because pasta dough shouldn’t be too soft—it should require some serious effort when kneading. Be mindful when kneading or rolling the dough to not add too much flour or your pasta will be tough and taste floury. You could opt to roll the pasta dough by hand using a long wooden rolling pin, although a pasta machine makes for far less work. This recipe has been updated. Originally published May 20, 2010.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How Much Fresh Pasta Should I Make?
How much fresh pasta should I make? It’s an age old question, regardless of whether you’re making fresh pasta or pasta from a box. It may take a little divining on your part to find your personal preference, but the author allows approximately 1 egg to 3/4 cup flour per entrée portion.
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
- Pinch sea salt
- Make the homemade pasta dough
- 1. Sft the flour onto a clean work surface and use your fist to make a well in the center.
- 2. Break the eggs into the well. Add the oil and a pinch of salt to the well. 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 the dough feels too wet, add a little more flour. (Don’t worry, you’ll soon grow accustomed to how the dough should feel after you’ve made it a few times.)
- 3. Knead the pasta dough until it’s smooth, 2 to 5 minutes. Lightly massage it with a touch of olive oil, tuck the dough in a resealable plastic bag, and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The pasta will be much more elastic after resting than it was before.
- Pass the pasta dough through the pasta machine
- 4. Feed the blob of pasta dough through a pasta machine set on the widest setting. As the sheet of pasta 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 pasta through this same setting a total of 4 or 5 times. This takes the place of kneading the pasta dough and ensures the resulting pasta is silky smooth.
- 5. Pass the sheet of pasta dough through the machine again, repeatedly, gradually reducing the settings, one pass at a time, until the pasta achieves the desired thickness. Your sheet of pasta dough will become quite long—if you have trouble keeping the dough from folding onto itself or if you 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.
- 6. After the sheet of pasta dough 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.
- 7. 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 or place it in a resealable plastic bag and stash it in the freezer.
- Cook the pasta dough
- 8. 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.
- 9. Stir the pasta only once or twice. If you have used enough water and you stir the pasta as it goes in, it shouldn’t stick.
- 10. 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.
- 11. 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
- 12. 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.
- 13. Cut the dough into thin slices with a sharp knife, slicing through the folded dough quickly and deftly in a single motion. (It takes very little practice to get the hang of this.)
- 14. 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.
- 15. Pappardelle On a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into wide ribbons using a fluted pastry cutter. Hang the pasta to dry a little before cooking.
- 16. 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 push out any trapped air.
- 17. Using your fingertips, bend the 2 corners of the crescent around to meet one another 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.
- 18. Ravioli If your pasta dough is still in a single sheet, cut it into 2 equal portions. Cover one portion of the dough with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap while you work with the rest of the dough. Spoon small mounds (about 1 teaspoon) of filling on the dough in even rows, spacing them at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the 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 cutter, a pastry cutter, or a sharp knife, cut the ravioli into squares. Transfer the ravioli to a floured kitchen towel to rest for 1 hour before cooking.
- Color the pasta
- 19. 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.
- 20. Tomato Add 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade 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.
- 21. 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.
- 22. 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.
- 23. Herb Add at least 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh green herbs to the well in the flour.
- 24. Black squid ink pasta Add 1 sachet squid ink to the eggs and whisk to combine before adding to the flour. You may need to add a little extra flour to the pasta dough.
*Where To Find 00 Flour
- 00 flour, which is traditionally used in Italian kitchens for homemade pasta dough, isn’t inexpensive. But it is worth its weight in gold. (Or fresh pasta. Whichever you value more.) It can be a little tricky to find but we’ve had luck at specialty stores, some grocery stores, and online.
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Homemade Pasta Dough Recipe © 2010 Maxine Clark. Photos © 2010 Ryland Peters & Small. All rights reserved.
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