How to Make Handmade Pasta—Without a Pasta Maker
Ciao! It's your Italian-American friend here to guide you through the art of homemade pasta. Wait, wait, wait! Don't leave yet. It's not as hard as you think. Don't be intimidated by making your own pasta at home. As long as you have an an hour or two and just a few pantry staples, you can whip up a plate of pasta that, with one bite, will catapult you to a piazza table in Rome. I'll be standing over your shoulder cheering you on the whole time, too. You've got this!
Italian food is for everyone. You'll hear a lot of people talk about which flour is best, and whether to use egg yolks or whole yolks. Well, I'm here to tell you that any true Italian is going to like their Nonna's pasta better than yours, anyway, so it doesn't really matter. The best ingredients are always whatever you have on hand.
But sure, using high-quality ingredients is always going to give you the best outcome. If you want my recommendation, I'd use "00" flour, because it gives you the silkiest dough you can imagine. If you can't find "00" flour, you will be just as happy with all-purpose flour. And for healthier pasta, you could also experiment a 50/50 sub of whole-wheat flour.
MAKING YOUR DOUGH
Pour your flour onto your countertop with a peak at the top with a peak at the top like a mountain. Using the tips of your fingers together, push down into the mountain peak toward the counter and move your fingers around in a circle until you have created an 8-inch well, making sure you have a flour wall high enough to keep your eggs in.
Add your eggs inside the well and, using a fork, scramble your eggs gradually adding more and more flour into the eggs until a shaggy dough has formed. Now it's time to set aside your fork and use the most valuable tool in the kitchen—your hands! Start kneading the dough together to incorporate all the flour into your dough. If it feels like the dough is too firm, just wet your hands and get back to kneading. You can expect to knead for at least 5-10 minutes, so feel free to skip the gym today. Just don't lose hope—keep kneading!
When the dough appears smooth on the outside, you're ready to form it into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and set it aside to rest (hello, gluten!) for 15 minutes while you tidy up the kitchen. Next, unwrap your dough from the plastic wrap, and use a knife to cut the ball in half. Knead each half separately for another 3-5 minutes until smooth. If the dough doesn't seem to be incorporating itself well, not to worry—just wet your hands and keep kneading. Once both halves are smooth, wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes (up to 3 hours). Now you can set your dough in the fridge overnight for tomorrow's dinner!
ROLLING OUT YOUR DOUGH
Once your dough has rested, it's time to get your roll on. Flour the surface of your countertop and use a rolling pin to roll out your dough until it's so thin you could read a newspaper beneath it.
CUTTING YOUR DOUGH
Now take your thin sheet of pasta and slowly start to roll it up onto itself, loosely. If the dough feels sticky, lightly flour it before attempting to roll it. Once the pasta is rolled, use a very sharp knife and cut every 1/4th of an inch to make your noodles. Once your dough is completely cut into sections, slowly unravel each. Voila! You've just made fresh pasta. Pat yourself on the back—you should be proud.
FREEZE, DRY, OR COOK
Now that your pasta is made, you've got several options. Your noodles can be placed on a plastic-wrapped cookie sheet in the fridge for a few days, frozen for up to 4 months, or enjoyed immediately!
And since we're big fans of "everything in moderation," pair your homemade pasta with a little red wine, turn on your favorite music, and let this easy, delicious pasta transport your taste buds to Naples. Buon appetito!
Swap your homemade pasta noodles in with any of these delicious recipes.
No-Machine Fresh Pasta Recipe (serves 4-6)
3 1/4 cup “00” or all-purpose flour
5 whole eggs
1. Pour flour onto countertop. Using the tips of your fingers together, push down into the flour and move your fingers around in a circle until you’ve created an 8-inch well. Make sure you have a flour wall high enough to keep your eggs in.
2. Crack eggs inside the well and, using a fork, scramble your eggs gradually adding more and more flour into the eggs until a shaggy dough has formed.
3. Using your hands, start kneading the dough together to combine the dry flour with the wet dough. Continue kneading for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth. Form into a ball and tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Set aside for 15 minutes to rest.
4. Unwrap dough and cut ball in half. Knead each side of the dough ball for another 3-5 minutes until smooth. Wrap both dough balls again tightly in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to 3 hours.
5. Once dough has rested, use a rolling pin to roll out dough as thin as possible on a floured surface. You should be able to see your hand through it.
6. Loosely roll up sheet of dough. Using a sharp knife, make cuts 1/4 of an inch thick down the sheet of dough. Unravel your pasta and set aside on a floured cookie sheet to either cook, refrigerate, or freeze.
To Cook Fresh Pasta:
Add to salted, boiling water and cook for 1-2 minutes. Taste test as they cook to ensure they are ready before draining.