About six months ago I got a pasta machine and ever since then I’ve been on a mission to perfect my pasta-making technique. I even took a class in Tuscany! Now, I’m totally convinced that I’ve become a master and I want to share my expertise with you.
First, you need a pasta machine. I tried making pasta with a rolling pin once and it was a painful process with poor results. Learn from my mistakes and drop $25 on one of these.
You’ll also need:
- Flour (about 1 cup per serving)
- Eggs (1 per serving)
- Sauce (I like to make pesto because it’s fresh and easy, but next time I want to try Carbonara)
If you have a food processor, it will save tons of time and effort. Just add one cup of flour and one egg per person. If not, pour the flour on a clean counter top and shape it into a well (AKA volcano). Put the eggs into the middle, and mix them into the flour slowly. Either way, the mixing can be slow going. That’s why it’s great when you have a machine to do the work. Eventually the dough will start to look crumbly. It probably won’t stick together without a little bit of water. I add it slowly (a tablespoon at a time) to make sure the dough doesn’t become too soft or sticky. It should be pretty firm, and ball up into one big mass in the food processor.
Once the dough is ready, some people suggest letting it rest. I haven’t found this to be necessary, so I just knead it a few times on a well-floured counter top and start rolling. Flour is your best friend when you’re making pasta. My kitchen usually looks like a flour bomb went off when I’m done cooking, but I think that just means I’m doing it right.
Cut a piece of dough a little bigger than a golf ball and run it through the pasta maker on the widest setting (on my machine, that’s a 7).
Fold it like a book, and run it through again. You can fold again and run it through until it is the size and shape you want. Then move the setting down one (to 6) and run it through again. I only fold it on the widest setting. Move it down another and roll the pasta through again. Repeat until you’ve put the dough through the smallest setting. It should be so thin that you can almost see through it.
I like to roll 3-4 sheets and let them rest on a floured counter before running them through the cutting attachment. It is a separate attachment that comes with the pasta machine and works the same way. Once your pasta is cut, let it sit on a cookie sheet with lots of flour while you finish the batch.
Once you’re ready to cook your pasta, boil and salt your water. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than store-bought pasta. It usually only takes a minute or two for mine to reach al dente perfection. Once it’s done to your liking, strain, add sauce, and enjoy!