Introduction: How to Make Pasta
It's easy to learn how to make fresh pasta dough at home. You can roll out a batch of fresh pasta in under an hour. With only two ingredients, who could resist?
At first, making noodles from scratch may seem intimidating. The secret is all in the kneading. Relax, roll up your sleeves, and get ready for light, airy noodles unlike anything you've had from a box.
Are you ready to learn how to make pasta from scratch?
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Step 1: Ingredients
Fresh Pasta Dough
Active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
200 grams of all-purpose flour
extra flour for dusting the work surface
1 kitchen scale
1 rolling pin
1 cutting board
3 bowls (large, medium, small)
1 hand-cranked pasta machine, with spaghetti attachment (pictured, Atlas brand)
Step 2: Weigh the Flour
Set your scale to grams. Place the large mixing bowl on your kitchen scale.
Find the button labeled "ZERO". Wait for the numbers to settle. Press the ZERO button until the digital display reads "0 g".
Slowly, add all-purpose flour to the mixing bowl until the digital display reads 200 grams. It's okay to give or take up to 5 grams.
Remove the scale.
Step 3: Beat the Eggs
Crack two eggs into a medium bowl. Beat the eggs until they foam and turn a pale yellow. If the eggs still have floating white chunks, keep beating with a fork for a minute or two longer. The eggs bind evenly with the flour if they are well mixed.
Step 4: Form a Well
To form a well in the flour, use the fork to press flour high up against the sides of the mixing bowl. Keep a thin layer of flour on the bottom of the mixing bowl.
Step 5: Add Eggs and Fold
Pour the eggs into the flour well.
Take the fork and lower the flour so it covers the outer edges of egg.
To combine the flour and egg, use a circular folding motion. With the fork, bring the flour around the pool of egg and push it through the middle of the bowl. This motion combines the flour and egg evenly, and rotates the egg clumps around the edges of the bowl.
Be careful not to let raw egg touch the sides of the bowl. The dough will form a sticky mess if egg does not touch flour at all times.
Step 6: Break Up Large Clumps
Take the fork and break up large, yellow clumps in the dough. Use a figure eight motion to evenly mix the remaining wet egg into the large chunks of dough.
The dough is ready to knead when all flakes are of an even size and color.
Step 7: Make a Ball of Dough
With clean hands, press the flakes of dough together. Repeat until a firm ball forms. Remove the bowl and place the ball of dough on a lightly flour, clean work surface.
Step 8: Knead and Rest the Dough
Knead the dough for 10 to 15 minutes.
How to Knead Pasta Dough
To knead the dough, press down and through with your wrist on your dominant hand. Guide the dough by cupping your opposite hand around the dough as you work. Turn the dough 90 degrees after each knead and repeat.
As the dough develops gluten bonds, the dough will become elastic and marbled. Flakiness and folds will disappear, and the dough will begin to absorb itself.
Extended kneading improves the taste and texture of the finished pasta. Rushed noodles will stick and pull through the roller and dissolve apart in the cooking water.
When the dough looks elastic and even in color, rest the dough for 20 to 30 minutes to allow the gluten bonds to relax.
Step 9: Cut the Dough
Using your palm, flatten the pasta dough onto a clean, lightly floured cutting board. Cut the ball of pasta dough into 1/4 inch slices.
Step 10: Shape the Dough for Rolling
There are two ways to prepare dough for a hand-cranked rolling machine.
Take a 1/4 inch slice of dough and pinch it around the edges.Check against the machine to see if the edge will fit through the largest gap on your machine.
Press your dough with a rolling pin into a thin, flat sheet. I prefer this method because it shapes and reinforces the gluten structures. It also puts less stress onto your pasta machine.
Step 11: Roll the Dough
Set your hand-cranked pasta machine on the largest gap. Take your pinched or pressed piece of dough and guide it through the machine.
For the best results, roll it through each reduced gap at least 3 times. Repetitive rolling makes smoother finished noodles.
Step 12: Cut the Noodles
For spaghetti, fettuccine, and lasagna noodles, roll your dough until it reaches the middle setting. On the Atlas machine (pictured), stop on dial 4. Adjust for a longer cook time (thicker) or a lighter sauce (thinner).
Once the noodles are pressed to a medium thickness, switch the crank to the spaghetti (pictured) or fettuccine setting. Line up the sheet of pasta and cut the dough into noodles.
If the noodles stick, back crank the machine to separate the strands again.
Step 13: Check for Quality
There are three ways to check if your noodles are done properly:
1. If you can separate a strand of noodle from other strands.
2. If your noodles can pinch together and pull apart again without tearing.
3. If your noodles can hold a dusting of flour on the surface, but do not crack at the edges.
Once your noodles hold a good bind (see above), allow them to dry for a few minutes.
Now that you've made pasta from scratch, cook the noodles in salted water for 1 to 3 minutes. For every quart of water, add about an ounce of salt. Rinse after cooking and toss with a little olive oil.
If you are dressing your noodles in sauce, you can dip your noodles in salted boiling water for a minute, then finish them up in the sauce pan.
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