Fresh pasta makes a simple meal sublime. With flour, eggs, and a smidge of water, you can create a foundation for a memorable meal perfect for any day of the week.
There are several variations of fresh pasta, although I prefer to stick with the basics that offer a rich-tasting result, to go perfectly with any sauce. I use a high quality all-purpose flour, and eggs from our hens. If it’s particularly dry (since humidity does have a factor in the recipe), you can add a little water to pull the dough together. Other than salt for the boiling water, that’s pretty much all you need.
And while you can certainly hand-roll and cut your own pasta noodles, life is a whole lot easier with a pasta machine. A manual pasta machine costs anywhere from $40 to $140 and will practically last a lifetime. All you have to do is clamp the machine to the countertop or table and roll away. There’s a roller to thin and create sheets of pasta, which works well for ravioli or lasagna noodles, plus additional cutters for different types of pasta.
4 cups of all-purpose flour
The traditional method is to create a mound of flour with a well in the middle on a clean work surface. Crack the eggs into the center and begin mixing with a fork until you form a smooth ball. You’ll want to drizzle a little water as you go if it’s not forming properly.
If you’re in a hurry, particularly on weeknights, you can always lean on the food processor to speed up the effort by making 2 half batches. After adding 2 cups of the flour and 3 eggs to the processor, pulse it for roughly 30 seconds. If it doesn’t stick together when the dough is pinched, add ¼ teaspoon of water and process again for a few seconds. Continue to add water and process until it reaches the right consistency, but it usually doesn’t take more than ¾ teaspoon to create a dough that holds together.
Once it feels right, scoop out the loose pasta dough on a lightly floured surface and begin kneading. Kneading takes some time and hand strength, but it is a key step to a delicious and light pasta noodle. Knead for 5-7 minutes, although try not to incorporate too much flour to the dough. The dough is ready when it’s smooth and bounces back if you poke it. Wrap it in plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to rest, or up to a couple of hours if you’re not able to make it right away. Then make the second batch.
When you are ready to make the pasta, cut or tear off a small handful a little bigger than a golf ball. Put the large roller on one of the widest settings, either 1 or 2, to initially roll through the dough. Sprinkle a little flour if it starts to stick at any time through the process. Continue narrowing the roller until you reach the desired thickness.
Once you have the proper thickness of the dough, you can put it through either of the other cutters. Sprinkle the flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the metal. Use your hand as a guide as it comes through the cutters. Once it’s done, place the pasta on a tray with a clean towel or parchment paper to keep it from clumping together.
To make the perfect fresh pasta, boil a big pan of water and add a generous teaspoon of salt to the water before gently adding in the pasta. Boil for 3-4 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you’re cooking.
Once it’s finished, drain it in a colander, but don’t run it under cold water. You want it hot and ready to soak up that good sauce.
Fresh, homemade pasta can’t be matched by anything you find in the grocery store. It’s light, full of flavor, and is the ideal way to make a simple meal extra special.
Try it topped with our fresh tomato sauce!
Don’t have access to a pasta machine? Read these tips on how to roll it out by hand!