You're never going to believe this but ... homemade pasta dough is stupidly easy to make. Use it for lasagna, ravioli, tortellini or whatever pasta you're hankering for.
My pumpkin ravioli recipe above is worth trying immediately.
O.K. everyone on their feet.
I want you to reach your arms up as high as you can, straight up over your head. Stretch all the way up through your fingertips. Now widen your stance, put your hands on your hips and twist your body around. Feel your back stretch.
Good. You're now ready for the monumental task of searching for that pasta machine you own but have never, ever used.
Don't give up. You'll find it. Try behind the bread maker.
Today we're making pasta dough.
Firstly, pasta dough is very different from other doughs. Pie dough for instance, likes to be cold and rolled out onto a cold surface like marble. Pasta dough likes to be warm, and rolled out on a warm surface, like wood. Bread dough is folded over itself when kneading. Pasta dough is generally stretched and bashed.
Don't fret too much about it. It's not hard and the measurements aren't even really that important. Not like baking. All you need are eggs, flour and if you want, a drizzle of olive oil. It just adds a bit of flavour and glossiness to the pasta.
Table of Contents
Pasta Dough from Scratch
Dump your flour onto your work surface. Wood is best but if you have formica or marble or granite go for it. It will not make or break your pasta experience. Make a well in the centre of the flour.
A note about pasta flour:
The flour you use for pasta will change the texture of it. Pasta made from 00 flour will be smoother and silkier. Pasta from all purpose flour will be slightly chewier and have a heavier mouth feel.
Add your eggs to the well.
You can either add them whole or beat them before hand and add them. I'd normally beat them, but if you forget to do that (like I did) it's not a big deal.
Add a teaspoon or so of olive oil. Maybe a tablespoon. Whatever you want. Are you seeing how I'm setting this up so you're not afraid. I'm getting you all loosey goosey so you're not scared of it.
You can add the oil prior to whisking the eggs as well. Doesn't matter.
With a fork, start incorporating the flour with the eggs.
Just grab a little bit from the bottom or sides as you're whisking. Little by little pull in more flour. You can make this a bit easier on yourself by just adding ½ of the eggs at first and then adding the rest in after those are incorporated.
The MOST important part of this step is to not let your flour wall collapse. If that happens you're done for because your egg mixture will go running out and across the counter.
You can also just use your fingers. Just swirl your fingers around the centre of the eggs and pull in the flour like you would with a fork. It's gucky.
You will have a shaggy mess by the time most of the flour is incorporated.
You have to use your judgement in terms of whether to use all the flour.
It's a tough dough in general, not light and fluffy.
It needs to be sticky and not fall apart but not so sticky you can't even knead it.
Pat the dough together into a ball.
Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.
Kneading pasta dough is different from kneading bread dough.
You don't need to fold the pasta dough on itself. Just push the ball away from you with the palm of your hand, form it into a ball again, and push it away again. It's all about the stretching.
You're done kneading when your dough is soft, stretches easily and smooth.
When you poke your finger into it, it'll bounce back.
Wrap the dough and let it rest in the fridge for at least ½ an hour and up to 2 days. Your dough is now ready to roll.
- 2 cups flour* "00" is best, but use whatever white flour you have.
- 4 whole eggs large
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil*
- Whisk salt into flour.
- Dump flour and salt onto counter so it falls into a pile. Make a well in the centre that will hold the eggs.
- Beat the eggs then pour them into the well. Add the oil.
- Using a fork start incorporating bits of the flour from around the well into the eggs. Continue until the mixture becomes too thick to mix with a fork.
- Continue incorporating the flour with your fingers.
- Once the dough comes together form it into a ball and knead it for 10 minutes.
- If the dough is sticking dust the dough and your hands with flour as needed.
- The dough will feel smooth and elastic once it's kneaded properly.
- Let the dough rest for a minimum of 10 minutes.
- Roll out by hand or with a pasta machine.
Still confused? Watch the video for a look at the techniques.
Homemade Pasta Recipe.
This video of me making pasta is using the classic Italian "100 grams per 1 large egg" ratio. I've moved onto a richer dough (which is the one I've outlined in this post) but the old standard ratio works well.
100 grams of pasta is considered 1 serving.
And that's all there is to it. It's really not very hard and it doesn't take much time. If you OWN a pasta roller but aren't entirely sure about how to use it you can read this post where I explain it all.
I've made this recipe with my nieces and nephews and they were amazed at how good it was, how much fun it was to make and how ridiculously simple it was. So if you have kids around that like cooking they are going to LOVE making pasta with you. And eventually for you. Which is the ultimate goal when you teach someone how to cook, right?
I still have a whack of roasted tomato sauce from TWO years ago so I'll be going with that. No sauce? No problem. Cook the pasta, toss it in melted butter and top it with parmesan cheese. Lots of parmesan cheese. Like add an obscene amount of parmesan. And then add a tiny bit more.
So. What are you going to make with the pasta dough you whip up this weekend?
1. I rated the recipe 5 stars without making it bc it has the same ingredients as my aunt Cele’s pasta, so it would be hard to go wrong from there ...I bet
2. I fell over when I put my hands above my head to stretch. I’m not sure why. It was weird and made me think I definitely need to stretch more.
3. If you knew my late aunt Celestina, you would know how very right you are that pasta can be “loosey goosey”, imperfect and unmeasured and still come out ok. She made half her food while drinking wine and dancing the funky chicken to her husband’s bluegrass picking in the chair next to her stove, so I’m pretty sure most things she made weren’t complicated. They were, however, doused in olive oil.
4. Who do you know who, as a Sicialian, marries a Kentucky boy and dances the funky chicken in the kitchen to his Bluegrass picking these days? Nobody. That doesn’t happen any more. Ah- days gone by..
You have my vote Karen. Thanks for the laughs. I love reading your posts.
Are you sure you are not distantly related to Karen? Your writing style suggests a genetic link!
That was four things.
That's so much nicer than when people give recipes a 1 star review because they don't think it seems like it'll be a good recipe, lol. ~ karen!
How did you know I've never used that pasta machine I just had to have? 🙄
The real question is how would you ever think I did NOT know that. ~ karen!
My Grandma taught me how to make egg noodles when I was 10 (58 yrs ago!) the only difference between your recipe and hers is that she added butter instead of olive oil. Can't wait to try your recipe for homemade ravioli and finally use the pasta machine I gave my daughter who wanted one and never used it, and who then gave it back to me! Thanks!
I use the same recipe but being kinda lazy I wondered if I could use the stand mixer and dough hook. It worked just fine. I also have a water sprayer available to moisten it a bit if I find it too dry or not holding together as well as I would like whether with hand kneading or using the dough hook. All in all, there is nothing like fresh pasta.
After 30+ years of making pasta dough by hand, this year I started using the dough hook on my stand mixer. Works GREAT and saves my feeble wrists. :D
I just made pasta from scratch for the 1st time about a month ago in a Zoom tutorial and discovered just how loosey goosey it is!
My pasta was not a sanctioned shape, probably not the right consistency, and it was >still< better than anything I’ve had out of a box.
Yup. Honestly, it's very hard to make a terrible pasta. Maybe that would be a fun thing for me to make during my live The Art of Fun STUFF Zoom! ~ karen
Did you wonder that pasta can be made without eggs for environment friendly? Only flour salt and water.
Don't believe?? Check a Barilla pasta wrapper.
Hi Joe! That's a different kind of pasta. :) It's not as good but it is edible! ~ karen!
I must be blind as a bat - where is the video link, please?
Hi Catherine. You either have an ad blocker on your computer (if so then you won't be able to see any of my videos). Or you could try using a different browser. If you're using Chrome, try Safari etc. ~ karen!
Have to try this for my son in law only gluten free😝 any suggestions on flour ? We have one we use most of the time by Bobs Red Mill called One to One. Also can you store this pasta at all? I buy Butoni fresh pasta its slightly dried so much better than the box! I think people don't make it cause its a quick meal but making the pasta negates that but if you could make a couple batches ahead to grab ....Viola
Hi Sandy- I'm gluten free as well and have been making GF pasta awhile now, and it's pretty indistinguishable from wheat pasta: 3/4 cup tapioca starch, ½ cup potato starch, ¼ cup millet (could be sorghum as well) flour, ½ tsp xanthan gum; mix, make your well on the board, then make a depression in the flour and add 3 eggs and 2 Tbsp EVOO, and then mix like Karen says. This feeds two for dinner. If you add and extra ¼ - ½ cup of water to the mix, it will make spaetzle. Double recipe is 1 ½ cups, tapioca starch, 1 cup potato starch, ½ cup millet flour, 1 tsp xanthan gum, and then 3 Tbsp EVOO and five eggs. And then absolutely make sure you let it rest for 30 minutes because GF flours need to sit with their liquids in order to not be gritty. But this makes a good pasta and made with enough water and handled carefully, you can even make filled pasta like ravioli with it. It will not make the hand formed fancy stuff like cavatelli or orecchiette or the like, but I figure some pasta is better than no pasta.
If making pasta is your thing, you'll probably enjoy a great YouTube channel called 'Pasta Grannies', which is made pretty well. It's a British woman and film crew traveling around Italy's gorgeous countryside, filming little old nonnies making pasta. If you like nice scenery, seeing how other people live in other countries, and pasta, you'll probably like Pasta Grannies.
That does sound good! ~ karen
How much salt?
Just a pinch. ~ karen!
Any suggestions on how the roll it out WITHOUT a pasta machine? (My Italian grandmas are gonna haunt me but I never invested in one 😕 ). Would an old fashioned rolling pin do the trick?
You can definitely roll it but it will be hard to get it to the thinness you probably want. ~ karen!
We used a rolling pin a few weeks ago when making pasta.... It just took quite a bit of work, patience and some extra flour to not stick to our countertop. I don't think we got it as thin as we should have, but we'd do it again.
May I recommend Marcella Hazan’s dead simple sauce - although I do wish I had a bunch of old roasted tomato sauce waiting to be eaten! Google it - tomatoes, one onion and butter. So simple and so delicious , esp with grease pasta.
Couple of questions/comment-I have made pasta several times with regular AP flour. It turned out well! I tried to get fancy and use Duram (sp?) Semolina with a recipe that called for that flour and it was a complete disaster. Had to throw it all out. Never came together, was very grainy and dry. Why do you think that happened?
One last question is- Does 00 flour have another name? Not sure I've seen it anywhere here in the US MidAtlantic area- but I'm sure it's here somewhere. Thank you to anyone with the answer!
I looked it up because I too have never seen "00" flour. Apparently Bob's Red Mill fine pastry flour is similar. I have Bob's Red Mill products in my grocery store, but I'm in the Pacific Northwest, so I'm not sure if you do. Sounds like subbing a bread flour also is decent. I haven't tried it though!
Hi Susan. Semolina is a very coarse flour, like you say, grainy. 00 is a very, very fine flour. The consistency is more like powdered sugar, although not that soft. Look in the grocery store beside the regular all purpose flour. That's where it'll be if they have it, and it'll be in a smaller bag. Here you can get it in huge bags, but a lot of grocery stores only carry the small bags. Costco will sometimes carry very large bags of 00. If you can't find it, don't stress about it, just use regular all purpose flour and it'll be fine. :) ~ karen!
If you are from the south of Italy (like my husband) you would use semolina for the pasta - it is grano duro or hard wheat as opposed to soft wheat like most AP or '00' flour. The trick is to find rimacchinata (re-milled). Unlike the grainy semolina, it is pale yellow and very fluffy and makes a noticeable difference - especially if you are making the hand-shaped pastas (very calming during lockdown(s), and one of the few cooking jobs you can do sitting down. My bet is you won't find it in Canada or the US- it is scarce enough in central and northern Italy (!) Maybe, if I can ever travel again... I'll bring you a bag to play with!
I've bought it at Whole Foods in the Washington DC area. If you have an Italian deli or grocery near you they would probably carry it too.
Can't wait to try this recipe out as pasta is something loved by all in my family and I was thinking to make them and keep. While searching for its method I came across your post and I know the pasta will turn out to be perfect if I go by your steps. Thank you so much for sharing this.