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.
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?