Fresh Pasta Dough
Fresh pasta is a lot of work. I don’t want to lie to anyone or cause anyone to think that this is a quick and easy endeavor. I use Barilla all the time and it tastes just fine. In fact I recommend anyone and everyone to just use dried pasta. It is easier, makes practically no mess, and it’s quick. In short, I do not recommend this for the average college student.
BUT, a fresh batch of hand-cut pasta tastes so good that it is definitely worth the work if you are crazy enough to do it. Plus if you have time (I did since Hurricane Sandy was in town), making pasta is a fun and therapeutic project to entertain both you and your friends. It’s also like playing with Play-do (and who doesn’t like that), except for now you get to eat it!
As you might have guessed, you will need a pasta roller and cutter for this project. You can buy one online from many vendors including Target and Amazon, but it will run you $75-100. Fortunately, these Atlas pasta rollers are quite common on both Craigslist and Ebay. I bought mine for $10 off of Craigslist. I have tried using a rolling pin to roll out the pasta, but i could not make it thin enough.
To make GREAT pasta you will need double zero “00” flour. “00” flour is made from very finely ground red wheat flour. Red wheat flour’s gluten formation is optimal for both breads and pasta because it gives your food that nice chewy texture. I purchased my 1 kg bag from Whole foods for about $5. I have used all-purpose flour before, but the pasta tends to be bloated looking and not as durable or elastic.
Making the Dough
This is the part where you get messy. Your fingers will be sticky and the flour will be tickling your nose tempting you to sneeze. Note: Be sure to have a lot of space because your dough will roll out to be 3-4 ft long. Of course, you can always cut it in half so you don’t have to work with as much dough, but then your pasta will not be as long.
Make a peace sign with your pointer and middle fingers and mix the egg yolks in the middle. Gradually add in the flour from the walls. Once all the flour has been incorporated, knead the dough for 3-5 minutes.
After massage the remaining olive oil onto the surface of the dough. Place it into a plastic bag and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the dough will be softer and easier to work with.
Rolling and Cutting the Dough
Cut the dough into four pieces. Starting at your machine’s widest setting, feed the dough through. This will be difficult at first and you may have to shove the dough through. Once you get the dough through, fold it in half and repeat. Do this a few more times until rolling the dough becomes a little easier and you do not have any holes in your dough.
Next, set the thickness dial to the next level up and roll the dough through again. By now your dough should be more pliable and you should only need to send it through the roller once per level. Repeat this until you reach your desired thickness. I rolled mine to level 7 on my machine, which was pretty thin. Remember to take your time. Don’t be in a rush, or else your pasta will become uneven and possibly fold on itself.
Once you have a sheet of pasta rolled out it is time for the fun part. Cutting the dough is fascinating. It’s like extruding Play-do from the extruder. The most important part about cutting the pasta, however, is to make sure it stays aligned with the tracks. Otherwise, your pasta will drift and bunch making thick scrunched pasta, which is not what you wanted after you worked hard to roll it out nice and flat. After each batch of pasta you cut, be sure to lightly dust it with flour. Once all the dough is rolled out, you should have about 13-14 oz of pasta, which is enough for 2-3 people.
Boil 4 quarts of water and add a pinch of salt. Once your water is at a rolling boil, drop in your pasta and stir continuously to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another. After about 2-3 minutes, drain the pasta and immediately drizzle and toss olive oil. When boiling homemade pasta, the whole name of the game is “Keep the Pasta from Sticking”.
Time: 2 hours
- 1 2/3 c -“00” Flour and extra for dusting
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Tbs- Olive oil plus a teaspoon for rubbing
- A Pinch of Salt
- Make a well with your fist in the flour and crack in the eggs
- Add the salt and olive oil to the well
- Using your middle and pointer finger mix the eggs while gradually adding in the flour
- Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes
- Rub the surface of the dough with the remaining olive oil
- Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes
- Send the dough through the rollers until you reach your desired thickness
- Cut the pasta and dust each batch with flour
- Boil the pasta for 2-3 minutes
- Serve with your favorite sauce