Let me just get this out there right now-I am not Italian, I have never been Italian, an no one in my family is Italian. I do, however, LOVE making fresh pasta and have probably made over 50 pounds of it over the last few years. If you’ve been invited to my house for dinner more than once, chances are you too have shared in the fresh pasta extravaganza. Even though this is not an heirloom recipe passed down from my Italian grandmother (there’s not much room for a pasta machine on an Alaskan fishing boat) it is simple, reliable, and undeniably delicious.
There are many degrees of “by hand” and “homemade” when you’re talking about fresh pasta. Some people feel that just boiling a pot of water and dumping in a box of noodles constitutes “homemade” pasta (you know who you are, and while your pasta may be delicious, you’re not fooling anyone!). Others prefer to mix up their dough in the kitchenaid and use the pasta extruder attachment (by the way, if you are thinking about a kitchenaid attachment for fresh pasta, please consider the roller and cutter attachment instead–it makes much better pasta). Several years ago, when I first began to dabble in the world of fresh pasta, I tried making it by hand. I mean literally with my hands (and a rolling pin!). Do not believe the people who recommend this method, anyone who asks you to roll out paper thin lasagna noodles with a rolling pin is actually giving you a recipe for the early onset of carpal tunnel. It took exactly one miserable (but deliciously thin) noodle before I was
begging dropping hints to my husband that I would really like a pasta machine for my birthday. Luckily, my mom takes a hint way better than he does, and when my birthday rolled around I was delighted to unwrap this little beauty.
I have turned out pound after pound of pasta, and this lovely little recipe has never failed me. The addition of a small bit of olive oil allows for a soft and pliable dough, that is perfect for beginners to work with. If you are completely new to the whole fresh pasta at home business, I absolutely love the photo tutorial in Canal House Cooks (like all their recipes, this one comes with a serious of beautiful photos and clear instructions).
- 2 cups flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Use your fingers to make a deep and wide well in the middle of the flour mixture, being careful not to expose the bottom of the bowl.
- Crack all eggs into the well in the middle of the flour mixture. Be careful to keep the eggs within the well, and do not let them spill over the side.
- Add one tablespoon olive oil to the middle of the well with the eggs.
- Using the fingers of your dominant hand, break the egg yolks and begin swirling the eggs together.
- While continuously swirling the egg mixture around the well, gradually begin to incorporate flour from the sides of the bowl. The most important point here is to make sure that the egg mixture stays together and that the flour is incorporated gradually.
- Continue swirling and incorporating flour until the mixture forms a thick paste/dough that can no longer be swirled.
- Begin kneading the remaining flour into the dough. Again, keep the dough together in one ball and do not let it separate or become crumbly.
- Once all the flour is incorporated (or you cannot incorporate any more) divide the dough into two equal pieces and wrap in plastic.
- Set aside for 20 minutes.
- On a well floured surface, pat the first piece of dough into an oval about 1/3 inch thick.
- With your pasta machine on the widest setting, run the dough through the machine. Fold into thirds and run it through again. If the dough feels sticky, continue sprinkling it with flour. Repeat this process 3-4 times until the dough is firm and smooth.
- Adjust pasta machine to one step smaller and run the dough through (do not fold in thirds). Continue adjusting the pasta rollers, one step at a time, until the desired thickness has been reached. (I usually roll lasagna to the thinest setting, and fettuccine, spaghetti, and ravioli dough to the second to smallest setting.)
- Repeat with second half of dough.
- To cook the pasta, boil a large pot of water with a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil (this helps the pasta not to stick to itself) and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the pasta floats.