fresh pasta

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While I don’t think I’ll ever come home from work, do a load of laundry, get my workout in, and then roll out pasta dough, making fresh pasta is getting easier and faster every time I do it. Some of this is experience – I know where the best place to clamp the pasta roller to the counter is, and I know to err on the side of drier rather than sticky dough. But I’ve also picked up a few tricks along the way.

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One is that one egg’s worth of pasta is plenty for a pan of lasagna, starter courses for four people, or main courses for two people (which is the serving size shown here). Another is that, despite what the first recipe I followed led me to believe, thinner sheets of pasta are not always better. Ravioli made from paper thin pasta will fall apart when you try to boil it. Thicker pasta has more substance, more chew. And it requires less work.

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It also doesn’t hurt that fresh pasta is best with simple sauces that enhance rather than bury the pasta you just put all that effort into. With all of my tomato plants dead, the basil in my garden is taking over, so I used one of the many batches of pesto I’ve made lately to top this pasta. I also, in my jealousy over everyone else’s peak season tomato availability, tried roasting store-bought grape tomatoes to get some of that intense tomato flavor.

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The pesto was a success, and the tomatoes were fine – one-dimensionally sweet, but not bad. But the pasta was the star, as it was meant to be. And it actually didn’t take me hours to make it.

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One year ago: Grilled Corn Salad
Two years ago: 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread
Three years ago: Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup

printer friendly recipe
Fresh Pasta

Makes 4 main-course servings or 8 first-course servings

You can mix and knead this in a stand mixer instead of by hand.

I’ve successfully substituted up to half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour.

1½ cups (7.2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 eggs

1. Add the flour to a wide bowl, making a well in the center. Lightly beat the egg and add it to the well. Stir the flour and egg together until thoroughly mixed. Knead, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from being sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Don’t be concerned if you need to add quite a bit of extra flour; the dough should be malleable but not at all sticky.

2. Divide the dough into 6 balls. Work with one ball of dough at a time and leave the others covered with a damp dishtowel. Flatten the dough slightly, then roll it through the widest setting on a pasta roller. Fold it in thirds like a piece of paper going into an envelope, then roll it through the pasta roller again, feeding it with one of the open sides first. If at any point the dough is sticky, brush it with flour. Repeat the folding into thirds and rolling a few times. Without folding, run the pasta through the widest setting once more. Adjust the pasta roller to the next-thinner setting and roll the dough through the machine. Continue to gradually thin the dough. For lasagna, thin to the third-to-last setting; for fettuccine and ravioli, thin to the second-to-last setting. Brush the dough with flour if it starts to stick at all. If the strip of dough becomes too long to handle, cut it into two shorter strips and work with each strip separately. Repeat the rolling, folding, and thinning with the remaining balls of dough, laying the sheets of pasta on dry dishtowels.

3. Bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in a large pot. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon salt and the pasta to the boiling water and stir to separate the noodles. Cook until al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain and serve with your desired sauce. Instructions for ravioli can be found here; for lasagna, here.

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Comments

  1. Bianca says:

    I have such admiration for people who can make homemade pasta :) I might try to muster up the courage some day, but for now, I’ll just drool over your pictures! This looks scrumptious!

  2. emiglia says:

    Even if you say the tomatoes were sub-par, they look delicious, as does the entire dish. And kudos to you for making your own pasta! I’ve done it a handful of times, but I’m definitely not into the swing of it as much as you are.

  3. SallyBR says:

    Lovely dish! I definitely don’t make fresh pasta often enough, but once Fall moves in (sigh) I’ll be ready for it! It’s so much better than the dried pasta, so delicate!

    thanks for the nudge in the right direction… ;-)

  4. Tracey says:

    I’ve only made fresh pasta a few times but it was definitely worth the effort! Your new design looks great by the way, can’t remember if I’ve told you or not :)

  5. Kiersten says:

    I agree! I always think making fresh pasta is going to take a lot of time, and then I’m always amazed how quick it actually is. Have you tried semonlina flour? I’m still working on the perfect proportions of regular flour, semolina, and whole wheat flour.

    Kiersten

  6. bridget says:

    Kiersten – I have semolina flour, but I haven’t used it in pasta yet! I do want to try it out.

  7. Fresh made pasta is so good! You make it sound so easy though…

  8. branny says:

    We posted fresh pasta blog updates the same day :) I agree. After one or two bouts with the stuff, it certainly does get easier and less intimidating. In my new house, unfortunately, there is not a single counter in the kitchen where I can attach my pasta roller. Therefore I cranked away in the living room….leaving my bounty open to dog thievery.

  9. I love homemade pasta. I was just thinking the other day that it’s been awhile since I made homemade ravioli. Your homemade pasta looks so good. Makes me want to pull out the pasta machine right now!

  10. i’d love to make fresh pasta! looks so fun :) and i love your new design.

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