I have a question for the blogosphere: how many times have you been sitting in your kitchen twiddling your thumbs just thinking “oh, if only I could make something extremely simple that already comes in a box into a project that lasts all afternoon?” Never, amiright? I knew it. So why would you ever want make yourself a few batches of fresh pasta? It’s sticky, it requires fancy equipment you probably don’t have, and it tastes pretty darn similar to Barilla or De Cecco or what-have-you. HOWEVER, picture this: You’ve invited a few friends over for dinner. They walk into your kitchen -where you immediately offer them a Campari or a lovely glass of wine called a “Super Tuscan”- so they’re already thinking you’re pretty great. After a few drinks and some fancy cheese you herd everyone to the dining room where they see (atop a beautifully set table) gigantic bowls of Ravioli with Chili Oil, Linguine Puttanesca, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Spaghetti Aglio Olio Peperoncino. They start to applaud; some wipe tears from their eyes! And then you humbly mention you did in fact make all this pasta yourself? Get ready to sign some autographs. Seriously.
Fresh Pasta Dough (from 4-6 servings)
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– Semolina flour (no specific amount needed, just make sure you have some on hand)
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
– 1/2 tsp. oil
– Pasta roller or a pasta roller attachment on a stand mixer (Just fyi- you can still roll pasta dough without one of these handy dandy machines by using a rolling pin. However, if this is the case I would recommend making ravioli; if you’re planning to cut Linguine/Fettuccine/Spaghetti by hand it is going to be time consuming and frustrating and you will probably end up on the floor covered in flour and shaking.)
Begin with a large clean work surface. Combine the salt and the flour and then make a mound with a deep well in the middle (make sure the sides are steep). Crack the eggs into the well (if you tend to generate quite a bit of shell bits, I recommend cracking the eggs into a bowl first, fishing out the unwanted shells, then pouring eggs into the well.) Add the oil. Using a fork, begin to combine the egg/flour mountain by gradually incorporating the flour with the liquids. As the dough begins to take shape start kneading it with your hands until soft and pliable. This can take several minutes.
Divide the dough into four even sections and wrap in plastic. Set aside for 15-20 minutes. If you’re making more than one batch of pasta, now is the time to repeat the first step. Place several dishcloths on a separate table. After the time has elapsed unwrap your first section of pasta, and flatten the dough slightly with your hands until it is a thick oval disk. Begin slowly feeding it through the pasta roller on its widest setting. Repeat a few times, then fold the pasta in thirds, and continue to pass it through the widest setting until smooth again. Adjust the roller to thinner settings until the pasta is at your desired thickness (see photo 1) Helpful hint: four hands are better than two for the process: one set to feed the dough, one set to turn the crank of the roller. If rolling by hand flatten the dough into a thick oval disk with your hands, place on a floured work surface. Begin rolling with a floured rolling pin from the center outwards, constantly picking up the dough, turning it, and re-flouring if necessary to avoid sticking.
Place your rolled dough on the dishcloths (photo 2). Let sit as you complete the above steps for the remaining sections of dough. Sprinkle a decent amount of Semolina flour on several baking sheets and retrieve your first rolled dough. If using a pasta roller, select your desired pasta wideness. If using a rolling pin, see my advice at the end of the ingredients list. Begin feeding your dough through the roller. Once again, an extra pair of hands is a life saver here. Keeping your floured baking sheet close (underneath the roller if possible) crank out your pasta (photo 3) and place on baking sheets (photo 4). Repeat with all your sections of dough. Pasta should dry for a few hours and then can be cooked in boiling salted water for 2-5 minutes depending on how soft you like. Make your desired sauce. Bellissima!