How to make fresh pasta… AT HOME!
Want to learn to make fresh pasta… at home? It’s easier than you’d think! And if you want to bring Italy’s finest foods into your kitchen, making pasta is one of the best and simplest ways.
Pasta, that world-famous Italian dish, comes in hundreds of different shapes and sizes, from pappardelle to penne, each designed to match best with a different sauce. But no matter what the shape is, Italian pasta also can be dry (pasta secca) or fresh (pasta fresca). Dry pasta is what you find in boxes on store shelves; while you can also sometimes find the fresh variety in stores, it’s usually much more expensive (and, of course, doesn’t last long).
In Italy, meanwhile, you’ll find many traditional restaurants (and Italian nonnas) will make their own fresh pasta. While this is a good sign, fresh pasta isn’t necessarily always “better” than dried. It’s just different, with a lighter, more delicate flavour.
But fresh pasta is definitely a delicacy. And, yes, it’s one you can make at home. Here’s what to know about fresh pasta… and how to make it!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THE BEST HOMEMADE PASTA
The beauty of pasta is in its simplicity. Only a handful of ingredients come together to make one of our most beloved foods ever created. The history of pasta is a bit muddled, but one thing is certain, life without pasta almost wouldn’t be worth living!
All you need to make pasta is flour, a bit of salt, eggs, oil and water. That’s it!
„We love using semolina flour when making homemade pasta. It consists of 12 to 13% protein and has a low elasticity than other flour used for pasta. This is ideal for making pasta at home. It helps the pasta retain its shape and the texture and taste are what you want in fresh pasta.“
We combine the semolina with a little all-purpose flour and salt. And then gently pulse in 2 eggs, olive oil, and then water. Usually 2 tablespoons oil and 3 tablespoons of water.
HOW TO PREPARE PASTA DOUGH FOR ROLLING
After a ball has formed in the base of your food processor, feel the pasta. It should be sticky to the touch, but not wet, but also not dry. If the dough feels dry, add a little more water and pulse again until fully incorporated.
Remove the dough from the food processor and form it into a ball with your hands. Take a large, sharp knife, and cut the sphere into 4 pieces.
Wrap the 4 pieces in plastic wrap and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes.
ROLLING OUT HOMEMADE SEMOLINA PASTA
Now, it’s time to start rolling out pasta! Take one of the pieces and remove the plastic wrap.
Use the palm of your hand to flatten the ball into approximately a 2×4-inch rectangle. It should be about 1/8-inch thick.
Turn the left side in towards the middle, and then do the same for the right side. As if you are folding a letter to go into an envelope.
„Use a rolling pin to help you flatten the dough, both before folding and then again after folding, back down to about 1/8-inch in thickness.“
KNEADING THE PASTA DOUGH
Place your pasta attachment on its widest setting. In most cases, this is either a ‘0’ or a ‘1’ on the dial located on the pasta roller.
Either start cranking the pasta machine, or turn your mixer on medium speed, and gently start feeding the folded pasta through the roller.
„Don’t worry if the pasta starts to shred, or come apart at this point. Simply press it back together into a rectangle, fold in the sides again, and roll through again on the widest setting. Repeat this 3 to 4 times until the pasta sheet is smooth. Each time you place the folded pasta back into the roller, turn it 90°. This will help reduce jagged edges on the pasta.“
Once you have finished kneading the pasta, by putting it through the roller on the widest setting, change the setting to the next tightest level, usually on “1” or “2.” Put the pasta through again, helping it through with your hands as it rolls out. Continue tightening the setting to the desired thickness for the pasta and continue feeding the dough through. We recommend not exceeding a setting of “3” or “4” for cut pasta such as spaghetti or linguine. For lasagna pasta, if you desire thin sheets, then go as low as a “1” or “2” setting.
HOW TO MAKE PASTA WITHOUT A FOOD PROCESSOR
This technique is not too difficult and is how it’s done traditionally. Simply place the flour on your workspace and using your fingers, form a well in the centre of the flour.
Add the eggs, oil, water and salt in the middle, and then use a wooden spoon to gently begin incorporating the flour into the wet ingredients. Once the dough starts to form, use your hands to knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, you are ready to begin the kneading and a rolling portion of making homemade pasta.
If you are making cut pasta, such as spaghetti, angel hair, or linguine, you’ll need to remove the main pasta roller and add the appropriate pasta attachment. Place the pasta through the pasta cutter, again using your hands to catch the pasta as it is being cut.
HOW TO COOK FRESH PASTA
After the pasta has reached the desired thickness and is ready to be cooked, get a large baking sheet and sprinkle semolina flour all over the pan. Gently place the pasta on the pan and then cover with a kitchen towel.
Repeat the entire process with the other pieces of pasta until you have them all ready to go. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil.
Fresh pasta only takes about 2 minutes until it is perfectly cooked. Drain and use immediately, or place in a bowl and add a dash or two of olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
HOMEMADE PASTA FAQs
- What if I can’t find semolina flour?
You can use all-purpose flour instead. We find that flour labelled as “00” is great for making pasta and pizza dough, but regular flour will work, too.
- Can I roll out the pasta without a pasta roller?
Yes, you can, by using your hands for kneading and a rolling pin (or bottle) for rolling the dough. It takes practice to know once the dough as reached the right consistency and transform from flour, eggs and oil, to pasta dough. If you are really excited about making homemade pasta, we encourage you to look into purchasing a pasta machine or pasta attachments for your stand-mixer.
- Can I dry fresh pasta?
Yes! We recommend placing the pasta on a pasta rack, or just a large baking sheet in a dry, non-humid area of your home. After about 24 hours, it will be dry. You can store the dried pasta in large zipper bags at room temperature. Some of the pasta may break a little after drying, but that’s okay, it will still cook perfectly. Dried pasta will keep for up to 6 months. You’ll need to cook dried pasta for 4 to 6 minutes.
- Can I freeze homemade pasta?
Yes! Place the baking sheet with the cut pasta on it in your freezer for about 10 minutes (this keeps the dough from sticking together). Then, transfer to a large zipper bag and place back in the freezer for up to 3 months. Cook, frozen, for about 3 to 5 minutes.
Ready to make fresh semolina pasta at home? You can do it!! Go for it! We find it delicious, but also therapeutic when transforming these simple ingredients into gorgeous pasta!
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