Cara is a web writer and website owner with over 15 years of experience providing information to readers on a number of topics.
Homemade Pasta Is Special
Personally, I think everyone should make pasta at least once in their lifetime. Most of us cook the standard box pasta and while there is nothing wrong with that, you’re really missing out. The taste and texture are very different from boxed pasta, and it adds a sense of elegance to a simple pasta dinner.
I frequently use boxed pasta myself to save time and effort, especially on weeknights. However, when I do get free time on the weekend, I like to make a couple of batches of pasta and dry it for later. Even after it has been dried, homemade pasta has a lot more flavor than standard dried boxed pasta.
I put a lot of thought into this article before sitting down to write it so I could ensure that it was easy to follow, even for a beginner cook, because everyone deserves to enjoy freshly made pasta. This recipe is designed to create the perfect textured pasta, it is soft, with a bite, and can be compared to al dente as long as you pay close attention to the cooking time.
This recipe contains two sets of directions:
- With a stand mixer and pasta roller
- Without a stand mixer and pasta roller
Don’t feel intimidated if you don’t have a fancy pasta roller. Italians have been making delicious pasta without fancy tools for as long as pasta has existed. The stand mixer and pasta roller just make the process easier and faster.
What's in Pasta Dough?
This pasta dough is made from water, eggs, olive oil, and equal parts of all-purpose flour and semolina flour. This is my personal preference and after asking around, many pasta lovers agree with me. Using only all-purpose flour makes it too doughy and doesn’t provide as much bite, taste, or desired texture.
You can use only semolina flour but getting the dough to the right texture takes some skill. Combining the two different flours provides you with a dough that is not only easy to work with, but also has great taste.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
- 3/4 cup semolina pasta flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten and room temperature
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Step 1: Make the Dough
- By Hand: Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix together to make a stiff dough. Knead it by hand for 10 minutes.
- With a Stand Mixer: Combine the ingredients in the mixer bowl and knead on medium speed with a dough hook.
- If the dough is too sticky, sprinkle in some additional semolina flour until you achieve the desired stiffness. If the dough is too dry, sprinkle in a small amount of water until it develops the right constancy.
- Knead the dough until it is elastic. Use a small knife to cut into the dough. If you see a lot of small air bubbles, you need to continue kneading. Well-kneaded pasta dough forms a smooth ball that is elastic and has very few air bubbles when it is cut into. Test your dough by pressing a knuckle into it. If it starts to bounce back, then your dough is ready.
- Wrap your dough in plastic wrap or place in a covered bowl. Allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before you start working with it.
Step 2: Roll and Cut the Dough
- By Hand: On a lightly floured, cooled surface, roll out your dough to the desired thickness. Cut your dough as desired.
- With a Pasta Roller: Cut your dough into small chunks and roll through the pasta roller. To complete this process, roll the dough through on a thickness of 0. Fold the dough in thirds and rotate to ensure the straight edges are on the side and send it through a second time. Fold your dough in thirds again and with straight edges on the sides, and send it through thickness 0 for the third time.
- Change the pasta roller thickness to 1 and send the dough through once. Continue the process with thicknesses 2, 3, 4, and end with thickness 5. Dip your dough gently in flour and then run it through the fettuccine cutting side of your pasta roller.
- If you want to ensure that your pasta does not stick together using either method, dredge it in flour after cutting. You can then sit it on a cookie sheet until you are ready to cook it, or you can place your pasta in a drying rack to create dried pasta.
Step 3: Cook the Pasta
When you are ready to cook your pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook it for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender.
If you choose this recipe for making lasagna, you don't have to boil the noodles. You can add it directly to your recipe.
How to Make Pasta Without a Machine or Pasta Roller
Personally, I recommend using a pasta roller, but some people prefer to roll theirs out by hand, and not everyone has a pasta roller. If you are preparing your pasta by hand, it really isn’t difficult. This is the pasta roller I personally use and recommend.
- Divide your dough into chunks.
- Make sure your work surface and rolling pin are well dusted with all-purpose flour to prevent them from sticking. Roll out your dough similar to how you would roll out a pie crust. The goal is to create long sheets of pasta dough that are about 1/8 inch thick.
- After your sheets of pasta are rolled out, you can use a knife to cut your dough into noodles. I recommend using something with a straight edge, like a ruler. This will ensure you get straight pasta.
Tips for Using a Pasta Roller
This process works if you have a hand roller or if you have a pasta attachment that goes on your mixer. I prefer the hand roller because it's safer for my kids to be involved in the process. They love cranking the pasta through manually.
- Work with small pieces of well-floured dough. Send the dough through the roller on the widest setting first. Fold the dough in thirds and then send it back through with the folded ends on the side because they create a straight edge. Send the pasta strip through the widest setting a second time. The purpose behind sending the pasta sheet through like this twice is to give you a sheet of pasta with straight edges. This reduces waste when you cut it.
- Continue to work the dough through the roller, reducing the thickness each time so that you are making your pasta sheet thinner each time. Make sure your dough is always lightly dusted with flour, so it doesn’t stick to the roller.
- You can choose your ideal thickness, but I usually bring it down to setting 5 because that’s the thickness my kids love. You can stop at whatever setting looks good for your family.
- After you have your pasta sheet, you can make whatever type of pasta you desire. You can make ravioli, lasagna, spaghetti, fettuccine, or even angel hair. If you are making straight noodles, send the pasta through the cutting side. If you are making ravioli, I recommend this ravioli press.
- After you have cut your noodles, make sure to dredge them in flour so they do not stick together.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Cara Garrison