Well, I always said I would never make my own pasta because — why bother?
I mean, it is super simple to buy a box of pasta for a dollar or two. This box is about $1.29 at our local Wal-Mart. They also have organic versions for a few cents more.
So why bother making my own pasta?
It’s not like we have pasta all that often. Maybe once every two weeks or so when I’m in a hurry to get dinner on the table before we have to be at a karate class or some other kid event. Or if someone requests my vegetarian lasagna for their birthday.
I kinda stumbled into pasta making when I was shopping at our local Dirt Cheap. In case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a place where merchandise that was not sold in other stores goes before it gets trashed or donated. In other words, its very hit and miss as to what you will find.
Seriously, this is what the shelves sometimes look like:
One day John was shopping in there just wandering around and spied this:
It was a Kitchen Aid pasta attachment that was marked $99.00. One great thing about this store is very few things cost what the marked price is. Most things are at least 50 percent off. This little gem was 60% off, which made it only $40. Compare the cost at Kohl’s ($249.99) and you can see what a deal it was.
He called me and asked me if I might like one sometime. I said of course, not knowing for sure if he got it or not. He bought it, he saved it, and I opened it up on Christmas morning. He told my son what he got me and Mark made me a terrific pasta drying rack. I was set.
My first attempt went great. The pasta was silky, tasted terrific and made us all realize there really isn’t any comparison between store bought and homemade fresh pasta. I found it really easy to do, probably because I have so much experience with bread making. The feel of the pasta dough is different than bread dough but the process is similar.
Of course you can make pasta by hand as well. But this way is definitely faster and probably easier, although more expensive in terms of equipment. . .
I used my KitchenAid mixer to mix up the dough but mixing it by hand would be simple as there isn’t a ton of kneading required.
I found that if you use room temperature eggs the dough seems easier to work with. If you forget, no worries, just put the eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes. Warms them right up.
The dough should be firm but pliable. The second time I made the dough it was a bit dry so I just threw some drops of hot water on it and kneaded it again until it was the right consistency.
You need to let the dough rest for about 20 to 30 minutes. I like to cut it into the right sized pieces to go through the pasta attachment and let it rest instead of cutting the dough in pieces after it has rested. Personal preference.
Then just flatten the dough and put it through the machine. The process is similar with a hand cranked machine like the popular Atlas.
Keep rolling it through, gradually reducing the space between the rollers until you have it as thin as you want. If you are making lasagna, stop on the number 3. For pasta, I like number 3.
I was making fettucine, so I switched the attachment to the cutting blade and ran it through again. Like magic, perfect pasta.
Then you put it right into the boiling water for a few minutes and you are done! If making lasagna, cook the noodles for 30 seconds and then use them. If you put freshly rolled lasagna right into the pan, it will absorb too much sauce.
And once you have it cooked, enjoy!
Here’s the recipe I use. I usually use a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour and sometimes splurge on semolina flour.
Easy Homemade Pasta Dough Recipe
- 3.5 cups All Purpose or Other Flour
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 2-3 tablespoons Water
- 1 dash Salt
|Place the flour in your mixer or mixing bowl. |
Add the eggs right in the center.
Add the oil and about a tablespoon of the water.
Mix for about 30 seconds until it begins to come together. Add more water if it isn't staying together when you pinch a small piece of it between your fingers. It shouldn't be super crumbly. Once it is slightly sticky, a bit leathery, and pliable, stop mixing (usually takes about a minute or so).
Knead it by hand for a few turns and then divide into small pieces that will fit through the roller.
Let rest for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Roll using a pasta attachment or a pasta machine. Start at the widest setting and run the piece through at least 2 times. Then, work your way down the setting numbers until you get the desired thickness. Cut into spaghetti, fettuccine, or leave in long strips for lasagna or ravioli.
Cook and use right away or dry on a rack and then freeze it or refrigerate it for later.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this pasta making 101 post. If you have any questions or have any tips, I’d love to hear them. Happy pasta making! Diane