Handmade Pasta

Handmade Pasta Dough

There truly is nothing like handmade pasta dough. My husband and I made our own for the first time a couple years ago after seeing it done on a cooking show. We had no idea what we were doing and while it turned out okay, it wasn’t good enough to make us start doing it all the time. When my parents got me Martha Stewarts Cooking School for Christmas (find it HERE) and I got to the pastas section, I decided to give it another go.  That was back in January and we have been making our own pasta ever since. The cool part about it is that there’s just 3 ingredients (eggs, salt & flour) and you can use the dough to make so many different things with the sheets. You can leave them whole for lasagnas or rolls, layer them on top of one another to make your own ravioli, or cut it into strips thick or thin as you want to make everything from pappardelli to spaghetti! You don’t need specialty flour (which is what I had always heard), need those fancy pasta rollers (we use a clay conditioning machine we got for 15$) or high tech pasta hanging racks (we use plain old hangers on our cabinet knobs)… you just need an open mind and you too will soon be making your own pastas. It tastes so might lighter and delicate than store-bought and the possibilities with it are truly endless. Mix and match any cut of pasta with any sauce or seasonal vegetables and you can make dishes to cater to literally anyone! On a side note, I’m offering free shipping on all the headpieces & headbands in my Etsy shop (find it HERE) until 4/1 so be sure to check that out!

Start off two cups all-purpose flour on a clean area of counter with plenty of space to work it. Use a spoon to make a well in the center (1) and lightly beat three room temperature large eggs with a pinch of salt in a bowl. Pour the lightly beaten eggs into the well (2) and, using a fork, start making a circles to slowly begin incorporating the flour into the eggs (3). Once most of the flour is incorporated and it begins to be too hard to work any more in with the fork, you can start using your hands (4). It’s important to remember that you might not need all two cups of the flour… depending on temperatures the amount needed will change each time you make it. Once you have a ball of dough that’s firm but slightly sticky (5), move the excess flour out of the way and start kneading the dough with both of your hands. This will take about 10 minutes, so find someone strong to do this step for you (lol, this is my husbands job when we make it!). Once you’re done kneading it, the dough will be slightly sticky and in a smooth ball (6). At this stage you have really worked the gluten so the dough needs time to rest for it to develop and relax enough that it will roll out easily. Wrap it in plastic and leave it at room temperature for at least an hour and a half. I’m not sure if this breaks some rules but in the past we have made the dough, let it rest at room temp for a couple of hours, put it in the fridge over night then taken it out an hour before using it and that’s been our best pasta to date.

pasta dough

Once the dough has rested, you can begin rolling it into sheets. Again, we don’t have a fancy roller, though I would love the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer (find it HERE and the hand rollers HERE), we just use a clay conditioning roller that we got at Joann Fabrics for 50% off (find it HERE). Cut your ball of dough into eight similar sized pieces to make it easier to work with in your roller (1). With your roller on it’s thickest setting (1 in our case), feed one piece of dough through the roller (2). Fold the piece of dough into thirds as shown (3) and then feed it through the roller on setting 1 again but turn it so one of the unfolded ends goes in first (4). Continue rolling out the pasta, changing it one setting thinner each time until you’ve reached your desired thickness using your hand to support the dough coming out as it gets longer (5). Like I mentioned before, you can leave the sheets whole or your can cut them using a sharp knife (6) into strips in the desired width.

Rolling out the Pasta

You will need to dry your pasta slightly before cooking it, so that it doesn’t all stick together once dropped in the pot. You can use a pasta hanging rack (find one HERE) or you can do what we do and just hang hangers from cabinet knobs. Another benefit of fresh pasta is that it only needs to be cooked for 1-3 minutes… once it begins to float in the boiling water, it’s done! You can also dry your pasta out completely on the hangers, store it in airtight containers and keep it in your fridge. I have a lot of really great pasta dishes coming up for the spring so start practicing making your own dough now!

In the meantime you can use this and try my Pappardelle Bolognese!