I love pasta and all things Italian. I have been making homemade ravioli for several years but recently expanded my pasta skills to fettuccine and spaghetti. My pasta machine makes this quite easy but you do not need any fancy equipment to make fresh pasta. I have made a lot of ravioli with a rolling pin and you can too.
You can very easily use a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment to mix your pasta dough. I prefer to knead the dough by hand. I can feel exactly when the dough is ready and it gives me a great upper arm work out.
Fresh pasta is not difficult to make, and it’s so delicious. It is a bit time consuming and does make a mess with all of the flour, but so worth it. Speaking of flour, there are several options for pasta.
Types of flour:
All-purpose flour is fantastic for pasta and most of us already keep that stocked in our pantry. Semolina flour is a preferred choice for pasta. Double zero flour is very fine and another excellent choice for pasta. I like to mix half semolina and half all-purpose flour for my pasta. I have also just used all-purpose flour and it’s still very good. Experiment. Maybe start with all-purpose flour before you venture out into the many flour choices for pasta. Don’t get me started on all the Italian flours.
If you don’t have a pasta machine:
I mix my pasta by hand and then use my pasta machine to cut into whatever shape I need. If you do not have a pasta machine just use a rolling pin and a sharp knife. Roll the dough to the desired thickness, then cut into four pieces. Take each section of dough and roll it up like a flat log. Slice into desired width and voila, you’ve got bite sized pieces of dough.
Mix your dough right on the counter if you’re doing it by hand. A mixing bowl will work just fine too.
1 1/2 cups flour (half AP flour and half semolina flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs beaten
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
- In a large bowl mix the two flours and salt with a whisk until combined.
- Carefully pour the flour mixture on your counter. Make a well at the center.
- In a measuring cup beat 2 eggs. Add the water and olive oil to the eggs and mix.
- Pour at least half the egg mixture into the flour well.
- Use your hands and combine. Slowly add the rest of the egg mixture.
- This will be messy at first. It’s Ok. Just keep combining the flour and egg until it’s all incorporated. It will be sticky.
- If the dough is too sticky add a small amount of flour. If the dough is too dry add a small amount of water.
- Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
- It should be smooth and elastic. Not wet and not dry or crumbly.
- Form the dough into a ball and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap.
- Let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Use the dough immediately, or refrigerate up to one day.
- Roll out the dough to desired thickness and cut by hand or use a pasta machine.
Using a pasta machine:
- Divide the ball of pasta dough into 4 sections. Wrap up the other 3 sections of dough you are not using to keep them from drying out.
- Use a floured cutting board or flour your counter and place the dough ball on the floured surface. Gently press the dough into a flat disk.
- Feed the dough through the pasta machine set at 1. Fold the dough into thirds and feed the dough back through the widest setting. Slowly decrease the setting on the pasta machine as you pass the dough through each time. I like to go to 7. Make your pasta as thick or thin as you like.
- Now feed the long thin dough sheets through the pasta cutter to make fettuccine or spaghetti. You can cut the dough sheets in half and make shorter pasta or leave them long.
- Hang fresh cut pasta on a pasta drying rack or pile up the cut dough into little nests. Place each nest on a floured baking sheet to dry out.
Cooking fresh pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add fresh pasta and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.
Carefully separate your dough nests before placing them in the boiling water.
Al dente will be slightly firm. Cook the pasta longer if you prefer it more tender.
Keep an eye on your fresh pasta when cooking it. Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dried.
Storing homemade pasta:
Let your fresh pasta stay on the drying rack or baking sheet for about 2 hours at room temperature to dry out.
Refrigerate the fresh pasta for up to 2 days in an airtight container.
Freeze the fresh pasta for up to 2 weeks. Thaw it out before cooking.