Making fresh homemade pasta is a testament for most home cooks. As daunting as it may seem, making fresh pasta can be easy with the right recipe, and knowledge of what you should expect each step of the way. It is amazing that with four simple ingredients; flour, eggs, water, and salt, a product is formed that is loved throughout the world. Although largely thought that pasta in all its forms originated from Italy, it was derived from the traditional Asian noodle made of rice. Some say that Marco Polo brought back to Italy this discovery, but because his journals were never found it could never be proven.
Each country around the world has its own form of pasta. For instance, Germany has spaetzle, Greece has orzo, and Poland has the pierogi; each consisting of the same pasta dough product.
For my home made pasta, because of my Italian background, I stuck to a traditional fettuccine shape, and a spicy tomato cream sauce.
To begin you will need:
- 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting when kneading and rolling the the dough)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsp water (add 1tbsp water at a time if needed)
- A pasta machine either hand crank or kitchen aid
- Pasta attachements (I used the fettuccine attachment)
To begin set the mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the flour, salt, and eggs to the bowl. Turn it on low speed until well incorporated, add the water. Switch to the hook attachment and on low speed let it go for roughly 2 minutes. I a needed to add an additional 1 tbsp water for my dough to form. Remove and knead for another 2 minutes by hand on a floured work surface. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let in rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the fridge, cut into 4 workable pieces. Roll each section out just enough so that it will fit in the pasta machine. I like to roll mine out in an oval shape so that it is easier to feed into the roller. I roll all four pieces out at the beginning so that the process is an easy progression from one piece to another.
I begin with the largest setting to begin fattening the dough. For a kitchen aid mixer you will begin with 1 and work your way up from there. I did not go an further then 6 for fettuccine, as you want to leave it with some thickness for a bite. On 1, put the dough through the pasta roller 3 times; put it through once, do a book fold, then twice more. Then turning the dial up from there, run the dough through each number twice.
Once the pasta has been rolled through and you have reached 6 on the dial, bring the pasta over to your floured surface and trim it to 2-3 rectangle pieces. I do this do that once you pass it through the cutter attachment the pasta strands come out evenly.
Switch the attachment to the pasta cutter, and begin passing through the pasta sheets. You will need both hands for this as one will be holding the pasta helping feeding it through, while the other catches the fresh cut pasta coming through. As each sheet is cut into its desired shape, toss it lightly in flour so that it doesn’t stick and place on a lightly floured tray in nests. This pasta is best used fresh but you can store it in a cool, dry place for up to 2 days.