Making fresh pasta dough at home might sound intimidating or not worth the hassle. It may even seem unnecessary, since most grocery stores carry a plethora of great boxed, refrigerated and frozen options.
But guess what? Making your own pasta is incredibly easy, and it doesn’t require any fancy kitchen tools or an Italian grandmother watching over your shoulder. There’s no need to invest in pasta attachments, machines or crazy gadgets. All you need is a rolling pin, a sharp knife, your hands and a little bit of elbow grease.
This recipe is all about keeping things simple and approachable. While fancy flours like “00” and semolina are great options, you don’t have to use those to make a great dough. A good quality all-purpose flour will do the trick. Most pasta recipes ask you to weigh out the flour with a food scale, but that requires another gadget you may not have. So, to make things easier, we’re measuring the flour in cups, not ounces or grams.
There’s a lot of debate in the pasta world over whether you should use egg yolks, whole eggs or a combination. I could bore you with the science behind each option, but that involves a lot of mind-numbing talk about protein structures, gluten networks and fat compounds. So here’s my answer: Use whole eggs. It’s easier and it produces less waste. Who wants all those leftover egg whites anyway? I also like to add a little bit of olive oil to the eggs. The fat in the oil acts as an insurance policy to ensure the dough has flavor and is easy to roll out.
The dough is made by slowly whisking the eggs and oil into the flour until a ball has formed.
The ball is then kneaded until it’s elastic and smooth. But what does that really mean? The dough should bounce back when you press into it, almost like Play-Doh. If you’re still uncertain, cut the dough in half and look for tiny air bubbles. If you see them, your dough is ready.
After your ball is formed, rest the dough for 30 minutes to let the flour hydrate and the glutens relax ― or else you’ll end up with dry, tough strands of pasta. After that, it’s time to roll it out just like you would pie dough.
Then cut it into thin or thick strands ― whatever your heart desires.
The last step is to boil it in heavily salted water for just a few minutes, depending on how thick you rolled the dough. Toss it with your favorite pasta sauce or even just some butter and parmesan. The reward for making homemade pasta dough is unbeatable, and it’s nothing like you’d find in the store. Even if you’re a novice.
Homemade Pasta Dough
1. Place flour in a mound on a clean surface, either a cutting board or a counter top.
2. Use your fingers to create a 3-inch well in the middle of the flour.
3. Add egg, olive oil and salt into the well. Use a fork to gradually whisk the flour into the eggs, taking a little bit of the surrounding flour each time you whisk. Keep going until the mixture comes together into a shaggy ball.
4. Knead the dough with your hands for about 7 to 10 minutes until it’s smooth and elastic. Use extra flour as needed to prevent it from sticking to your work surface.
5. Form into a ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
6. Sprinkle more flour on your work surface. Cut dough into two equal parts.
7. Use a rolling pin to roll each half into a very thin, oblong shape. The dough should be thin enough that you can see your hand through it when you pick it up.
8. Fold the long ends of dough to meet in the middle. Then fold dough in half crosswise. Cut into 1/4-inch wide sections. Toss noodles with extra flour to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside and repeat with other half of dough.
9. Bring large pot of salted water to rapid boil.
10. Add noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente.
11. Drain and toss with your favorite sauce.