Homemade pasta may be the best tasting food ever; the flavor and texture barely have any relation to its boxed, dried cousin. Don’t get me wrong – I love all forms of pasta – but if you have the time to make it from scratch, you should.
In order to make pasta you will need some sort of pasta maker. I used a hand crank version for years, but when I got my Kitchenaid mixer, I knew I had to have the pasta attachment. Or both of them.
The Kitchenaid also helps with the kneading part as well, but you can do this by hand. It just takes a little extra arm work.
This is the basic recipe I use. You can use this recipe with the hand crank machine or the Kitchenaid. It makes a little more than 1 lb of pasta. You can also see directions for using the pasta press (where you can make cute tube pastas – macaroni, rigatoni, bucotini)! Delizioso!
3 1/2 cups sifted flour (I used Duram semolina flour this time, but usually use all purpose)
1 tsp salt
4 eggs (7/8 cup – use extra water to reach this amount)
1 Tbsp water
Crack eggs into liquid measuring cup, making sure they reach the 7/8 mark, adding water if it doesn’t. Add the tablespoon of water.
Sift flour into measuring cup, leveling off. Measure 3 1/2 cups into large bowl or bowl of mixer.
Add salt and stir.
If using a mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix in eggs for 30 seconds. Then switch to dough hook and knead for 2 minutes. Once the dough begins to form a ball, knead it by hand until it forms a smooth dough – 2 to 3 minutes.
If mixing by hand, use a wooden spoon to add in egg and mix until it the dough begins to come together. Turn out on a floured surface and begin to knead. I once read somewhere that you have to knead until your butt sweats – no joke, it is that hard. You want your dough to become smooth and elastic.
For flat noodles:
Let dough rest for 20 minutes in a clean dish towel. Split dough into four even pieces.
Using either the machine or the hand crank, set the flat rollers at 1. Roll the piece of dough through several times, folding in half each time, until the dough forms a smooth, flat sheet.
Run through, changing the setting to 2. The dough will become thinner and longer. Repeat, continuing to change the setting, until the dough reaches the desired thickness. Repeat with each pasta sheet, cutting each one in half and dusting HEAVILY with flour to prevent sticking.
Change to the pasta cutter roller. Run each sheet through the cutters. Twist into small nests and refrigerate or freeze within the hour. You can keep it in the fridge for 5 days or in the freezer for 1 months.
For tube shaped noodles:
Break dough into small, walnut size pieces.
Feed the pieces through the pasta press, one at a time. As the pasta extrudes, use the slicer to cut even pieces of noodles.
Spread the noodles out in an even layer on a flour dusted cookie sheet. Dust all of them lightly with flour. Let dry for 1 hour and then store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for 1 month.
Fresh pasta will cook much faster than dried. Watch it and test for the perfect al dente texture!