Updated: Apr 15, 2020
I first learned to make Fresh Pasta in Florence, Italy at a cooking class. It was so much fun and my kids got to learn too so they love to get involved now even as young adults.
Because I love all things cooking my hubby bought me a pasta attachment for my mixer which makes rolling the pasta much faster, but a rolling pin will work as well, You will just need to divide your pasta dough out into smaller pieces.
Here is a link to Cooks Illustrated on how to roll pasta by hand.
Homemade pasta is light and delicate in texture and you can definitely tell the difference and want to have it all the time. But since it takes time, its best to make on a day when you have a couple of hours to make dinner.
This pasta is so lovely you can simply toss it with better and Parmesan cheese or lightly dress with truffle oil, pesto (my famous pesto recipe below),or my daughter Hope's creation from the other night, Garlic cream sauce...the options are endless.
The other night I made some of the dough into raviolis with what I had on hand. I mixed ricotta cheese, chopped sun dried tomatoes and chopped marinated artichoke hearts and used that as the stuffing and it was great (if you like those ingredients). You could use what ever is on hand and make your very own unique creation.
Tip: If you love it make sure you write it down for next time. I am famous for winging something and not writing it down. I'm getting better at it though.
Anyway on with the recipe!
Fresh Pasta Dough Ingredients:
3 cups of flour (I use half all purpose flour and half Semolina flour)
2 teaspoons of olive oil
1/4 cup water or more but add only a Tablespoon at a time
- If you have a standing mixer you may combine the wet ingredients first, then add the flour. If the dough is too dry and not forming into a mass, add a Tablespoon of water at a time.
- If you don't have a mixed the traditional way to make the dough is to mound the four on large clean work space like a countertop. Make a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides.
- Break the eggs into the well. Add the salt and olive oil in the hollow and gently mix together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you do this the dough will start to take shape.
Continue to work the dough with your hands and add the water as needed. If you add too much water, just add a little flour until the dough is pliable to knead.
- Once the dough is fully incorporated you will knead it until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 - 10 minutes. This is a great time to take turns and let everyone get a chance because it is a bit of a workout!
- At this point, set the dough aside, cover it with plastic and let it rest for 15 - 20 minutes. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow the dough to come to room temperature before rolling it out.
- Before you roll the dough prepare a baking sheet with flour to put your finished rolled pasta on. I like to use the coarse semolina flour here but you can use all purpose flour also.
- Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough lightly and if rolling by hand flour the work surface liberally.
-If using a pasta machine, flatten 1 of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval shaped disk. Dust the disk and your hands with flour before rolling out the dough.
-Set the pasta machine to the widest setting and pass the pasta through the machine's roller at speed 2 a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough in half and pass through a few more times.
- Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting. (I work my lasagna and fettuccine noodles to level 5)
- If you're making fettuccine or spaghetti you can switch out the attachment now and feed it through. Sometimes I cut the dough in half before feeding through the cutter for easier handling.
- If you're making lasagna you will lay out your dough on the counter and scoop 2 tsp of whichever filling you would like and space out 4 inches apart for half the length of the dough. Using a finger dipped in water, make a circle around each of the filling scoops. Then fold the dough over on top of the filling and press the top and bottom layer together to seal. If you have a ravioli cutter that is always fun to use but you can also just just them into squares.
Once your pasta is ready to cook it will take just a few minutes. Boil a large pot with well salted water. Then drop in your raviolis gently and cook for about 3 minutes.
If you make fettuccine, dust with flour lightly picking up the strands and tossing them in the flour to make sure they are separated and let sit for a few minutes. You can also let them dry in a single layer on a cookie sheet for 2 hours then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 weeks. To cook frozen pasta, transfer it to the refrigerator to thaw for 4 hours then cook as usual.
Here is the best pesto recipe I used for years!
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
- In a food processor blend the basil, nuts, garlic and salt into a paste.
- Add the Parmesan cheese and process
- Slowly add the oil through the tube of the processor and blend
- Taste for seasoning and enjoy.
Note: I recently used half pine nuts, half roasted sunflower seeds and it was just as good. Pine nuts are pretty expensive these days so I was excited to make this discovery. In addition you could use other nuts, just make sure if you're serving this to others you don't know well, make them aware there are nuts in it. Our daughter is allergic to nuts so I am always very conscientious about using nuts.
One other tip: I use this pesto when making turkey burgers and add sun dried tomatoes and extra parmesan cheese and it's a healthy burger alternative.
Hope's Garlic Cream Sauce
4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme and sage
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste (we like it peppery)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or less if you don't like it spicy)
- Melt butter in saute' pan over medium heat until sizzling, then add the chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the dried herbs and cook for one more minute on low heat.
- Add the heavy cream and continue to cook on low until slightly reduced and thicken about 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and add the Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy with any pasta!