How to Make Pasta Noodles From Scratch
I Learned Directly From an Italian Signora
Pasta is one of the staples of food in Italy. When I was a student in the Italian city of Perugia, I stayed with an Italian woman (signora) in her home. I rented a room with a friend who was also studying the Italian language there. Of course, when you're a guest, it's polite to observe your host's rules and customs.
The signora we were staying with was very particular when it came to cooking in her kitchen. On weekends, she would spend hours preparing for dinner. One dish she often prepared was pasta. Traditionally, Italian cooks make their own pasta rather than buying it at the store. Fortunately for me, I had the opportunity to observe her pasta-making techniques.
Last Christmas, my sister-in-law presented my husband and me with a pasta roller and cutter attachments for the KitchenAid stand mixer (I already owned the mixer, but I didn't have the attachments). We decided to put this gift to good use by making our own homemade pasta.
By the way, if you don't have any of these attachments, you can simply use a rolling pin to roll the dough flat on a floured countertop, and then you can use a sharp knife or pastry cutter to cut the dough.
My husband and I decided to make our two favorite types of pasta: fettuccine and lasagna. Surprisingly, our first effort at making these noodles with the pasta roller turned out wonderfully well.
Lasagna for Dinner
Since it was a weekend, we decided to make lasagna for dinner. Like the store-bought oven-ready lasagna, I boiled the pasta for a few minutes to cut the time of cooking in the oven later. The lasagna was delicious. I think fresh pasta tastes so much better than store-bought. I'm not against buying it from the store, but once you make your own, you can tell the difference.
How to Keep Fresh Noodles
You can freeze the noodles by following these steps:
- Spread out the noodles on baking sheets.
- Place the baking sheets in the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until the individual pieces aren’t sticking to each other or the pan.
- Once the noodles are frozen, you can package them up into freezer bags.
However, I would encourage you to cook the pasta on the same day or the next so you can enjoy its freshness.
- 4 large brown eggs, room temperature
- 2/12 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1-2 tablespoons water (optional)
- Dust a clean surface or wood cutting board with some flour. Place the flour that is mixed with salt in the middle.
- Form a well in the middle of the flour. Crack the eggs in the middle of the well.
- With a fork, lightly beat the eggs, gradually pulling flour from the inner rim of the well into the egg, until a soft, clumpy dough begins to form.
- Start using both hands to combine the mixture and knead until it forms a dough. (If the dough remains dry and crumbly, add about 1 teaspoon of water and process again. If the dough is sticky, add some flour and process again. Repeat if necessary until the dough comes together.)
- Cover the dough with cling wrap and let it rest in a bowl at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Cut the dough into a few pieces and cover with a towel.
- With a rolling pin, flatten and shape one piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Dust it lightly with flour and pass it through the widest setting on the pasta machine.
- Fold it into thirds, like a letter, and if necessary, flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Pass it through the widest setting again with the seam of the letter perpendicular to the rollers.
- Without folding the dough, pass it through the next setting on the pasta machine. Keep reducing the space between the rollers after each pass.
- Lay the rolled-out dough on the tablecloth. Roll out the remaining dough in the same manner. Cut each strip of dough into 11-inch lengths.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt.
- Put 3 or 4 noodles in the boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, cook for about 60 seconds. Transfer the noodles into a tray that is cover with a clean towel. Repeat with the remaining noodles.
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