Joy the Baker

Homemade and Handmade Pasta

September 22, 2009

Pasta Making

Can I tell you a secret?  Sometimes I lack all confidence in the kitchen.  It’s true.  Sometimes a project will keep me up at night.  Sometimes the ingredient list will just baffle me.  Sometimes I hold my breath as I incorporate the ingredients, or I second guess myself and reread the recipe with every turn of my spatula.

It’s the absolute truth.  Sometimes I just need someone to hold my hand through a new recipe… or I at least need to be allowed to throw my hands up and call uncle at any point during the process.

I tell you all this so you know that when I stepped in the kitchen to make pasta this past weekend… well… I was totally intimidated.  I wasn’t sure I could pull this off.

I know… I know… everyone was telling me how easy it was.  Frankly, I was convinced they were liar liarpants.  For real.  Handmade pasta!?  Easy?  Not possible.

Well, let me be honest.  Pasta isn’t as entirely easy as everyone would have me believe.  That’s not to say it’s impossibly hard…. not at all.  For me, making pasta by hand just involves a little talking to myself, a big area where I could throw flour all around, a rolling pin and willingness for a good arm work out, and a few hours set aside for doughing… mostly just patting it, talking to it, and walking around the house showing it to whatever family member would pay attention to me.

The end result is beyond… BEYOND comforting.  The process was super satisfying, and really?  So Much Fun!  Pasta!  I made pasta!  Daaang!  I’m going to go ahead and pat myself on the back for this one.  Don’t mind me… I’ll be done in a minute.

Pasta Making

Pasta is pretty straight forward.  Flour and eggs, mixed, rolled, cut and boiled.  But.  And there’s always a but.  What kind of flour do you use?  There’s 00 flour.  There’s semolina.  There’s all-purpose flour… and don’t even get me started on the combinations!  I used all-purpose flour because I wanted to experiment with a recipe that you could easily replicate at home.  We’re in this together, right?

There is one thing worth noting…. this one is a big deal.  Pay attention to egg size with this recipe from Mario Batali.  All of the baking recipes that I post call for large egg.  Large eggs are standard baking practice.  This recipe calls for extra-large eggs.  You’ll need that added moisture.  It’s important.

Here’s a snazzy step-by-step followed by the recipe and official instructions.  Yea?  Yea!

Pasta Making

Six eggs and a dash of olive oil in a flour well.  Things are about to get good.

Pasta Making

Whisk up the eggs and slowly bring in the flour.  Cool.  I’m totally playing with my food!

Pasta Making

Coming together.  Getting there!

Pasta Making

This might just be a ball of dough!  Almost!  Dang I’m good.  Confidence is growing.

Pasta Making

I had a lot of the initial 5 cups of flour left over.  I decided that was ok.  I dumped the excess in the trash.  So there.

Pasta Making

The sixth and final cup of flour got sprinkled on the counter and put to  work inside the pasta dough.

Pasta Making

But I even had some of the last cup of flour left over!

Pasta Making

Excess flour is fine fine fine!  Look how pretty this dough ball is!

Pasta Making

After a 30 minute rest it’s time to roll this beast out.  Roll and roll and roll….

Pasta Making

and roll and roll… until I just couldn’t roll anymore.  Then it’s time to slice.

Pasta Making

Slice and slice and slice and slice.

What do you think?  Your turn?

Want a little YouTube courage?  I watched this video before I started my pasta adventure. It was nice to see a visual.

Homemade and Handmade Pasta

recipe from Mario Batali

serves 6

Print this Recipe!

5 to 6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour
6 extra-large eggs
3/4 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Make pasta dough:

Put 5 cups flour in a 12-inch-wide mound on a work surface. Make a 6-inch-wide well in center (down to work surface) with fist. (The outer wall should be 1 1/2 to 2 inches high.)

Break eggs into well and add oil. Beat eggs and oil together with a fork, then gradually beat in flour from inner side of well wall, keeping wall intact while mixture is runny, until it comes together in a cohesive, kneadable mass (about two thirds of flour from mound will have been incorporated).

Knead dough with floured hands, incorporating just enough flour on work surface until dough no longer sticks to hands. (It will still be a little tacky; you will have flour left over.)

Set dough aside and scrape up and discard flour from work surface

Lightly reflour work surface using some of remaining cup flour and continue to knead dough, reflouring hands often, until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes more. (Dough should still be slightly tacky.)

Form dough into a ball, then dust well with flour and wrap in plastic wrap. Let dough rest 30 minutes at room temperature.

Rolling out the Pasta:

Here’s where the arm work out comes in.

Unwrap the dough from the plastic wrap.  If the dough is sticky.. mine was… just dust it with flour.  Cut the dough in half, put half on the big clean counter where you’re going to roll the pasta out, and rewrap the other half so it doesn’t dry out.

Lightly dust your work surface with rice flour or a little bit of all-purpose flour.  Slowly and evenly begin to roll the dough out.  Flip and twist the dough on the counter top to ensure that it isn’t sticking.  If spots are sticking, lift the dough and lightly dust the surface with flour and continue rolling.

How thin do you need to roll the dough?  Thinner than you think, it’ll plump up when cooked.  I rolled mine thin enough so that I could vaguely see a magazine cover when placed under the dough.  It should be thin enough to see something under it.  Yea?

Once rolled out, take a pizza cutter and cut strips in your desired thickness.  I made fettuccine sized noodles, but you can go just thinner for linguine or fatter for pappardelle… or even fatter for lasagna noodles.  Just eyeball it if you have a steady hand.  You can do it!

Once sliced, I loosely piled up the fresh noodles with just a bit of flour so they didn’t stick.  I re-floured and fluffed them every once in a while just to make sure they didn’t stick.  Loosely cover the cut noodles with plastic wrap and begin to roll and cut out the other half of dough.

Don’t want to cook your pasta right away?  Want to store it?  Here’s how!

Pasta Making

Cooking your Pasta:

Once all your pasta is rolled and sliced, bring 8 quarts of water to a boil.  Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to the boiling water and add half of the cut pasta.  Cook for 1 or 2 minutes until al dente.  Remove cooked pasta from boiling water with tongs, and drop in the other half of cut pasta to cook.  Drain all of the cooked pasta in a colander.  Do not rinse.

Sauce?  How about a big ol’ Bolognese?  Recipe coming soon!


110 Comments Add A Comment

  • Thank you for the recipe and encouragement! I’m currently tackling my bread baking skills, so this suddenly sounds much more doable. Maybe we’ll have fresh pasta later this week. If it’s truly that simple, do I really want that attachment for my Kitchen-Aid?

  • Oh Joy, this looks just incredible!! I’ve always wanted to make homemade pasta but thought the pasta machine was an essential bit of kit (that I really didn’t want to buy) so how exciting to see that it can be made by hand!! I think I’m going to give it a go this weekend. Thank you so much!

  • Making pasta is one of my favorite things to do. I didn’t believe anyone either when they told me it was easy. I have the Kitchen-Aid attachments to play with – that’s when pasta is reaaaalllly easy!

  • Ohhhh, thank you for the post, Joy! I bought a pasta machine only last week and have plans to try it out this weekend, so shall use your recipe when I do! Thinking of doing ravioli though, any tips on fillings?

  • Never tried it, I was never sure the difference would be worth the effort — but you’ve awakened inspiration to give it a whirl!

  • I’m glad to see I don’t need a pasta roller to make pasta – I’ve been wanting to try, bud didn’t want to invest in the gadget – but a good ole rolling pin I have! Thanks Joy! It looks delicious!

  • Thank you soooo much for posting this. I’m having a Pasta Party next month and have been agonizing about making my own pasta. I don’t have a pasta machine so I’ve been wondering if it’s possible to do by hand and how hard it would be. You make it look so easy. Of course I’ll do a trail run but this makes me just want to get out there and try it. Your step by step instructions help a ton. Thanks again!

  • Great Joy!! For the first time a blog to report handmade pasta!!! It’s scaring, isn’t it? But at the end (and with a bit of practice) it’s totally easy and rewarding! My recipe doesn’t call for oil or for large eggs, but I think it doesn’t matter at all!! Once you are able to make your own fresh pasta… who could stop you? and there are a lot of different size and shapes to fool around!
    enjoy
    Martina

  • Ive made homemade pasta only a handfull of times and have to say any woman who hand cuts and rolls her own pasta is a good woman!! Joy this is wonderful, thanks so much for the inspiration and sharing!

  • I have the pasta roller for my KA and haven’t tried it yet… Just might do that this weekend! Thanks!

  • Mm mmm. Homemade pasta. I don’t make my own, but remember my mom making it when I was young. I think she cheats and uses some sort of machine, though. Doesn’t matter – it still beats the dried kind!

    Joy, you have mad skills in the kitchen.

  • Wow – pat on the back well-deserved. You make it look so easy though, you’re inspiring me to give it a go as well!

  • You mean no pasta maker required?

    I always thought you absolutely needed one of those.

    Definitely having a go at this very soon!

  • you’re just inspirational! ;)

  • Wow, Joy you made pasta! And not only that you made it look like I could make pasta!! I’ve heard a leader is someone you would follow somewhere you would not go by yourself. That’s you Joy, and right now you’re leading the way to PASTA!!!

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