how to: homemade pasta

I love pasta. It used to mean opening up a box, but after eating fresh pasta at some of New Jersey’s excellent Italian restaurants, I decided that I wanted to learn how to make my own pasta. Luckily, Santa brought me the pasta roller attachment for my KitchenAid mixer that year. [Yes, Santa still brings me gifts.] My first few attempts were not very good. The dough kept coming out tough and crumbled whenever I tried to roll it out. Needless to say, I was discouraged. I kept at it, and somewhere along the way, I discovered semolina and it changed everything. I prefer to mix all-purpose flour with semolina because I like the way that they come together. All semolina pasta tends to be heavier, and if it is not properly mixed can taste gritty, while all all purpose flour tends to be hard to work with, and it doesn’t that excellent pasta taste. I also add a touch of olive oil because I find that it makes a much smoother dough than just eggs and flour. It also makes the dough much easier to work with. This recipe makes a ton of pasta, but you can also cut it in half if you don’t want to make that much.

Start by mixing together 2 cups of semolina, 2 cups of flour, and a pinch of salt on a clean surface. It doesn’t have to be perfectly mixed, as you can see from my photo above. The semolina is yellower flour. I do this on a silicone baking mat because it keeps the pasta from sticking. Form your flours into a mound, then make a well in the middle of it.

Crack 6 eggs, and slowly pour them into the well. Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over the eggs. Using a fork, slowly start stirring the eggs and incorporating the flour into the eggs. I tried to get a picture of this, but my eggs just ran off the side and started making a huge mess. If that happens, don’t fret – just use your hands and start squishing everything together. 

Once you eggs and flours are somewhat incorporated, start kneading with your hands. At first, it will look a like a mess, but after a couple of minutes it will start to come together.

Continue kneading, and adding flour if necessary, until you have a smooth ball of dough. It shouldn’t feel sticky at all. If it is sticking to your surface, dust with a bit of flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and leave on your counter for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 1 hour. This will allow the gluten to relax, and make the dough much easier to roll out.

Your dough is now ready to roll out. You can either do this by hand with a rolling pin or with a machine. They do sell stand alone crank machines. I use this dough for everything from spaghetti/linguine to ravioli to lasagna noodles to tortellini. I adjust the thickness depending on what I am planning to make. Once it is rolled out and cut, it can be frozen up to 3 months. Just make small piles of noodles on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag.