Fresh Pasta

Fresh pasta so easy to make, why buy it at the store? It’s literally 2 ingredients (3 counting salt), flour and egg, that’s it! There are so many things to can do with fresh pasta that can all be amazing. Simply cut fettuccine, tossed with some butter, freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a crack of black pepper and you have an amazing dish that is that much better with having fresh pasta. You can also take that same pasta dough, but instead, cut into wider paparedelle, and toss with your favorite bolognese, or meat sauce.. yum! Finally, stuffed pasta, from ravioli, tortellini or pansotti. The best part is, you can fill with whatever you want. One of our favorite creations is one with ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, sweet corn and fresh basil, which we will show you below.

Like many, you might have purchased a pasta machine, if not we have 2 suggestions. 

For a hand crank pasta machine, our favorite is the Marcato Atlas. It is sturdy, made in Italy, and affordable at around $100. Drawbacks, you have to hand crank it, and unless you have a nice sturdy table, it can be tricky to attach.

For our automated choice, the Kitchenaid pasta attachment is great, you simply attach it to the machine’s auxiliary output, and the pasta roller or cutter move automatically, freeing you to use both hands. The downside, you need a Kitchenaid mixer.

Basic Pasta Dough Recipe:
We suggest a 1x recipe per person for a small pasta course, or for filled pasta. 2x per person if you are having pasta as your main.

Ingredients:
-100 grams 00 or semolina flour (AP works too but will give a different texture)
-1 large egg
-Pinch of sea salt

2 ways to make this, by hand or with a mixer.

If doing by hand:

Pile flour into a mound that looks like Mount Vesuvius! Which means, tall sides with a well in the middle. Crack your egg into this well and use a fork to beat the egg, and ever so slightly drag some of the flour into the egg. Once you get a nice paste, use your hands and start to mix it all together until you get a nice firm dough. Knead this dough for about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a rectangle, wrap or cover and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

*You can also refrigerate, but make sure the dough comes back to room temp before rolling*

If using a mixer:
Dump in your flour, and salt into the bowl of the mixer. Beat the egg separately. Using the dough hook and on medium low speed, slowly stream the beaten egg into the flour and salt mixture. You will have to scrape the bowl down a few times to make sure it gets incorporated. When the dough forms into a ball, let it mix for 3 minutes, or remove and hand knead for 5 minutes. Form the dough into a rectangle, wrap and let sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes.

*You can also refrigerate, but make sure the dough comes back to room temp before rolling*

Rolling out the dough:
It is best to start with square or rectangle dough, gently pushed out until it is about an inch thick. Using the pasta machine, feed the dough in on the highest setting, then fold the ends together, rotate and feed back through. Do this a few times as it helps to build structure. You will notice that the dough becomes smooth, and almost supple in your hands. Gradually adjust the pasta maker to your desired thickness. As the dough continues to smooth out and get thinner, it develops a better gluten structure. After we get the pasta to the desired thickness, very very lightly dust it with flour, then using a brush or your hand, wipe it off, there should be just enough that you can feel it but not see it.

Cutting the pasta:
There are 2 ways to do this! The first and easiest is to use the cutter attachments on the pasta machine. The second is to hand cut. Since we have the attachment, that’s what we use, so we don’t have any pictures of hand cut, but it’s quite easy. Simply roll the floured pasta sheet up and using a sharp chef’s knife, cut nice even strips, then, unroll the dough and you’ll have pasta! We haven’t reached the point in our life that we need a pasta drying rack, if you have one, use it! If not, check out our setup! Yes, 2 wooden spoons being held up by 4 margarita glasses! The reason to use a rack like this is that you want to make sure that the pasta isn’t too bunched up or it will get stuck together, you want to keep the strands separated.

To make filled Pasta (in our case, ravioli):
Roll the dough pretty thin, we’ve heard Italians say that you should be able to read a newspaper through the dough, so yes, that thin! If it’s your first time, try going a little thicker, it will be more forgiving. On our Kitchenaid attachment, they suggest to roll to a #4 or #5 thickness, but we went even thinner to a #6, and probably could’ve gone thinner. 

Lay the pasta sheet out, and fill with a good tablespoon of the filling of your choice. Lay another layer of pasta over the top, and form an outline around the filling, the next part is very important. You want to form an airtight pocket around the filling. If the filling has too much moisture or an uncooked ingredient, it could cause steam in the pocket, and inflate the pasta while cooking. Try your best to get the air out, you can use a toothpick or paring knife and poke a small hole and squeeze out the air. Once you have gotten all the air out it is time to cut these little pockets of deliciousness out! If using a ravioli press, or a glass, cut the ravioli out, place on a lightly floured surface, and cook when all are done. We also used a fork to crimp the edges. This is just for ravioli, but of course, there are so many other types of filled pasta you can make!

*Note on fillings: it is best to use something that will not steam too much, or leak liquid when cooked. Ingredients like part skim ricotta, mozzarella, provolone, cooked drained spinach, corn, cooked minced meats, or sausage are all great ingredients to fill with. Steer clear of things like fresh mozzarella, uncooked meat or vegetables, or fish, anything that will expel a lot of liquid when cooked.

Cooking fresh pasta:
Cooking fresh pasta is much quicker than the the dried stuff so prepare yourself to watch over the pot as it is cooking, it happens fast! Get a nice big pot of water on to boil and season with salt, the rule of thumb is you want it to taste like water from the Mediterranean sea, so be generous with it! When the water is at a rapid boil, drop your pasta in. Cut pasta should take about 3-4 minutes depending on thickness. Filled pastas should take about 4-6, again depending on shape, thickness, a raviolo will take longer than tortellini. If you’re eating with a sauce, cut the cooking time by about a minute, and let the pasta cook in the sauce for that last minute so that it does not get overcooked.

Viola! There you have it. Trust us, making fresh pasta makes such a big difference and after you try it a few times, you’ll realize that the slight extra work is well worth the reward!

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Linda Jacques says:

    I recently purchased the kitchenaid pasta attachment, so that I could make pasta with my granddaughters.Thank you for all the recipes and tips. It will help me a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Happy to hear it! It makes it so much easier. We look forward to hearing how it turns out.

      Like

  2. JEANNE COUCHEY says:

    oh my . makes me want a pasta machine

    Liked by 1 person

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