Homemade pasta dough – part 1

Homemade pasta! This takes a little extra time to make, but it is well worth it. Fresh pasta is much lighter than dried, and is so versatile. Almost anything you toss with it makes a brilliant dish. The recipe itself is very simple (flour, egg, water), however, it is one of those recipes that requires “feel”, hence the lengthy description that follows. The good news is that the dough is extremely forgiving. The recipe below is from my family, but there are lots of variations.

First, decide what type of flour you will use. You can use 100% all-purpose flour, or for a more tender dough, 50% all-purpose flour and 50% 00 flour (double zero flour, or tipo 00). Both produce a delicious dough. My family always used 100% all-purpose flour, but I like the consistency of the dough with the 50/50 combination.

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The ratio in this recipe is about 1 cup flour to 1 egg. To get the right consistency, you may need to add up to 1 additional tablespoon water per egg.  A common mistake, especially when making the dough in a mixer, is to add too much liquid – so only add drops at a time.  A slightly dry dough will become hydrated while resting. A dough that is too wet will need additional flour when rolling and cutting the dough. You will be amazed at how much the dough comes together after it has rested.


Homemade egg pasta dough (pasta fatta in casa)

serves 5 people as a main course, 8 as a first course

Ingredients

  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 eggs, extra large
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
  • 1-3 tablespoons of warm water, only if needed

Method:

You can make the dough using the traditional method, or in a stand mixer.

Traditional: Combine the flour and salt mixture on a large wooden board or table. Make a wide, deep well in the middle, and add the eggs to the center of the well. Slowly, incorporate them into the flour with a fork, taking the flour in small amounts from the sides of the well. Continue this until all the egg is incorporated. With this method, you probably won’t use all the flour, only enough to get the dough to the correct consistency. Use a bench scraper to move the extra flour away from the dough. You probably won’t need any extra water, either.

Once you have a cohesive ball of dough, knead it on the counter for about 6-10 minutes. Add as little flour as possible to the dough as you are kneading.  The dough should be smooth and silky. Form the dough into a log shape and wrap tightly with plastic. Let rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes before using, or refrigerate for later use (up to a day).

Stand-mixer: Combine flour and salt mixture in the mixer bowl. Using the dough hook attachment and the mixer on low, drizzle the egg very slowly into the flour. Add only about 1/8 cup egg at a time, allowing a few seconds for it to mix together before adding more. Once all the egg has been incorporated, wait a minute or two before you decide whether to add extra water. The dough will change consistency when you knead it. Add extra water, in drops, only if necessary for the dough to come together. Knead the dough in the mixer for about 4-5 minutes.

Once you have a cohesive ball of dough, knead it on the counter for about 3-4 minutes (your mixer has done most of the work).  Add as little flour as possible to the dough as you are kneading.  The dough should be smooth and silky. Form the dough into a log shape and wrap tightly with plastic. Let rest on the counter for at least 30 minutes before using, or refrigerate for later use (up to a day).

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More on cutting and shaping the dough in Homemade pasta dough part 2.

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