In this day and age when you can pick up a package of dry pasta almost anywhere, you might be wondering what kind of lunatic would try and make their own at home. Well … I’m one of those crazies that make their own pasta, and it’s not just because fresh pasta tastes better, I actually enjoy the process.
Pasta is such a ridiculously simple food, containing no more than four ingredients, and yet with a little kneading, a little rolling and some cutting, you end up with golden ochre strands of toothsome noodles that slip willingly through your lips before they provide some al dente resistance as you chew.
Giving a weight measure for the eggs may seem odd, but because eggs vary in size and the ratio of liquid to flour is critical, it’s the best way to get consistent results. That said, people have been making pasta for far longer than digital scales have been around, so once you get comfortable with the feel of the dough, you can skip the weighing and wing this based on texture which makes it even easier.
Unlike a cylindrical extruded noodle like spaghetti or linguini, rolled and cut noodles like tagliatelle are perfect for holding onto thick chunky sauces like Ragú alla Bolognese, which settles into the folds of pasta. I also like adding a bit of semolina, which gives the raw pasta a rustic texture. When it’s cooked, it ends up marvelously al dente, and the semolina gives the surface of the pasta some texture, which makes the sauce hold onto the tagliatelle like velcro.
- 4.9 ounces (140 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2.1 ounces (60 grams) semolina flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4.6 ounces (130 grams) egg (about 3 small eggs)
- Add the all-purpose flour, semolina and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk to combine.
- Add the eggs and stir to combine. You can use a stiff spatula or your hand.
- Fit your mixer with a dough hook, and knead the dough until it's elastic and no longer sticking to the sides (about 5 minutes). If after 5 minutes, it's still too sticky you can add a bit more flour. You can also knead the dough by hand on a floured surface, but it will take a bit longer.
- Cover the bowl with a lid and let the dough rest for an hour. This step is not essential, but it makes the dough easier to roll out.
- Split the rested dough into 4 even pieces, and flatten each piece out on a well floured surface as much as you can with the palms of your hands.
- Use the roller attachment of a pasta maker to roll the dough out into sheets. Use the back of one hand to help feed the dough into the rolls and the back of your other hand to catch the dough. The author recommends rolling the dough out 2-3 times on each setting and taking it to the fifth setting. If your sheet ends up being an odd shape, you can always fold the ends back over to the center of the dough and go back a few settings to get the dough into a more rectangular shape.
- If you have a hand crank unit, you may want to have someone help you. You can also use a rolling pin on a well floured surface, but it will be difficult to get the dough as thin as a pasta maker can.
- Once the pasta is sheeted, dust both sides of each sheet generously with flour and either lay it on paper towels or hang from a pasta rack to dry a little. This will make the cutting step much easier as the strands of freshly cut pasta won't stick together. The pasta should be dry to the touch but not so dry that it cracks if you bend it.
- Use the tagliatelle attachment of your pasta maker to cut the pasta, dusting with a generous amount of flour as the cut pasta comes out the other side of the machine. If you decide to hand-cut you pasta, apply a generous layer of flour to the inside layer of the sheet of pasta and fold over a few times so that the sheet of pasta is small enough you can cut it with a sharp knife. If you are hand-cutting the author recommends making the pasta a little wider.
- Dust the pasta with an ample amount of flour and then form into nests if you plan to cook it right away or hang on a pasta rack to dry.
- To cook, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the tagliatelle and boil for 1 to 1.5 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marcs been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.