November 21, 2011 by Sara Kreidler
I’ve posted a few recipes that involve fresh pasta (Roasted Beet Ravioli, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Ravioli, Fiery Fettuccini with Cilantro and Tomatillo Cream Sauce), but I’ve never posted my basic “how to make fresh pasta” recipe, so here it is.
My mom taught me to make fresh pasta a few years ago. My mom’s version uses only all purpose flour (1 cup), but on the advice of my friend Chef Joe, I’ve replaced some of the all purpose flour with semolina, and I like it a little better that way. If you don’t have semolina, you can use only all purpose flour and it will still turn out great.
A few words about my pasta maker. My brother bought this for my a few years ago, and I LOVE it. If you don’t have one, go get one — it’s worth the investment. That said, if you don’t have a pasta maker, you can roll out the dough by hand and cut it into fettuccini noodles with a sharp knife instead.
The photo above is of sheets of pasta, which I filled and rolled into manicotti.
And here’s what the same sheets of pasta look like if you feed them through the fettuccini cutter. You can put the fresh fettuccini in the fridge (or freezer) if you’re not ready to use it immediately.
The recipe below yields one batch of pasta (about a pound), which I find to be just right for 2 dinner servings. I’ve successfully doubled the batch before, but I wouldn’t try to make a larger batch than that at a time because it would be too much dough to work with at one time; instead, I recommend making several smaller batches. The ball of dough in the two pictures at the top of this post is a double batch, in case you were wondering. I recently found that a double batch made two trays of manicotti, and two double batches was just right to serve 8 adults hearty portions of pasta with meatballs for dinner, with a little leftover to spare.
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup semolina flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 egg
- 2-4 tablespoons tepid water
- Combine the all purpose flour, semolina flour and salt in a small mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Pour the dry mixture onto a clean, dry surface and form it into a small mound. Use your finger to make a well at the top of the mound (we call this “making the volcano”).
- Beat the egg and olive oil together in a small mixing coup. Pour the oil and egg mixture into the well of the volcano, keeping your free hand on the side of the volcano to keep it from collapsing. Using a fork, slowly whisk and egg/oil mixture oil inside the volcano, pulling in a little flour as you go. If you volcano collapses, don’t worry – just use your hands to keep the wet stuff in the middle of the pile and continue to draw in the flour using the fork. You will quickly end up with a crumbly dough.
- Once all of the oil and egg is mixed into the flour, begin to add water, one tablespoon at a time, and knead the dough with your hands. If the dough gets too sticky, sprinkle with flour; if too dry, add more water. Once the dough is the right consistency, roll it into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Leave the dough to cure at room temperature for about 20 minutes.
- Unwrap the dough and discard the plastic wrap. On a well-floured, dry surface, press the dough into a flat disk with your hands. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a fairly thin, even consistency.
- Using a pasta maker, progressively roll out the dough as thin as you through the flat roller. How thin to go is a matter of personal preference; I find that the last (thinnest) roller setting on my machine makes the pasta too thin, so I usually end on the second to last setting. Keep in mind that the pasta will plump up a little bit when you cook it. If you’re making pasta sheets for manicotti, ravioli or lasagna, stop here. If making fettuccini or another noodle shape, proceed to the next step.
- Next, roll the thin pasta sheet through the cutter section of the pasta maker to make fettuccini (or whatever pasta shape you’ve chosen, my pasta maker has a fettuccini cutter and an angel-hair cutter). Place cut pasta on a clean plate and sprinkle with a little bit of flour. If you’re not going to use it immediately, cover with plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a little salt and about a tablespoon of oil to the pot. Gently drop the pasta into the pot and cook for about 3 minutes (if the pasta has been in the fridge for a while, you may need to cook it for an extra minute or so). Drain pasta, toss with sauce of your choosing, and serve.