Making pasta fresh at home is not only flavorful, it's incredibly easy. 4 total ingredients and takes about 45 minutes from start to finish. This is a fantastic activity to do with kids.
Fresh pasta freezes really well so you can make multiple batches then take store and use noodles as needed from the freezer.
If making standard noodles, you'll want a pasta machine with both a flat roller and a cutting roller. You don't need anything fancy, especially if you're just starting out. Hand crank Pasta Machines start around $20 and go up from there.
If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer in your home, there is a fantastic set of pasta attachments that make the job even easier. You don't have to crank and you can use both hands to work with and catch the pasta sheets. I use the Kitchen Aid attachments in the video below.
If you're going freeform, then all you need are flat sheets of pasta and cut them with anything that's handy like a pizza roller, sharp knife or baking cutting rollers.
Fresh pasta cooks incredibly fast, generally 30 to 60 seconds in boiling water. This fresh pasta it should be the very last thing you cook for your meal. Your sauces, sides, salads and everything else for the meal should be ready before you drop the pasta into the boiling water.
Prep, Cook, Servings
Prep: 45 min + 20 min. rest.
Servings: 6 - 8
2 1/2 cups of 00 Flour (available online if you can't find it locally)
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt.
White flour for dusting work surfaces.
Semolina flour or corn meal for dusting the pasta noodles.
Pasta Maker Instructions
If you've never used a pasta maker, either hand crank or the attachments, it's quite simple.
The Flat Roller is used first to create the sheets of pasta to be cut. The outer wheel on the flat roller is generally numbered 1 - 9. 1 is the thickest setting, 9 the thinnest.
You'll always start at 1 on the flat roller. After each pass of the pasta through the roller, you'll pull the outer wheel slightly out and turn it to the next number. You'll most likely need to dust flour on the sheets a few times during the flattening process to keep them from getting sticky. I usually flour them after 2 and 4 on the roller.
In general, 5 is the thickness you'll want for making popular noodles like Fettuccini or Spaghetti. For filled pasta like ravioli, you want to take it as thin as you can. Experiment with the settings to find your own personal tastes. There is no right answer.
Once you've rolled out the pasta sheet, cut the sheet to your preferred length. It's really up to you how long you want the pasta noodles to be.
Then run each sheet through the cutter rollers of your choice. Most hand crank pasta machines come with Fettuccini and Spaghetti cutters standard, but there are many other types of cutters you can purchase.
I start this process in a large bowl and move to a counter once the dough ball is formed, but you can do this entire process on the counter as seen in the video.
Add the flour to the large bowl or counter and create a well in the center.
Add the four eggs and olive oil to the center of the well. The liquid should not escape from the center.
Sprinkle a generous teaspoon of salt around everything.
Using a fork or your hands, slowly bring the flour together with the liquids, working the dry ingredients into the well a little at a time, mixing together, then adding more dry ingredients. Eventually the ingredients will form up into a ball that is no longer sticky, it might seem to be a tad dry, but that's ok.
Knead the ball for couple of minutes on a hard surface.
Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and set aside on your counter for at least 20 minutes. It can sit for up to 2 hours and be fine. If you are making multiple batches, go back to step one and repeat the process while the first batch rests.
Lightly flour a long, hard surface like a long counter, a kitchen table or folding table. Your sheets of pasta might get as long as 4 feet. You'll want a place to lay them down before you cut them into noodles.
Prep a couple of baking sheets by dusting the sheets with semolina or corn meal. This will prevent the pasta from sticking to the baking sheets. You can also cover the sheet with parchment or wax paper, but you still want to do a light dusting with the semolina or corn meal.
Unwrap the dough and cut approx. 1/4 of it off. Cover the rest of the dough with a ball or plastic to keep it from drying as you work.
Roughly flatten out the dough in your hands so it will more easily get started in the pasta roller.
Set the pasta flat roller to 1 and run the dough through.
Fold the dough in half, press together and run it through setting 1 again.
Set the pasta flat roller to 2 and run the dough through.
Repeat the process and roll the dough all the way through setting 5. Dust the dough with flour as necessary between rolls to keep it from getting sticky.
After the dough goes through setting 5, lay it out on a lightly floured surface.
Repeat the process for the other 3/4 of the dough, working with a 1/4 of the dough each time. If you don't have the space to lay out four sheets of pasta, go directly to cutting the noodles as follows.
Cut the sheets into desired length. If you are using a Kitchen Aid attachment, switch out the flat roller for the cutting roller of your choice.
Run the sheets through the cutting roller, catch the noodles with your hand as they come through the bottom so they don't fall onto the floor.
Create a 'bird's nest' with the noodles on the prepared baking sheet, then sprinkle the top generously with more semolina or corn meal. Repeat the process until all of the pasta is cut.
At this point you can either cook the pasta immediately, store in the fridge for a few days or store in the freezer for at least 2 months. I personally freeze the pasta immediately even if I'm going to make it that same day. This way any leftovers are already frozen and ready for use later.
To freeze, simply cover the baking tray with foil and place into the freezer. After 2 hours, you can place all the bird's nests into a container or ziploc bag and place back into the freezer for safekeeping.
In general, a single serving will be 2 or 3 bird's nests depending on how hungry you are and how long you made the noodles. To cook, simply grab the number of bird's nests you need and drop into boiling water for anywhere from 30 - 120 seconds, depending on the thickness of your pasta and your tastes. Filled pasta will take longer.