Making your own pasta has many advantages – you can control the exact ingredients, such as the quality of the flour, the number of eggs and whether they’re free-range, the quality of the oil, etc. It’s a lot of fun to make pasta as a couple or with family and friends.
Best of all, homemade pasta tastes terrific!
Here are our preferred tips and tricks for making your own pasta.
Give yourself time
You don’t want to rush when making pasta. Get yourself a glass of wine, preferably with some delicious appetizers on the side to sustain you as you work. Making pasta is a hands-on, relaxing experience. You want to make the most of enjoying the feeling of working with the dough and creating your delicious noodles, tortellini, linguine, ravioli, or whatever takes your fancy.
Use the best ingredients possible
Use the highest-quality olive oil. Extra-virgin olive oil made from the first press without any unnecessary additives is ideal and will give your pasta a delightfully rich flavor.
Use fresh eggs. Fresh pasta is best without runny yolks or whites – you want robust, flavor-rich, fresh eggs.
Use beautiful cookware. Although not a food ingredient, we also eat with our eyes. Use the most aesthetically pleasing cookware to enrich the experience. Some ideas of colorful and efficient cookware can be found at https://unocasa.com.
Use the best flour. A popular favorite flour is semolina flour because this heavier flour can help the noodles stick better to the sauce. Use semolina flour for rolling out the dough as well as in the dough itself.
Use sea salt, not table salt. Sea salt is made by drying out the salt rather than processing it with chemicals. Sea salt tends to be more flavorful because of the trace minerals left behind during the drying process.
Keep pre-cooked pasta separated
Don’t stack prepared noodles on top of each other, as they’ll tend to stick together. Don’t worry if the pasta starts to dry out – it will soon sort itself out in the boiling water.
The easiest way to prepare your noodles is to roll out all of your sheets first. Then place the pasta sheets on top of each other with a layer of floured waxed or parchment paper or a floured baking sheet in between each sheet of pasta. Then once you are done rolling, you can proceed to cut into your desired shapes.
Note: Make sure you put flour between each sheet of pasta if you want to stack them using paper or baking trays.
Use your instinct when mixing the flour
Getting the correct consistency for the dough is easiest if you are doing things the old-fashioned way. Form a dip in a pile of flour on your cutting board or countertop to pour your egg mixture into. When you put your egg mixture into the middle of your flour ‘volcano’, you can gradually start incorporating the flour into the center while leaving the extra on the outside. Once your dough is at the consistency that you want, stop mixing and leave the extra flour where it is. You can then use the extra flour to roll your dough.
Knead your dough well
Ideally, you want to knead the dough for a good ten minutes. Yes, you can prepare the dough in a food processor or standing mixer, but kneading is best to get out all of those air pockets and end up with a smooth and springy dough. You’ll find it easier to tell when the dough is ready by kneading it with your hands.
Let the dough rest
You want to let your dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours (in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator). By allowing the dough time to rest, the flour has time to absorb the water and the gluten strands can stretch out, meaning your dough will be stronger and easier to roll.
Cook it gently
To cook your pasta, it’s essential to have a large pot with generously-salted water. As soon as you tip the pasta in the boiling water, you want to make sure to stir it so that your carefully prepared pasta doesn’t stick together.
Keep a careful eye on it, as homemade pasta cooks much faster than store-bought, dried pasta. Fresh pasta can be ready in as little as 90 seconds, depending on how thick it is. So be ready!
Use the best sauce possible
Homemade pasta tastes best, of course, with homemade sauce!
Try one of these sauces, and enjoy your pasta making!