One of the ways I have really grown as a cook is that when a recipe does not turn out as expected, I no longer just give up but instead try again. I research other recipes for the same dish and sometimes, I just go with my instincts. That is what I did in this case and it turned complete disaster into a fantastic dinner! Pasta rollers were at the very top of my Christmas list this year and I have been dying to attempt all different kinds of homemade pasta. A couple of weeks ago, I made my first attempt and made four cheese ravioli. The filling was wonderful (recipe to come) but the pasta left something to be desired, and was quite frankly a huge pain in the butt. The dough was insanely dry and tough to work with and the end result was just not that great.
I was determined to make homemade pasta that tasted worth the effort. This time, I tried a different pasta recipe but things started out much the same. Most recipes call for little to no liquid, and this was no different. So when I started the dough as the recipe recommended, I ended up with basically sand. I decided to forget the recipe and just go with my gut. I added water and olive oil a little bit at a time until I had a dough that seemed the right consistency. I rolled it out, put it through the rollers, cut it and cooked it without issue. This was a night and day difference from my first attempt, in difficulty and in taste. Now I definitely think homemade pasta deserves the hype and I am eager to try many more variations.
Basic Egg Pasta
Yield: approximately 1 1/4 lb. pasta
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. water, plus more as needed
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon water, olive oil and flour. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are well mixed and a dough begins to form. If the mixture is not coming together add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time just until the dough is formed. Remove the dough from the mixer and transfer it to a work surface. Knead 1-2 minutes by hand. Cover with a clean towel and let rest for 20 minutes before proceeding.
Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Flatten each piece with a rolling pin until it is flat enough to go through the pasta sheet roller at its widest setting. Run the dough through the sheet roller on its widest setting once. Remove the sheet from the roller and lay it on the work surface lengthwise. Bring both outside edges into the middle, folding the sheet into thirds. Flatten with the rolling pin until flat enough to go through the sheet roller on the widest setting once again. Pass the folded sheet through the roller, open end first. Remove the sheet from the roller and lay it on the work surface lengthwise once again. Fold the sheet into thirds as before, flatten with the rolling pin and pass through the roller once again. Continue this pattern until the dough is smooth and supple, approximately six times total.
Pass the dough through the pasta sheet roller at narrowing widths (folding is no longer necessary), narrowing it one setting at a time, until the dough has reached the thinness you desire. (If at any time the sheet becomes too unwieldy, simply cut it in half and work with each half individually.) Set the sheet aside, cover with a towel and repeat the entire process with the remaining three segments of dough.
Once all the pasta sheets are finished, pass through a noodle cutter if desired.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water until al dente, 2-5 minutes. (I recommend testing a piece at a time, mine took even longer.) Drain well and serve.
Source: loosely based on the KitchenAid Pasta Attachment Instruction and Recipe Book