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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Homemade Pasta Tutorial, Part 1 – The Basics Cooking View

So do any of you remember nearly one full year ago when I posted this ravioli and asked if anyone would be interested in a homemade pasta tutorial?  The response was overwhelmingly, “Yes!”  I certainly never forgot about it but I kept finding other things to post about instead.  Well, I finally made it happen.  Let’s talk homemade pasta.

First, let me say right off the bat that there are tons and tons of different ways to do this.  Some people swear by a certain method of mixing, some think a special type of flour is crucial, etc. etc.  I’m just here to show you the basics.  Then you can decide for yourself what works best for you.  Special equipment is not required.  You can make homemade pasta with just your hands and a rolling pin.  However, if you have the tools, use them.  I find it much, much easier this way and the process isn’t nearly so taxing.  In fact, making your own pasta may sound like something that would take hours, but especially if you have the equipment, you can have it made from start to finish in just under an hour.  Not bad at all.

To start, gather all your ingredients together.  You will need flour, eggs, salt, olive oil and a little bit of water.  Now, as the flour goes, you can make homemade pasta using just all-purpose flour.  That said, I think it tastes better, has a better texture, and is easier to work with if you use a combination of all-purpose and semolina flour.  There is also something called 00 flour that some people swear by for pasta making.  However, I’ve done a lot of reading on this topic and the reviews are mixed.  Ultimately, most think it’s not essential and since it is difficult to come by, I have no interest in pursuing it further.  The blend of all-purpose and semolina works great for me.

Combine all your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and make a well in the center.  If you prefer to make the dough by hand, you can create a mound of flour in the center of a work surface and make a well in the center.

Crack the eggs into the well of the flour mixture.

Start mixing the dough together.  If you are using a mixer, a dough hook works great for this.  If you are doing this by hand, use a fork and start using small circular motions to slowly pull in flour from the edges of the mound into the egg mixture.

Eventually you will end up with a dough that is a bit dry and shaggy looking, and it doesn’t quite stick together.  At this point, I prefer to do the rest of the mixing by hand, so I turn the whole mess out onto a work surface.  And if you’re already doing it by hand, great, stay where you are!  Once the mixture is on the work surface I add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water to the dough, and continue to knead until a cohesive ball of dough has formed.  You may need to add a tiny bit more liquid or a tiny bit more flour to get a workable consistency, depending on various factors in your own kitchen.

This is what it looks like when it is finished kneading.

At this point, divide the dough into four pieces.

Cover the dough balls with a damp kitchen towel and let rest 20-30 minutes before proceeding.  (If you are making a filled pasta, this little break is a great time to make your filling.)

From here on out, the steps done with my pasta roller can also be done with a rolling pin.  It will just require a lot of elbow grease.  The basic idea here is to first get the texture of the pasta dough completely smooth and malleable.  So, take one dough ball out, leaving the rest covered at all times when not in use.  Flatten it just enough to be able to go through the pasta sheet roller on the widest (thickest) setting.  (Due to the speed the pasta roller allows, I find I am able to work with two dough portions at once, making the process faster and more efficient.  You can decide what workflow works best for you.  Just be sure that any dough not in use is completely covered by a damp towel.)

This is my work horse.  I love it.

Go ahead and run the sheet through so that it is thinned and flattened.  It may look a bit scraggly and torn the first time through.  That’s okay – we’re just getting started.

Return the pasta sheet to the work surface and fold it into thirds.

Flatten the dough out once more with the rolling pin, again to a thickness so that it is able to go through the pasta roller (if using).

Run it through again on the widest setting.  You can see already that after just two times through, the dough is smoother and more evenly mixed.  I typically repeat this process (flatten, fold into thirds, flatten again, and so on) about four to five times total until the dough is smooth and supple.

Once you are happy with the texture of the dough, you can start thinning the sheets out.  If using a pasta roller, go ahead and set it to the next setting (just slightly thinner than the thickest sheet).  At this point there is no more need for folding into thirds, etc.  The objective is simply to flatten the sheets to your desired thickness, or thinness as it were.

Go ahead and run the pasta sheet through, thinning it out.  Repeat this process on progressively thinner settings until you achieve the width you want.

The sheets may become long and unwieldy to work with during the thinning process.  That’s okay – just cut them in half and keep on working.

Since I intended to use this dough for a stuffed pasta, I went to a thickness where it was just slightly translucent.

Now, if you are making long strands of pasta such as fettuccine or linguine and you have a pasta cutter, run your thinned sheet through the cutter and voila!  You’re done.  If you don’t have a pasta cutter, you can place a pasta sheet on a cutting board and spread with a very light dusting of flour.

Fold it into thirds.

Slice into strips with a sharp knife or pizza cutter.

Unfold the strips and ta-dah!  You made pasta!  At this point, finish using any remaining dough as needed.  Just be sure to keep the finished pasta covered with a damp towel.

If you don’t plan to use the pasta right away, it can be stored.  First, dry the pasta for 1 hour (for long strands, this requires a drying rack.  I’ve never done this.)  At this point it can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen  for up to 3 months.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of the tutorial – stuffed pastas.  Yum!

Basic Fresh Pasta
Yield: about 1 lb. of fresh pasta

Ingredients

1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surfaces
1½ cups semolina flour
½ tsp. salt
4 large eggs
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. water, plus more as needed

Cooking View

Directions

  • Combine the flours and salt in a bowl or on a work surface, creating a well in the center.  Crack the eggs into the well.  Using a mixer or by hand, slowly mix, incorporating the flour into the egg mixture a little bit at a time.  Once you have a dry, shaggy dough, mix in the olive oil and water and knead by hand until the dough is fairly smooth and homogenous.  Divide the dough into four portions and cover with a damp towel.  Let rest for 20 minutes.  At this point, proceed with thinning and cutting as desired, depending on equipment available.

  • To cook, cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 3-5 minutes or until al dente.  Drain well and serve immediately.

Source

  • Sasha

    Thanks for posting this! I got the pasta attachment for Christmas and I can’t wait to use it! Do you have a good recipe for spinach pasta?

  • http://aglassofmilk.wordpress.com jennie

    this might be the little push i need to try this out. it’s so helpful…thanks annie!

  • Annie
  • http://highplainsdrifters.wordpress.com/ Steve @ HPD

    Can’t wait for Part II.

    Just don’t wait another year, okay? :^)

  • http://www.theculinaryenthusiast.blogspot.com Karla

    Very nice tutorial! Earlier this spring a friend of mine who married into an Italian family taught me how to make homemade pasta–you both do it the same! :) I’ve made lasagna and noodles, so I am looking forward to Part 2 tomorrow!

  • http://www.healthyfoodforliving.com Lauren

    Fantastic post, Annie! I have made homemade pasta before, but I’ve definitely picked up a few great tips from this tutorial.

    Do you have any recipes for whole wheat or flavored pasta? I suppose I should just experiment with adding in lemon rind or herbs.

    Mmmmm I’m craving a big bowl of homemade pasta right now… yes, at 8 am ;).

  • Annie

    I have linked to a spinach pasta in the comments above. Other than that, I like your idea about adding in herbs and lemon zest. Can’t wait to try that! I haven’t tried whole wheat yet.

  • http://theblissfulbaker.wordpress.com Justeen @ Blissful Baking

    Thanks so much for sharing this tutorial! I remember making homemade pasta in home ec. class in middle school, but it definitely didn’t turn out as nice as yours!

  • http://www.cooklikeachampionblog.com Courtney

    Wonderful tutorial, Annie! I agree about the semolina/all-purpose mix. I made pasta several times with just the all-purpose, and it’s been fine. However, mixing in the semolina gives it so much more flavor and a much better texture.

    I have a recipe for herby pasta on my blog. You just add the fresh, chopped herbs in with the eggs. You can use pretty much any combination of herbs that sounds good to you.

  • http://casperswords.blogspot.com/ Casper

    OO flour is hard to come by but it is good with fresh pasta. It makes it easier to work with especially when making a pasta you need to be able to shape and manipulate. I will agree though that it isn’t worth the extra cost to track it down. I usually stick with simply all purpose flour. I skip the semolina though as I don’t care for the grainy texture it gives the pasta. Homemade pasta is wonderful and so many options to change it up by adding other flavors to it. I have done the drying process. I didn’t really care for the final product though. I make fresh pasta so often that I have it down to a pretty quick process. So I just whip up a batch of fresh when I want it. Good post. I wish more people knew how simple it was to make fresh pasta!

  • http://diggingri.wordpress.com auntie beak

    oh, thank you for the lovely step-by-step! i just got one of these pasta roller attachments for christmas, and just last friday took it on its maiden voyage. i made pumpkin ravioli. one question: i didn’t add any oil (i used the recipe in the kitchenaid booklet), and my pasta was, imho, perfect. what does the oil do for you?

  • http://www.gcroft.wordpress.com Gcroft

    You make it look so easy, Annie! Thank you for the tutorial. Definitely one to bookmark.

  • http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    This pasta looks so wonderful, Annie! Every year I help my in-laws make homemade ravioli for Christmas Eve dinner, and the homemade pasta is unlike anything I’ve ever had. I bet yours tastes just fantastic. Thanks for sharing, and I’m looking forward to seeing your stuffed pastas tomorrow!

  • http://soulfulcollegegirl.blogspot.com Sara

    I’ve tried making pasta before and it was a LOT of work. Having the KA attachment sure seems like it would help. I may have to give this a try.

  • http://theculinarycouple Emily (The Culinary Couple)

    We attempted our first homemade pasta over the weekend — ravioli filled with grated pears, Pecornio Romano, and mascarpone. It was tasty, but we weren’t pleased with the pasta to filling ratio. I think we need a pasta roller (and these tips!) to ensure our next batch is even better. Thanks for the tutorial!

  • http://www.bananasforbourbon.blogspot.com Julie (Bananas for Bourbon)

    Wow, thank you so much for making fresh pasta so approachable. It’s definitely something I’ve been wanting to try, but I’ve been avoiding since I don’t have a pasta making attachment for my kitchenaid. I think I might just give it a try by hand!

  • http://www.ourlittlebeehive.com Felicity

    Crazy. I just invited the in-laws over for my first foray into homemade pasta tonight (using all the implements we got as wedding gifts…in the summer of 2009. Oops.) I’m going to try for a crabmeat ravioli, we’ll see how that goes.

  • http://rosalindrevival.blogspot.com Carrie Rosalind

    Amazing! I was just thinking last night that I really wanted to taste what homemade pasta tasted like. Thanks for posting this – I’m gonna have to try it out!

  • http://kateiscooking.blogspot.com kateiscooking

    Great post Annie. I had to chuckle… My mis en place looks almost exactly the same – Kitchen Aid mixer, eggs, Bob’s Red Mill semolina, flour in a skinnier version of the same cannister, olive oil in a glass container similar to yours… We just bought the macaroni maker and I’m anxious to try it. We’ve used the Kitchen Aid roller and cutters for several years and they’re just incredible. I think this’ll help your readers find the pasta making process MUCH less intimidating so they’ll get to enjoy the fantastic taste of homemade pasta! BTW – love the new design!!

  • http://www.theJeyofCooking.com Jey

    Thanks so much for sharing this! Making homemade pasta is on my to-do list for 2011.

  • Theresa

    Darn you, Annie! You made this look so easy. I stopped by the grocery store for something else and picked up some semolina flour. I’m excited about the prospect of giving this a go. Thanks for taking the time to put together such a clear and approachable tutorial! =)

  • http://lifeandkitchen.com Lindsay @ Life and Kitchen

    I need to get the pasta attachment! I have been using a rolling pin for far too long.

  • http://tryanythingonce.wordpress.com Dionne Baldwin

    Thank goodness! I got a snazzy new Kitchenaid for Christmas with nifty attachments and the pasta attachment is one of them. I have a noodle recipe to try!

  • Melissa

    King Arthur Flour carries the 00 flour, also called “Italian Flour” – and they frequently have free shipping specials so it’s actually really easy to get. Just for future reference. Can’t wait to try some fresh pasta – my first foray was a mess as my pasta roller was full of black grease and things went awry…might be time to invest in the Kitchen Aid attachment. :)

  • http://www.blunderconstruction.com Halley (Blunder Construction)

    This is awesome!

  • Annie

    I suppose everyone’s definition of “easy” is different. To me, having to order an ingredient over the internet is not “easy”, and is also a waste of resources (all the manpower, fuel, packaging used in shipping it to you). I know you can order practically anything but I avoid that when unnecessary, especially in a case like this when the blend of semolina and all-purpose works just fine.

  • Jaime

    Thank you so much for this tutorial, I tried putting fondant through my pasta roller and it did not come out smooth at all but I didn’t realize you needed to do it a few times to get even…thank you!
    And of course I can’t wait to try making pasta now. I love any kind of pasta!

  • Annie

    Hmm, I’m don’t really think that applies to fondant. I think the folding/layering could just create air bubbles. I actually have a fondant tutorial on the site. I work with fondant a lot, but I never use a pasta roller.

  • http://ascientistinthekitchen.net Gay

    This is a great tutorial, you make it so easy to make fresh pasta.

  • Sophie

    I am with you on the “type 00″ / semolina question. First time I made pasta: semolina. Result: great. Second time: type 00. Result: wallpaper paste. Semolina costs less too, although both are widely available where I am (England).

  • http://stretchyourdollarwaukesha.wordpress.com/ Skirnir Hamilton

    Thank you very much for this. This explains quite well, how we make the sheets of pasta for making our homemade ravioli. Thank you. I am going to have to link to it for my pasta making comments. Thank you!

  • Anne

    I also live in Indy, but I am having trouble finding semolina flour. Where did you find yours? Thanks!

  • Annie

    I honestly don’t remember, I’ve had it for quite some time now. It may have been a random natural foods store in Avon, but I can’t guarantee that.

  • http://www.chileanflavor.blogspot.com Mohana

    I’ve made your pasta recipe a couple times now and every time comes out fantastic!!! Love, love, love the semolina in the recipe, it gives a wonderful texture. Last night I had a dinner for friends and made fresh fetuccini with your clam sauce. It was amazing!!!!

  • Jeana

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I followed it exactly and my pasta came out wonderful! And wow, I think that kitchen aid pasta attachment was the best investment ever!

  • Annie

    Awesome! I’m so glad it was helpful to you :)

  • Amibeth

    Just got home from my mom’s house and she gave me the KA pasta maker attachment as an early Christmas present! Yes, its only July, but she said she couldn’t wait… love that woman! :) Thanks for the tutorial, can’t wait to give my kitchen toy a try! My mom used the recipe in the booklet that came with it and said it came out perfectly, but I am really looking forward to experimenting with herbs. Trader Joes makes a spinach chive pasta that my son just loves so that will have to be my first attempt. Thanks Annie!

  • Rachel

    This has been on my list of foods to attempt, and I’ve been waiting for a pasta roller. Today I decided to just put the elbow grease into it and was not disappointed. It was amazing! We only ate half the pasta for dinner so I rolled out the other half into strips and dried it on a cooling rack – worked marvelously! This was sooo easy to do, even by hand, and was on the table in under an hour. I’m hooked! Thanks!

  • Gina

    I tried this recipe tonight as my first attempt at making my own pasta and it was so easy and delicious! This post made me want to make pasta all the time! This was the first recipe of yours that I’ve tried but I will definitely make more after this one! Thanks for the great tutorial and can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  • http://indigoscones.blogspot.com/ Ellen

    So you don’t always have to dry pasta before using?

  • Anonymous

    No, definitely not.

  • Megan

    Annie, Do you have only the roller attachment and then cut by hand? I was browsing the Kitchen aid site and am a little overwhelmed by all the pasta attachments.

  • Anonymous

    No, I have some of the other attachments as well. You might want to check out the second part of this tutorial.

  • http://tideandthyme.com/ Laura

    This recipe was perfect, Annie. I tried the recipe that came with the roller – and it was a complete mess. This was perfect. Came together beautifully and a dream to work with. Thanks again for another winner, lady!

  • Jenn

    I’ve tried different pasta recipes and this is by far the absolute best! Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Gels

    Well Thank you, that was yummy! The entire Fam loved it and the best past is that it was easy.
    I am very excited to have found you and can’t wait to try some more things :)

  • Julie

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Made Bucatini today for dinner. We purchased the KitchenAid dies. The first time we followed the recipe book that came with the dies. Didn’t work at all. Was afraid that we blew some $$$ and burnt up my KitchenAid. Your recipe worked awesome. I pulled the dough balls apart and slowly put them in the extruder. Thank you again for helping us realize that we didn’t waste $$ with the dies.