I’ve wanted to make fresh pasta for a long time. However, I was always intimidated by the thought of it and never knew what to do with it once I had it made. Well, for Christmas we got an Italian pasta cutter called a chitarra. It looks like a little harp and you lay the pasta sheets over the strings and then use a rolling pin to push it through the stings. One side makes a larger noodle, somewhere between spaghetti and linguine and the other side make a small noodle a little larger than angel hair.
So to start, there are tons of recipes online for homemade pasta dough. I read through many of them and they are all very similar – just slightly different amounts of flour, eggs, salt, olive oil and (sometimes) water. The one I settled on was from MangiaBenePasta.com and you can find various recipes from them at the link. I liked theirs the best because they give recipes for different quantities. The one I chose was for 3 to 4 servings. This made a manageable size of dough to work with for the first time. I did leave out the water from this recipe because some of the reviews on the chitarra state to use a denser pasta so it cuts easier.
This recipe makes 3 to 4 servings (or two large man-sized servings)
- 1 1/2 cups of flour (I used all purpose white flour)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 3/4 teaspoon olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon luke-warm water
For a little bit larger amount of pasta, use this one for what they call 5 to 6 servings:
- 2 1/4 cups of flour (I used all purpose white flour)
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon luke-warm water
Start by putting the flour in a mound on a clean dry space. I used our counter top but most recipes call for using a wood cutting board. Now, make a well in the middle of the flour. I started out using my fist but then the first egg took up the whole well so I had to enlarge it. Add the eggs, salt, water and olive oil to the middle of the well. Mix the eggs in the middle of the well with a fork and then slowly start incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. Eventually, you’ll run out of flour on the sides and by this time it is mixed enough to start using your hands to mix all the ingredients.
I was surprised that it was so dry at this point. I really started to think that I needed to add some water but I didn’t. I just kept mixing it with my hand and eventually it started to look like pasta dough. This just took a few minutes. At this point, start kneeding the dough to get it silky smooth. The recipe I used said you need to kneed for 10 minutes but I found that it took about 15 minutes of continuous kneeding to get it really smooth. I think this is something you get better at with more practice. I tried to follow the instructions I read online and really put my weight into it and the process seemed to go well.
Once it is kneeded to a smooth consistency and not sticky any more, you should roll it into a ball and let it rest. How long, you ask? Well, apparently, it all depends on who you ask! I followed their directions and covered it with a towel but I let it rest for an hour, rather than the 15 minutes they suggest. I also read that you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to let it rest. If this one doesn’t turn out good, I’ll try that method next time.
Once the pasta has rested you need to roll it out. Most instructions say to get it to 1/16 inch. I am not sure I got mine that thin, but I just rolled and rolled and rolled until I felt it was enough.
Here is a look at the final product. My dough is rolled out and ready to use. At this point, you can do anything you want with it. I am using my dough in the chitarra and will add that post later.