Making homemade pasta in Italy is an ancient art: from the fresh pasta sheet you get tagliolini or tagliatelle, ravioli or tortellini and the everlasting lasagna.
It does not take long to make a good fresh homemade pasta: 15-20 minutes for a nice smooth and elastic dough, 30 minutes of rest, 15 minutes to roll out… in about 1 hour fresh homemade pasta is ready!
Here we are going to show you how to make homemade pasta, what are the tricks to keep it from drying out, which is the best way to roll out the dough and much more!
Which Flour for Homemade Pasta?
Some people prefer a finer pasta, so they must use a white flour (soft wheat flour); others love a rustic taste, which can be obtained by adding percentages of durum wheat flour to soft wheat flour (e.g. 50% flour “00” + 50% durum wheat flour as in this recipe). In place of the flour “00” you can use durum wheat flour (semola flour), which is richer in protein, so you can get a pasta dough with a top cooking seal.
So, the basic recipe of homemade pasta wants the flour “00” or durum wheat or mixed; for 400 g (14 oz) of flour it takes 4 eggs of at least 70 g (2,5 oz) each.
Salt: Yes or No?
According to the currents of thought of Emilia Romagna region (home of fresh homemade pasta), salt should not be added to the dough but only to boiling water; according to others, however, a pinch of salt would not hurt …
Homemade pasta made without eggs (flour and water), wants a pinch of salt and warm water to facilitate hydration of the starch. With the dough without eggs usually you get pasta like cavatelli, trofie, orecchiette, bucatini, fusilli, strozzapreti. For tagliatelle, tagliolini, lasagna and stuffed pasta in general, it’s better using the traditional dough with eggs.
What Sauce for Fresh Homemade pasta?
You can dress fresh pasta such as tagliatelle, tagliolini or pappardelle with fresh grated Parmigiano cheese and a little butter and sage, or with a tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes or even with basil pesto.
How to Make Homemade Pasta
Homemade Pasta Tools and Equipment
You can choose to knead by hand (as in this recipe) to make fresh Italian homemade pasta, or you can use a stand mixer (we recommend kitchenaid stand mixer). This way you save time and effort, as a good fresh pasta must be processed for a long time and with a lot of energy. For a good result of fresh pasta you will need to use the spiral dough hook. Ideal for pasta, pizza and other heavy dough. It is commonly used in first and second speed.
We opted for the Imperia pasta maker machine to roll fresh pasta, maybe the most famous pasta maker machine in Italy. This kitchen tool is equipped with both a wood grip handle, to roll out the dough manually, and a two speed motor attachment.
If you have opted for the kitchenaid stand mixer, you can use the pasta maker attachment for kitchenaid: 3 in 1 set that includes pasta sheet roller, tagliolini cutter and tagliatelle cutter.
How to Make Homemade Pasta Dough by Hand
To make this recipe we used a flour mixture made with 50% flour “00” and 50% durum wheat flourthat we find perfect both for the dough and for the cooking.
That said, let’s show you how to make Italian homemade pasta by hand.
Step 1) – Place the flours on a work surface and create a hole with your hands. For those who are making homemade pasta for the first time we recommend using a bowl because the job will be easier. Split the eggs and put them in a bowl then pour the eggs into the hole.
Step 2) – With the help of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flours, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together. At this point, if you are using the bowl, remove the dough and place it on the table or try this non-slip mat that sticks to the table for kneading dough.
Now you have to knead and work it with your hands for about 10 minutes. Pay attention: if the dough is too soft and sticky, add flour; if it is too hard and with too much flour yet, add water. This is the hardest work but it’s necessary. If you don’t knead the flours with the eggs very well, the dough will be soft when cooked and not al dente as it should be.
Step 3) – After ten minutes, make a big ball and wrap it in a cling film. Let it rest for 15/30 minutes. The cling film is usefull not to dry out the dough and let it go crusty around the edges while rolling it.
How to Make Homemade Pasta Dough in a Stand Miker
You can choose to knead by hand as in teh steps above or you can use a stand mixer (we recommend kitchenaid stand mixer). in this way you save time and effort, as homemade pasta must be kneaded for a long time and with a lot of energy. For a good result of fresh pasta you will need to use the spiral dough hook that is perfect for kneading pasta dough. It is commonly used in first and second speed.
So pour the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and start mixing with the spiral dough hook at speed 1. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix for 5-6 minutes until the mixture is smooth, but not compact. Now increase the speed to 2 and knead for another 5-6 minutes, until you get a ball.
Turn off the machine, take the ball and knead it by hand for 1 minute. Put it back in the bowl of the mixer and knead it again for 2 minutes at speed 1. Now take the ball and wrap it in cling film, then let it rest for at least 15/30 minutes.
How to Roll Fresh Pasta with a Pasta Maker
Step 4) – First make sure that your pasta maker machine is clamped firmly to a clean surface. We opted for the Imperia pasta maker machine to roll fresh pasta, maybe the most famous pasta maker machine in Italy. This kitchen tool is equipped with both a wood grip handle, to roll out the dough manually, and a two speed motor attachment.
That said, dust your work surface with some flour, using NOT THE “OO” FLOUR but THE DURUM WHEAT FLOUR, that’s important. Take a lump of pasta dough the size of a tennis ball and press it out flat with the palms of your hands.
Step 5) – Roll the lump of pasta dough through the widest setting of your pasta machine. Remember to dust the pasta dough with durum wheat flour if you feel it’s becoming sticky.
Step 6) – Fold the pasta dough in half and then again in half.
Step 7) – Then (again) roll the lump of pasta dough through the widest setting of the pasta machine. Repeat the process for 3/4 times (roll-fold-roll). You have to work the dough till it’s smoother.
Step 8) – Now you can start to roll the dough through all the remaining settings of your pasta machine, from the widest to the narrowest. We have noticed that the second-last setting is ideal as a thickness for homemade pasta like tagliatelle, tagliolini, pappardelle and even lasagna (about 1 millimeter). If you’re making a stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini, you’ll need to roll it down slightly thinner. If the strip of fresh pasta is too long, divide it in half.
Step 9) – So now you have long strips of fresh pasta that you can use for different types of pasta. Let’s see which ones.
For lasagna sheets, roll out the dough until you have a long strip of 1 millimeter thick. Then cut it into 2/3 rectangular pieces. Now the lasagna sheets are ready. Do not forget to dip them 1 minute in boiling salted water and let cool and dry on kitchen towels before using them for your lasagna recipe.
How to Make Tagliatelle/Fettuccine
And now here is the “problem”: what is the difference between tagliatelle and fettuccine?
Well, we would say almost no one. The difference lies only in the width of the pasta strips, although there is not always agreement on the measures. Fettuccine must have a width smaller than tagliatelle.Fettuccine can vary from 3 to 5 mm while tagliatelle between 6 and 10 mm. The recipe and the method are exactly the same for both.
Roll out the dough following the instructions of the recipe above until it reaches a thickness of about 1 mm (which with Imperia pasta maker machine is the second-last settings). Then pass the sheet of dough (which you have previously floured) through the blades used to make tagliatelle.
How to make Tagliolini
Roll out the dough until it reaches a thickness of about 1 mm. As for tagliatelle, every pasta maker machine has a useful tool for making tagliolini. Therefore, flour the sheet of dough and pass it through the blades of your machine. Tagliolini usually have a width ranging from 1 to 2 mm.
How to make Pappardelle
Pappardelle are the biggest long fresh pasta you can make at home. They have a width of more than 1 cm so you can make them by hand. So roll out the dough until it reaches a thickness of about 1 mm then roll it on itself and with a sharp knife, cut it into strips of dough, same width if possible. With this method you can even make tagliatelle and fettuccine. It always depends on the width of the pasta strips.
- Tagliolini 1-2 mm
- Fettuccine 3-5 mm
- Tagliatelle 6-10 mm
- Pappardelle 1-3 cm
How to Roll Fresh Pasta by Hand
Take a piece of dough and with your hands make a ball, the size of a tennis ball. Flatten it with your hands to give it a disc shape. Then roll out the dough on the work surface, always well floured with the DURUM WHEAT FLOUR, with the help of a rolling pin. Start always from the center, sliding it in all directions in order to obtain a pasta sheet of uniform thickness. Keep to roll out the dough until it reaches a thickness of about 1 millimeter.
For a classic pasta cut such as tagliatelle, tagliolini and pappardelle, roll up the pasta sheet starting from the flap facing down, without pressing.
Then, with a long and sharp knife, cut the pasta into strips of 1-2 millimeters for the tagliolini, about 1 cm for tagliatelle and 1-3 cm for pappardelle.
How to Make Homemade Pasta Without Eggs
If you want to make homemade pasta without eggs you must know that the method is similar to that of fresh egg pasta.
So in the well of the flour fountain add a pinch of salt and pour warm water (the amount of water must be about half the weight of the flour: 400 g (14 oz) of flour, 200 g (7 oz) of water). In place of the flour “00”, use only durum wheat semolina so you will get a pasta with more resistance to cooking.
With this type of dough you can get many types of pasta shapes, (orecchiette, corzetti, cavatelli, bucatini, trofie), which, in general, have the characteristic of being thick and therefore should not be drained al dente.
How to Store Homemade Pasta
Let pasta dry on a special drying rack or make some nests with your hands and place them to dry on a tray. Either way, if you don’t cook the pasta immediately, store for 1/2 days in the refrigerator (not more).
You can even freeze Italian fresh pasta in the various chosen formats. For example, you could make tagliatelle and freeze them, so they will be ready to be cooked whenever you want. Here’s how to do it: arrange them in nests and place them on a tray – that you have previously covered with a little baking paper – with a distance of 1 inch between one nest and another. Then place the tray in the freezer. Wait 1/2 hours for the pasta to freeze. Now take the nests, which will be very stiff, and place them in a freezer bag. Close it with a knot and place them in the freezer. You can keep fresh pasta in a freezer for about 1 month.
When you want to cook them, don’t defrost but put them frozen in plenty of salted boiling water. This method applies to all types of fresh egg pasta, such as pasta sheets for lasagna (prepare them and freeze them on top of each other separated by sheets of baking paper), tagliatelle, tagliolini, quadratini, farfalle, ravioli and all filled pasta.
How to Cook Homemade Pasta
Fresh homemade pasta usually has a cooking time ranging from 2 minutes (for tagliolini) to 5 – 8 minutes for larger sizes.
The cooking (as for all types of pasta) must have these proportions: 1 liter of water, 100 g (3,5 oz) of pasta and 10 g (0,3 oz) of salt.
The proportion between water and pasta is essential to ensure that the starch contained in the flour can dissolve in the right amount of water without forming a saturated solution of starch, which would make the pasta sticky and not very digestible. When cooking fresh egg pasta, it may be useful to add a teaspoon of oil to prevent it from sticking.