Making homemade pasta is both fun and rewarding. It’s a great bonding activity with the family. And, of course, any activity that means a delicious dinner afterwards is most welcome!
How is Pasta Made at Home?
Yes, buying store-bought noodles is more convenient than making pasta from scratch. But I do urge you to try it when you have time.
Homemade noodles only need simple ingredients and tools. And if you have a pasta maker machine, the procedure couldn’t be any easier.
Here’s a homemade pasta making guide to get you started from start to finish!
Ingredients for Making Homemade Pasta
You might have read different fresh pasta dough recipes. But let’s focus on the most basic version with only four ingredients:
- 240g (2 cups) all-purpose or plain flour, levelled
- ½ tsp salt
- Three large eggs, approximately 60g each
- ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
This homemade pasta recipe should make about 430g of fresh dough, which you can easily double if you want. Now, let’s highlight the role of each key ingredient in your pasta.
- Flour is the main component that makes homemade noodles chewy and bouncy. Some say that “00” or semolina flour is best when making homemade pasta. But it can be expensive. Plain or all-purpose flour is a good and cheaper alternative.
- Salt gives your dough flavour. Make sure to cook your pasta noodles in well-salted water, too.
- Eggs give your fresh pasta dough moisture and richness.
- Olive oil also moistens the dough and works with the eggs by helping your dough come together.
Tools for Homemade Pasta Making
With your pasta ingredients ready, we now prep the tools needed to make it.
Some use parchment paper or marble as their work surface when making homemade pasta. But the thing is, these do not absorb excess moisture from the dough.
They will only make you use more flour to reduce dough stickiness. And too much flour will make your fresh pasta dough dry.
A wooden board is better as it has natural warmth and grain that contribute to a good pasta texture. The surface also provides better grip, resulting in a smoother dough.
Make sure not to use your everyday cutting board, though. Unwanted residues from it might seep into your dough.
Also, you might leave pieces of dough onto the existing cuts of your board, increasing the risk of bacterial growth.
Bowl or bench scraper
Even if you work on a floured surface, your dough can be too sticky at first. A bench scraper should help lift all those stuck-on bits.
You can also use the bench scraper for cutting your fresh dough into smaller pieces. The tool should give you better hand-grip and control than a knife.
A bench scraper makes clean-up easy, too. With it, you can remove dough and excess flour in one swoop.
Your rolling pin is not only for pizza making. It is also ideal for flattening your pasta dough thin enough to pass through the machine.
A rolling pin is also a good alternative for pasta rollers. And if you choose the rolling pin route, I recommend the French type for a good grip.
Electric or manual pasta roller
Is a roller machine needed for making homemade pasta? It is optional, but it will surely make the task less laborious and time-consuming.
This tool also has adjustable roller settings for uniform thickness — perfect for frequent pasta making.
Electric pasta rollers also come with all sorts of convenient features. Some have an extruder function, forming your dough into different pasta shapes.
But a manual or hand-cranked machine is just as good and functional. It’s best for making lasagne sheets and fettuccine.
Ravioli mould or pastry wheel
Some pasta makers can automatically shape and cut your dough sheets into delicious ravioli. But no worries if you only have a roller machine or rolling pin for making homemade pasta!
You can use a ravioli mould to keep your noodles evenly stuffed and shaped instead. A knife or a fluted pastry wheel should do the job, too.
A pastry wheel is like your pizza cutter. And its use is not limited to making stuffed pasta like ravioli. You can also use it for adding fluted edges to your fresh lasagne sheets, reginette and farfalle.
Pasta drying rack or screen
Air-drying or curing your fresh pasta before cooking allows the noodles to hold their shape and texture. So, for better results, consider adding a drying rack to your pasta-making toolset.
A rack is ideal for hanging long pasta strands like tagliatelle and pappardelle. Alternatively, you can also form long noodles into bundles and put the pasta nests on a drying screen.
A screen is also perfect for drying smaller pasta types like ravioli and tortellini. If you love making stuffed pasta like these, having reusable pastry bags in your repertoire is best, too.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of homemade pasta making, you can step things up and make gnocchi next!
The ridges on your potato pasta dough are not all about aesthetics. They also work as sauce catchers to make every bite more delectable!
But a gnocchi board can do more than gnocchi. You can use the same tool for making cavatelli, garganelli and malloreddus from scratch.
Steps for Making Pasta from Scratch
Ready to test your pasta-making skills? Here’s my easy step-by-step guide.
1. Mix your ingredients
Mix your flour and salt on your wooden board. Then form a flour mound and create a well in the centre. Put your eggs and oil here.
Next, use a fork to beat the eggs while bringing the flour mixture toward the well. Continue doing this until a shaggy dough starts to form.
You can also dump your ingredients into an automated pasta machine and let it do the mixing for you.
2. Knead your dough
Gather your shaggy dough together and start kneading with the heels of your hands. A bench scraper should help make this process easier.
If it feels too wet and sticky, sprinkle the board with some flour, then knead again. If it’s too dry, wet your hands with water, then continue kneading.
It should take about 10 minutes for your homemade pasta dough to become smooth. You can also use a stand mixer with a dough hook for this step.
When ready, wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap. Let it rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
3. Roll out your dough
While your dough rests, set up your pasta workstation. Prep your rack or floured baking sheet for drying and have a small bowl of extra flour for dusting.
Then, bring out your rolling pin and electric or manual pasta roller. Next, unwrap your dough and use your bench scraper to cut it into four pieces.
Form the pieces into a ball. Keep them covered with a kitchen towel.
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough ball into an oval disk. Then run it through the widest setting of your pasta roller.
Before feeding it back to the machine, fold its short ends to the centre and then half lengthwise. This tip will make your pasta sheet more rectangular – perfect for creating long pasta strands.
Continue rolling out the rest of your dough.
4. Cut your pasta sheets
At this point, you can cut your pasta into strips like pappardelle or into shorter lasagne sheets. You can also run the sheets through your pasta cutter if you like or make ravioli.
After cutting, I recommend curing or drying the pasta noodles for a few minutes. This extra step helps preserve their shape during cooking.
You can also store your fresh pasta strands for cooking later. Put the air-dried pasta noodles in a resealable bag or airtight container. Then keep them in the fridge for up to 1 day or freezer for up to 8 months.
5. Cook your pasta
Fill your pasta pot with well-salted water. Ideally, use one with a strainer insert. Turn on your stovetop and heat the water to a simmering level.
Fresh pasta is fragile. So, make sure not to drop the pasta nests or sheets in boiling water. Cook your pasta noodles for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until you reach your desired chewiness.
Keep in mind that fresh pasta dough cooks faster than dried ones. After cooking, drain the excess water but save at least a cup of it.
Fresh noodles tend to absorb more pasta sauce. Adding a few tablespoons of starchy pasta water to your dish should prevent it from drying up.
Is Making Homemade Pasta Worth It?
Pasta from scratch can be intimidating for first-timers. But it is worth trying out for sure. For me, making food from scratch is super gratifying.
It’s also an excellent distraction that keeps me productive and active (aside from my rumbling tummy!).
Lastly, fresh pasta is wholesome, healthy, eco-friendly and a hundred times more delicious!