Fresh egg pasta dough is easy to make and tastes amazing! The eggs give the pasta this great bite and chew which you don’t get in dried pasta. So, clear out an afternoon (or at least a couple of hours), because it’s time for you try your hand at making fresh pasta!
Yes, a couple of hours. I said it was easy to make. I didn’t say it was quick. 🙂 There’s mixing, resting (that’s an hour by itself, but you can rest too!), then rolling and cutting. You can use machines for all or part of the process or do it all by hand.
For home pasta making, I would suggest making the dough by hand. It’s not difficult and will give you a feel for the pasta. In fact, I always mix and knead the dough by hand.
Make your own homemade pasta dough! I have an easy recipe and illustrated step by step instructions on how to make fresh egg pasta.
- 2 cups (10 oz) all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Measure the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into the well.
Using a fork, begin working the flour into the eggs. Once you have about half of the flour mixed in, add the water and oil. Continue working the ingredients together with your fork until most of the flour has been mixed with the eggs but the mixture still looks dry and flaky.
Turn out the flour mixture onto a large board. Begin kneading the dough, working all the dry bits into the dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and soft and elastic. If the dough seems too dry after a couple of minutes of kneading and you still have dry flakes of dough, add a little more water, a few drops at a time, until you can incorporate all the flour. If the dough is sticky after a few minutes of kneading, add more flour by lightly dusting the board and working that flour in.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 40 minutes - 1 hour. Divide the dough into 4-6 equal pieces. When you are ready to work with a piece dust it liberally in flour.
Set your pasta machine to the widest thickness setting. Take your piece and flatten it into a rough rectangle. Then run it through your pasta machine. Fold the piece over into a rectangle again and dust it with more flour. Run it through again. Then fold and dust and run it through one more time. Give the piece another dusting and start reducing the thickness of the machine. Run the piece through each thickness until your pasta is the thickness you want. On my Atlas pasta machine, I usually bring the pasta down to level 7. If I am making ravioli, I use either thickness 8 or 9. Repeat for the remaining pieces.
Take your piece of dough, flatten it into a rough rectangle, and roll out until doubles in size. Fold it over, shape it into a rectangle again, dust it with more flour, and begin rolling it out. When rolling by hand, just do the folding once or the dough can become difficult for you work. Start rolling from the center of the dough; roll it out to one side and then other. Frequently flip the dough over and keep the rolling surface dusted with flour. Continue rolling until your dough is as thin as you want it, usually about 1-2 mm (~1/16").
Once you have all your dough rolled out, it's time to cut the pasta to size. Start cutting with the first piece you rolled out since that one will have had a chance to dry out a bit. If you are using a machine, you can choose from different cutting blades. I used a wavy fettuccine blade for the pasta I made today. When using a cutting blade, carefully feed the strip of pasta dough into the blade and gather it up on the way out. But you can also cut by hand. Pappardelle is a very easy wide noodle to cut by hand. Simply roll up a piece of pasta into a loose tube. Then cut into 1-2 inch wide noodles. Or you can make maltagliati, which is even easier. Take your strip of pasta dough and cut it into rough rectangles and triangles, about 1 1/2 inches wide. Just be careful to dust everything with flour so your pasta doesn't stick together.
Cooking the pasta
Fresh pasta cooks quickly! Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook the pasta for about 3 minutes. Reserve some of the pasta water for the sauce and drain the pasta. Proceed according to your dinner recipe.
- I often (but not always) cut the strips of rolled out pasta dough in half since they can get quite long.
- Though a lot of online tutorials show perfect rectangles of pasta all rolled out and ready to be cut, I never trim my pasta sheets. I worked hard for that pasta and I'm going to use it all. It's up to you if you want to trim the pasta sheets or not.
- If you are not using all your pasta in one day, it can easily be frozen. Take your cut pasta and curl it into rough bundles, about 8 bundles per pound of pasta, and lay them on a baking sheet covered with wax paper. Put them in the freezer. When frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. Cook the pasta right from the freezer into the hot water. Your pasta may take an extra minute to fully cook.
- I made hand cut pappardelle for my Braised Pork Shoulder Ragu and maltagliati for my Spicy Italian Arrabbiata Sauce.
- For fresh pasta you will need at least a rolling pin - I like a French Rolling Pin, and a stable board you can dust with flour, such as a Pastry Board. If you are interested in using some machinery, I have an Atlas Pasta Machine. (The machine comes with a basic pasta cutter included, and there are a number of attachments you can purchase separately.) If you want to automate the process, and have a KitchenAid mixer, you can use a KitchenAid Pasta Attachment. This attachment is very similar in design to the Atlas machine; however, there is no hand cranking required.