Back to Basics: Fresh Pasta Dough
Making pasta from scratch is a labor of love. It’s fun to make, tastes better than dried pasta, and you know the exact ingredients used. I have fond memories of sitting on my Nonna’s kitchen counter watching her carefully make a flour well, fill it with eggs, and turn the dough into yummy pasta for dinner. This simple pasta dough recipe is a perfect base for all types of pasta, from spaghetti to ravioli.
Basic Pasta Dough
Author: Pasta Ragazza
– 3 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more flour as needed
– 4 eggs and 1 yolk
– 1/4 cup of olive oil
– 1 tablespoon of cold water
– Pinch of salt
1. Make a flour well. On a clean, dry surface (countertop, pastry board, whatever), use the flour to form a well with an 8-inch wide center. You definitely don’t want to make the center too small, or the wet ingredients will overflow.
2. Add eggs, olive oil, ice water, & salt. Add the wet ingredients and salt to the center of the well, making sure there aren’t any shells before you mix the ingredients.
3. Mix the dough. Use a fork to beat the eggs, oil, & water within the well, slowly incorporating the flour. Be careful not to break the wall of the well, or else the eggs will run out and make a mess. As you continue to add more flour from the sides of the well, the mixture will start to thicken.
4. Knead! Take your lumpy mixture and start to knead it into a smooth dough. You will need to put your weight into this part and dig the heels of your palms into the dough, while trying to stretch it, and not tear it. After about 15 minutes of kneading, your dough should look velvety and smooth.
5. Cover & wait. Once you have a nice smooth ball of dough, wrap it in cellophane (or cover it with a kitchen towel) and let the dough rest for an hour. Letting your dough rest is really important, as it allows the dough to hydrate more and the gluten to develop its network.
6. Roll out your dough. Take your well-rested dough ball and cut into four pieces, setting one aside. Take a rolling pin and flatten the dough, keeping the thickness and width as even as you can.
7. Roll thinner. Once your four pieces are flattened with the rolling pin, use your machine’s widest flat roll setting (0 or 1) and crank the four pieces through the machine a couple times each. Continue to pass the flattened sheets through thinner settings until your pasta is as thin as desired.
8. Cut. At this point, you can can use your flattened sheets to make lasagna, or cut them for noodles, tortellini, etc. For noodles, take your flattened sheets and individually pass them through the noodle cutter on your machine. Form the noodles into nests and dust them with flour.
9. Mangia! Boil salted water and throw the pasta in for 60-90 seconds. Any longer than this will result is mushy pasta. Enjoy your al dente pasta with your favorite sauce!