Don’t buy store bought pasta ever again. Trust me. Making it yourself is so much better, and it really doesn’t take a lot of time or effort. If you have a pasta roller machine or a Kitchenaid mixer, all the better. You can make just enough pasta for one meal, or make up a big ball of dough and freeze it, or… make a pile of pasta, dry it, and store it just like you would the stuff that comes in the cardboard box from the store. Which, coincidentally, most times the contents taste nearly as good as the box, don’t ask me how I know. Homemade pasta is just better!
So, let’s say you didn’t watch the video, or, you just like reading. It’s all good! I’ll go over in detail how to do everything in the video right here anyway!
There’s a few things you will need:
- At least one hand
- A bowl large enough to hold 8 cups of flour, no you don’t have to make that much, but you need room to work!
- Flour, I use whatever I have, but you can get fancy and use Semolina if you like.
- Eggs. Whatever size you have, fresher the better.
- Salt, for seasoning the water.
- Water, and a pot to put it in. Generally 1 gallon of water does enough pasta for 4 people.
- Rolling pin, pasta machine, or Kitchenaid attachment.
- A sharp knife.
- A wee bit of patience.
For this bit of instruction, I’m going to make about 12 ounces of pasta, which coincidentally is about how much comes in many manufacturer’s packages. It’s almost like I planned it that way.
To make this much pasta, you will need:
- 1.5 cups of flour (about 200 grams if you’re metrically inclined)
- 3 eggs. Don’t overthink it. Get three ovoids produced from a chicken (preferably) and you’re good to go here. Large, X-Large, Jumbo, white, brown, speckled, doesn’t matter, all the same on the inside… kinda like people.
- That bowl we spoke about earlier.
Here we go!
This might get a bit technical, so bear with me.
- Put the flour in the bowl. Still with me?
- Make a little hole with your fingers in the middle, the Italians call this a “well”.
- Crack all three eggs and put their contents in the well. You can discard those shells, they aren’t really part of the dough.
- Now, using your fingers, swirl the eggs, breaking up the yolks, and gathering a bit of flour at a time.
- Keep gradually letting the flour add itself to the mixture.
- Eventually, you can just use your hands and mix it all up, forming a rough dough. It should feel like it’s too dry, trust me.
- Dump the bowl out onto a work surface. Wood is good, granite, cutting board, countertops, whatever, just something with a couple cubic feet of workspace.
- Continue mixing the dough and try to work all the dry flour and bits and pieces into it.
- Keep going, trust me, it will all come together.
- Once you have it all together, now begin kneading.
Not sure how to knead dough? Well, you stretch it, pull it, fold it, essentially try to “activate” the gluten. You can see a video here of kneading dough: https://youtu.be/xhrfiM00ysQ , sorry, not our video, but I might make one just to show the technique!
Once the dough is smooth, you roll it out as thin as you can get it. Alternatively, use a pasta machine or the roller attachment on a Kitchenaid Mixer. We will be making tagliatelle so we want it pretty thin, maybe #6, or, light enough you can make it ripple by blowing on the sheet from the side (old Italian trick there).
Now it gets difficult to put into words properly, but I’ll try. Far be it for me to have a lack of words.
- Lightly dust your sheet of pasta
- Gently, and I mean gently roll it up into a tube, don’t press down, no pressure at all, just roll it.
- Got that knife handy? Good. Cut the tube into 1/2 inch pieces, you will end up with a 1/2 inch rolled up piece of dough.
- Unroll those pieces and get that water boiling.
Congratulations! You have now made homemade pasta!
Oh, you probably want to cook it too. Right. At this point, you can simply dry it, or freeze it too, to use at a later time.
I’d bring about a gallon of water to a boil for this much pasta, then add about… 3-4 tablespoons of salt. The Italians say to “make itta like a the sea” (that’s my best writing out of an Italian accent).
Put the pasta into the boiling water, a little at a time, then give a gentle stir, you don’t want them to stick together here.
Cook for… 6 minutes. I made that up. I cook it until it looks done to me. Fresh pasta literally cooks in just a few minutes. Six. I use that.
While the pasta cooks, watch for a foam over or protein break. They happen, and they ain’t pretty. Some of you know what I mean. I hope the rest of you never find out. By the way, I put some cheap olive oil, maybe a tablespoon or so into the water when I add the pasta, it keeps the foaming down… a little. No, it won’t make your pasta oily, damn old wive’s tales!
Now for the sauce.
Also while the pasta cooks, get out another bowl, sorry, forgot to mention that earlier. I like metal for this, but plastic or glass is fine too. Add about 1/2 -3/4 cup of good extra virgin olive oil. You’ll know the good stuff by doing this little trick:
Take a spoonful of the oil and put it in your mouth, swallow. If you get a peppery bite at the back of your throat, it’s the good stuff. If not, it will be fine, but won’t taste quite as good.
Add about a teaspoon of salt, sea salt or that pink Himalayan stuff works great here. Kosher salt is nice too. Most of us get enough iodine these days so you can skip the table salt. It won’t hurt you or anything, I just think it’s boring.
At this point, you have a choice to make.
Fresh or Dry herbs.
I won’t judge you either way, I promise.
I use basil, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. No, we don’t do the full Simon and Garfunkel here. Sorry sage, love you but not for this dish. Chop up those herbs and put them in the bowl.
Red pepper flake. Some like it hot… and some sweat when the heat is…. nevermind. Add as much red pepper flake as you like.
Add in some fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese. Yes, I said FRESH GRATED. This is a simple dish, with few ingredients, so each one should be awesome. The powdery crap in the green plastic can ain’t special. Save that for leftovers from Olive Garden.
Now, get 3 cloves of garlic, and smash them, dice them, make them into tiny bits. Put that in the bowl too.
This sauce will be cooked by the hot pasta. This is the best way to make a sauce, since you serve it right from this bowl too.
Oh, almost forgot, don’t put the parsley in the bowl. Keep it on the side. Garnish, it’s a thing.
At this point, the pasta is probably cooked, and floating on the top of the water. Don’t dump that into a colander. I will come to your house, and I will give you the stinkeye if you do. Colanders are evil and only suitable for rinsing vegetables and herbs.
You want that pasta water.
Use tongs, a pasta spoon, or whatever utensil you have that can remove pasta from hot water. Put the pasta right into that bowl, don’t worry if you get a bit of water in there. Mix well.
Seem dry? Add a tablespoon of the pasta water, maybe even 3.
Plate! Put some into a bowl that you think you can actually eat the entire contents of. Add a bit more cheese on top. Drizzle a few drops of good extra virgin olive oil on top of that, and add some of the chopped parsley.
That’s all there is to it. For pennies, you can make an amazing meal for the whole family.
Thanks for reading, hope you had fun, as I know I did.