How to Make Pasta
A Step by Step Guide
There are so many ways to make a fresh pasta dough and depending on what region of Italy you're from you might use eggs, you might only use semolina flour, some don't use olive oil and some no salt. If you're from the North of Italy you are more likely to have eggs in your basic pasta dough recipe and in the South it's semolina flour and water with a touch of salt. I try to cover all the choices so you can play around with the ones you prefer.
I'm also going to cover how pasta is manufactured, the nutritional facts of pasta and even how to eat spaghetti the "RIGHT" way. No slurping please!
Making a fresh pasta recipe is something to be respected, worth waiting for and spending time with. It's a time old tradition dating back to the first pasta manufacturing in the mid-twelve hundreds.
I remember the first time I tried to make a fresh pasta recipe. There was flour EVERYWHERE and because I don't do anything the easy way, (anyone who knows me can tell you that) I decided to make both Tomato Pasta recipe and Spinach pasta in the same day.
BTW: Did I tell you I didn't have a pasta maker machine at the time? Umm…Ya!
Not to mention the recipe I used was off. By the time I added in the extra flour to make the consistence right I ended up with enough home made pasta to feed the Roman Army. One of the reasons I test and make every recipe I post here.
So there I am with this enormous ball of basic pasta dough. I decided to make homemade fettucini, ravioli and tortellini then I invited a bunch of my friends over and we ate, laughed, drank great wine and had a PASTA PARTY.
There's always a happy ending when Italian Pasta recipes are involved.
I never thought of myself to be any good at baking and although technically making homemade pasta isn't baking it does involve flour, eggs and water. So in my mind how to make pasta fresh was, in some way, related to baking. Therefore I just assumed I wouldn't be any good at it.
However using a good homemade pasta recipe will, for the most part, make it very easy. Messy! But easy. Here is my collection of recipes that I've put together for your basic pasta doughs.
How to make pasta with a blend of Semolina and All purpose flour:
The following are the ingredients you'll be kneading. (HA HA!) I made a Pasta Funny.
Semolina flour is more course and makes the dough a little tough and leathery so for your first attempt I suggest you put together a blend of both flours to make it manageable and delicious.
- 1½ cups All purpose flour
- ¼ cup Semolina flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
Place flour in a pile in the center of a large cutting board or counter top and make a well in the center of the flour.
Crack the eggs into the center of the well and add the olive oil and salt. (see my flavored pasta link below to add delicious natural flavors to this step).
Take a fork and begin to beat the eggs and other ingredients right in the center of the well. Slowly mix in the flour as you blend and beat until the mixture is blended enough to dig in with your hands.
If this is your first attempt and you feel better putting the wet ingredients into a separate bowl and mixing and blending in the bowl first you can do that. Then pour the mixture into the well and begin blending together.
How to make Pasta "The Kneading Process":
When it becomes pasty you can dig in with your hands. Keep adding either extra flour handy to keep in from sticking or even a little bit of water if it's too stiff.
Once the ball of your basic pasta dough is firm and manageable you can begin kneading. This is a very important step to the process. It makes the dough tender. There is a technique to kneading homemade pasta dough. It's a process worth pending time with.
Start by taking the heel of your palm and rolling the dough out with your fingers pointed up.
Now take the dough and with your knuckles and both hands push your pasta dough back into the shape of a ball.
Then repeat rolling it out with the heel of your palm. Continue to do these steps for 10-15 minutes.
The more you knead the more flexible the pasta dough becomes when it rests. Put time into this step. It's worth it.
Now place the ball into a bowl and let is sit covered with a plastic wrap for about ½ to an hour or put it into a plastic bag. The pasta dough should rest for about an hour. It needs a break.
For that matter so do you so this is a good time to pour yourself a glass of wine!
While that's sitting let's talk about how to make pasta with All purpose flour.
How to make Pasta with All Purpose Flour:
This pasta dough recipe is easier to handle. The pasta dough is more tender and kneading the pasta dough is much easier. However, I've noticed when it comes to cutting the pasta with a pasta maker it tears a lot easier and it cooks much faster. If you're not careful it can become mushy. Try setting your pasta machine to make it a little thicker then you would Semolina Pasta.
This is also the best pasta dough recipe to make small delicate pasta shapes such as tropie pasta. I used it to make my trophie pasta with a zucchini, lemon zest pesto! Mama mia, it was so good.
- 1 ¾ cups All purpose flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 to 3 Eggs (I used three)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
Apply the same technique in the how to make pasta instructions above. You do have to let this pasta dough sit as well. 1 hour or more is fine.
How to Make Pasta with 100% Semolina Flour:
This is a delicious recipe for making homemade pasta and many say the only way to make a homemade pasta. It has a really rich flavor and to be honest with you, this is my favorite pasta dough recipe. Especially if you are making a hearty pasta shape, such as ziti or rigatoni. The pasta has a naturally course texture due to the coarseness of the flour itself. Grant it, it is a little more tough to deal with and knead but after it rests it should be very manageable.
- 1 ½ 100% semolina flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2-3 Eggs (I used two)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
No matter which pasta dough recipe I am using I always find I need to add either water or dough to the initial blend. So always keep your ingredients handy and always have a little water available to blend in.
Just like the instructions on how to make pasta with blended flours or the instructions on how to make pasta without eggs you will start with the semolina flour on a large cutting board or counter area to work your pasta dough. Create a well in the center of your pile of semolina flour so you can add the remaining ingredients in the well.
With a fork, slowly blend in the flour in towards the well until you have a paste like consistency and begin kneading.
I just moved to the country so of course now I am exposed to real farm fresh, free range chicken eggs and boy what a difference. This is a typical fall day and the perfect day to make pasta. Of course any day is a perfect day to make pasta as far as I'm concerned!
After I spend the time following the mixing and kneading instructions above I end up with my beautiful ball of freshly made semolina pasta dough. Look how rich and textured it looks now. Just wait till we shape it and or course eat it!
I let it sit for the appropriate hour or more and it is supple and ready to shape. I decided to make it into a fettucini pasta shape. I was making an fresh homemade marinara sauce recipe for some guests and wanted them to taste the fresh sweet sauce but didn't want them to miss out on the rich texture and taste of the homemade pasta.
Storing Homemade Pasta Dough:
You can store your homemade pasta dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days in a plastic bag if you want. Some say you can freeze it. I'm totally against that. I mean what's the purpose of making fresh food if you don't eat it fresh?
You can also roll out your pasta dough and cut it and or shape it. After shaping your pasta, dust it with flour. Cover and seal it in an air tight container so it doesn't dry out. This is good for up to 24 hours.
How to make Pasta Shapes using your Pasta Maker Machine:
If you don't have one of these, well all I can tell you is: "If you're going to spend anytime using my guide on how to make pasta I strongly suggest getting one." They aren't expensive at all and they will make your project a breeze.
Start with a basic one and if you love the idea of making homemade pasta then invest in the rolls royce Kitchen aid pasta maker.
Roll out the dough to a ½ inch thick blob. (It's the only word I could think of.)
Keeping it in a square shape as much as possible.
Cut the dough into three to four inch squares. It doesn't have to be an exact science.
Set the pasta maker to the highest setting and run the dough through 2 times. Keep doing that as you lower each setting.
I typically don't go lower then a number two or number three setting for Semolina pasta.
I Use a number three setting for the all purpose flour pasta dough recipe because it's more delicate.
However, if you are using your pasta dough recipe to make a stuffed pasta, you can make it thinner.
Your final run will be cutting it with the pasta maker machine to make fettucini or spaghetti.
If you are making a pasta shape you roll out the dough in the pasta machine and use a ravioli maker or ravioli cutter. More on this step soon!
Cooking your fresh pasta:
Cooking pasta when it's freshly made is totally different then cooking dried pasta you'd buy in a box at the grocery store. Dried pasta, depending on the pasta shape and how think it is, could take up to twenty minutes to cook it al dente. (to the tooth).
But try that with a fresh pasta dough and you'll end up with flour soup. Yuk!
Cooking pasta when it's fresh is simple and fast!
Just toss in the pasta dough, wait about a minute or two and watch it float to the top.
For step by step instructions on how to cook pasta perfectly every time be sure to check out my cooking pasta page.
"Making a homemade pasta recipe is easy, fun and delicious." I tried all kinds of flavored pasta doughs and found myself wanting to come back for more.
Try my Dad's Hay and Straw pasta and use a Garlic pasta recipe to really make the flavor pop!
Make a Basil pasta and even Lemon flavored pasta which you can serve as Shrimp Scampi pasta on top.
One of my all time favorite ravioli recipes is my famous (in my own mind) porcini mushroom pasta recipe. You can fill it with Ricotta cheese or a blend of Chicken and mushrooms.
Holy macaroni doesn't that sound good? Or you can make a spaghetti out of it and saute it with a simple Alio Olio sauce so you can really taste the flavor of the porcini mushrooms.
You can see all the step by step pictures of how to make pasta with each flavor here on this site.
It's a "How to make Pasta" Utopia!
Craving more pasta?
PASTA NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Pasta not only tastes great but it's good for you too!
Now you can learn how to eat spaghetti just like an Italian!
How to make Pasta Shapes:
Get creative with your pasta dough recipe.
More Pasta Dough Recipes:
Serve it with Garlic pasta for a traditional Hay & Straw Pasta dish.
CHOCOLATE PASTA WITH WARM STRAWBERRY SAUCE
Read how to make pasta into an amazing dessert with fresh whipped cream, strawberries, the perfect amount of heat and a sprig of mint!
EGG PASTA RECIPE
A traditional pasta recipe from the Le Marche region in Italy. Get your Italian Grandmother muscles going!
GARLIC PASTA RECIPE
A Garlic lovers dream come true. Guaranteed to ward off Italian Vampires!
LEMON PASTA RECIPE
The perfect flavored pasta for a Summer Italian Meal.
I don't want to leave you hungry!
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