How to Make Pasta
Hi, my name is Kira Volpi and this is my guide on how to make pasta. Here I will show you the step by step process along with pictures and (Yummy!) the finished product. 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 use only egg yolks. 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.
Semolina and All Purpose Flour Pasta Dough:
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
How to Make Pasta Instructions:
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.
When the pasta dough becomes pasty you can dig in with your hands. Keep adding a little extra flour handy to keep it from sticking to your hands or to the surface. Or even a little bit of water if it's too dry.
How to make Pasta "The Kneading Process":
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 spending 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 one hour or put it into a plastic bag. The pasta dough should rest for about an hour or as long as 3 days. You must remove it and allow the pasta dough to get to room temperature before you roll it out though.
While that's sitting let's talk about how to make pasta with only 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 dough.
- 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 to 3 eggs (I used three)
- 1 tsp olive oil
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.
Apply the same technique in the how to make pasta instructions section 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:
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!
- 1 ½ 100% semolina flour
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2-3 Eggs (I used two)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
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.
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. 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 a 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 with a Pasta Maker:
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.
Then 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.
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.
Below are some GREAT recipes on how to make pasta with different flavors and even different techniques. So kiss your low-carb diet good bye and dive right in and make a few recipes!
BASIL FLAVORED PASTA DOUGH:
Serve it with Garlic pasta for a traditional Hay & Straw Pasta dish.
CHOCOLATE PASTA RECIPE:
With a warm strawberry sauce. An amazing dessert with a little heat!
EGG PASTA RECIPE
A traditional pasta from the Le Marche region in Italy. Get your Italian Grandmother muscles going!
ROASTED GARLIC PASTA DOUGH
A roasted garlic lovers dream. Guaranteed to ward off Italian Vampires!
LEMON FLAVORED PASTA RECIPE
The perfect flavored pasta for a summer Italian meal.
PORCINI MUSHROOM FLAVORED PASTA DOUGH
A rich and earthy foodie pasta full of flavor.
SPINACH FLAVORED PASTA DOUGH RECIPE
My first attempt at making a flavored pasta. A wonderful mistake.
TOMATO FLAVORED PASTA DOUGH
Locatelli and Tomatoes add a delicious combination of flavors!
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.
Vivere, Amare, Ridere e Mangiare Bene
Live, Love, Laugh and Eat Well!
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