At Pasta Evangelists, we celebrate pasta not just for its flavour but for its freshness. Personally, we’re staunch advocates of making your own pasta. Once you have that first taste of indisputable freshness, you'll know it was worth the effort.
Our customers love having quality fresh pasta conveniently delivered to their door. That being said, we’re often asked for advice on making fresh pasta. It’s great that so many people still enjoy getting hands-on in the kitchen! Quite a few of the questions we receive are about the best way to dry fresh pasta before cooking. So here are some tips from our expert pasta chefs.
Why do you have to dry fresh pasta before cooking?
Some delicious, fresh tortelloni being made, prior to drying.
When making fresh pasta, your dough should be firm but malleable enough to form into your chosen shape. However, you may find the dough to be stickier than you'd anticipated. This is a sign that your pasta needs to be dried before it goes into the pan.
Drying your fresh pasta ensures that it keeps its shape. You might be a deft hand with a ravioli cutter, but if you don’t dry your fresh pasta properly, your filling may end up at the bottom of the saucepan. Even worse, you might end up with an unpleasant clump of pasta.
How long should you dry fresh pasta for?
This depends entirely on how long you can resist sampling the fruits of your labour. We’re going to assume you’re finding the temptation to be too much to resist! Therefore, we’ll start by outlining the best way to dry fresh pasta to be cooked straight away.
Once you’ve rolled out your dough, you will want to dry it before cutting it into noodles or shapes. This ensures that the dough is firm enough to be properly cut. Timing is key when drying fresh pasta. If you’re too impatient, you might end up grappling with some sticky dough. If you wait too long, however, your dough may start to crack as you cut it.
Place your dough on a flat and floured surface, this could be a baking tray or a countertop. Then sprinkle with flour and leave to dry for 15 minutes. Once you’ve cut your shapes, you leave the pasta for a further 15 minutes before adding it to boiling water.
We need to point out that the above doesn’t apply if you’re making a stuffed pasta shape such as ravioli or tortellini. Instead, you should cut and stuff your pasta dough before allowing it to dry. This ensures your pasta parcels seal properly, keeping those delicious fillings where they belong.
If you’re making long noodles such as tagliatelle, fettuccine or angel hair pasta, why not try drying your pasta in nests? Once you’ve cut your noodles, pick them up, twist them and twirl them into neat little coils.
Pasta nests aren’t just for presentation, they’re also a fantastic way to dry freshly-made pasta noodles!
One final tip before we move on: pasta dries best in warm environments, but try to avoid making pasta on particularly hot days. The added humidity in the air could cause your pasta to dry too quickly and crack.
Do you need a pasta drying rack?
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to invest in flashy equipment to make quality fresh pasta. Take drying racks for instance. Your house is full of suitable alternatives. Try hanging your freshly-cut pasta strands over a broom handle or the back of a chair. If you opt for the latter, cover the back of the chair with a tea-towel that’s been lightly dusted with flour.
How to dry fresh pasta for future use
Once you’ve made your pasta dough, spread it out onto a large piece of baking paper so it forms a single layer. For fresh egg pasta, allow around 30 minutes of drying time, before placing in the fridge for up to 24 hours before consumption. While filled pasta should be consumed as soon as possible, it can be frozen (for up to a month) for later use.
If you are drying pasta bianca (a dough made of simply flour and water), leave your pasta uncovered in a dry area for 12 to 24 hours, carefully turning it at regular intervals. A twelve-hour window seems a tad wide, but various factors can affect how long your pasta takes to dry. These can range from the temperature of the room to the thickness of the dough.
If you’d rather err on the side of caution, place an electric fan next to your pasta to ensure it dries evenly. Be sure to switch the fan onto a relatively low setting, for your electricity bill if nothing else!
Could you be a dab hand at making fresh pasta? Why not treat yourself or a loved one to one of our luxury pasta making kits? We’ve also got some exciting pasta masterclasses coming soon, which are ideal for any London-based foodies and pasta afficianadoes.
If you want to head straight to the end result, however, fear not! Every week we select an exquisite range of restaurant-quality pasta dishes to be delivered across the UK.Could we possibly tempt you with a glance at our weekly menu? Just to make our fresh pasta that extra bit enticing, we’re also offering our readers 10% off their first box when you use BLOG10 at checkout.