Ever wondered how to make traditional Italian pasta by hand? Let Pasta Evangelists guide you as you become a sfoglina! This article outlines everything you need to make authentic fresh pasta at home.
When it comes to ingredients, making pasta is actually incredibly straightforward. All you need is flour, eggs and perhaps a dash of salt. No additives or preservatives are required!
Want to impress your friends and family, or throw your very own Italian dinner party? We’re sure you’ll find the art of pasta making both fun and rewarding. So let’s get started!
Setting up for success:
Making pasta by hand only requires a few tools: a rolling pin, a dough cutter, and a shaping tool for certain types of pasta. If you don’t have a shaping tool on hand, do not worry! Most pasta can be made using just a knife and some patience. If you fancy yourself as a true pastaio, we suggest you take a look at our range of pasta making kits. You also may have considered using a pasta rolling machine. While these do speed up the process, we prefer a more ‘hands-on’ approach, just like nonna does in Italy.
Which flour is best for making pasta?
We’re sure you’re aware that flour is a key ingredient in making fresh pasta. However, you may not know how important it is to choose the right flour. This is covered in considerable detail in our article ‘What Flour Should I Use for Making Pasta?’. While a wide variety of flours can be used in pasta making, we do recommend against using self-raising flour as the baking powder included in this flour will lead to undesired results when cooking your pasta.
Should you use eggs or water in your fresh pasta dough?
There are three main types of pasta used in el bel paese. Below we discuss the benefits of each.
Pasta all’uovo (traditional egg pasta)
This is the pasta type we will be making below, using both the egg white and yolk. We recommend starting with a traditional egg pasta. This could be the base for a filled pasta, but could also be spectacular as either a pappardelle or tagliatelle, paired with a delicious sauce of your choosing.
Pasta bianca (white pasta – pasta without egg)
Water replaces the egg in this style of pasta. Eliminating the eggs in the dough means there is less protein, which changes the texture and binding properties of the pasta. White pasta is used to make a variety of shapes, including orecchiette and strozzapreti. Avoid using white pasta for filled shapes like ravioli or tortelloni – it lacks the resistance of its eggy alternative and may fall apart!
Pasta al tuorlo d’uovo ( egg yolk pasta)
Using only the egg yolks creates a rich, golden dough with strong flavours. As the yolk is 48% water, 17% protein, and about 33% fat (compared to an egg white which is 90% water), the dough is stronger and produces silkier noodles. Again, avoid using this type of impasto for filled pasta shapes as it may fall apart during cooking.
Our recipe for fresh pasta
Watch as our Head Chef Roberta shows you how to make fresh pasta step-by-step. The full recipe is below.
Serves: 2-3 people
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 468 kcal
- 200g ‘00’ Flour (plus more for work surface)
- 2 large eggs
Chef’s Tip: The perfect ratio of eggs to flour is 1 egg for every 100 grams (this amount serves 1-2 people)
- Rolling pin
- Wooden board
- Pasta cutter or knife
Step 1: Making the dough
- On a clean marble or wooden work surface, pile the flour into a mound.
- Make a well in the centre of the mound large enough for the 2 eggs.
- Crack the eggs into the well.
- Beat the egg mixture with the fork, slowly pulling the flour from the sides of the well until the egg has all been absorbed by the flour. As the mixture thickens, start using your hands with a scrapper to continue incorporating the flour.
- If needed, drizzle a small amount of warm water and continue mixing until you have a ball of dough.
Step 2: Kneading the dough
- Clean the work surface of any excess flour or dough bits that never incorporated. Then lightly flour your clean work surface.
- Knead the dough by pressing the heel of one hand into the ball, keeping your fingers high.
- Press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you. The dough should stretch and roll under your hand to create a shell-like shape.
- Turn the dough over, then press into the dough with your knuckles, one hand at a time. This process should be carried out around 10 times.
- Make back into a ball and repeat the stretching and knuckling process, using more flour if needed to prevent any stickiness.
- Repeat the process for about 10-20 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky.
- Roll the dough into a smooth ball.
Step 3: Letting the dough rest
- Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.
- Let the dough rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature or up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
- If the dough has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before rolling and shaping.
Step 4: Rolling the pasta
- Lightly flour your surface.
- Shape the dough into a rough circle.
- With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough as you would with a pastry crust, starting in the centre and rolling away from you to the outer edge.
Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, until the sheet of dough is 1/8 inch thin or less. Scatter a small amount of flour on the dough whenever it starts to stick to the surface or the rolling pin. You now have your sheet of pasta dough!
Step 5: Choosing the right shape for your pasta
When it comes to pasta shapes, you really are spoilt for choice! Need a little bit of help narrowing down your options? We’ve put together several guides to help make a range of popular pasta shapes:
Step 6: Cooking the pasta
Now that you have fresh pasta, get your sauce of choice ready and your meal is 5 minutes away! As a side note - if you’ve been a little overzealous and made too much dough, check out our guide to storing fresh pasta.
Chef’s tip: Save ¼-cup of the pasta water to add to your sauce. The starch and salt in the pasta water adds flavour and helps thicken the sauce.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add a couple of pinches of salt.
- Add pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until al dente. Remember to always taste a piece first to ensure your pasta is cooked to perfection!
- Strain the pasta and mix with sauce. Shave some Parmigiano Reggiano on top and enjoy!
Don't forget to share your creation with us, tagging #pastaevangelists on Instagram. Want to compare your creation with our homemade tagliatelle? Try Pasta Evangelists for 10% off with code BLOG10 at checkout.