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Sunday
Mar302008

Pasta Fresca

My oldest son was home from college this weekend and I definitely wanted to fix a classic meat sauce for him, a bolognese sauce, which he loves. But which pasta to fix? I could make farfalle, which he likes a lot and holds the sauce well. But having him home just seemed to call for a fresh fettuccine, which is really a labor of love and the traditional pasta to accompany a bolognese sauce. It's easy to make and yet the time and effort you put into it seems to be a satisfying thing to do when you want to cook something special for someone.

I really love dried semolina pasta, but I have never found a dried fettuccine that I like. I have tried many brands and even the ones made with bronze dies. So when I want fettuccine, I prefer to make it by hand - fresh. I really hope that you try it. Make it on a Saturday or Sunday when you have lots of time and really enjoy the process. Pour yourself a glass of wine and have fun.

I must say, though, that in the years when I was first married and had a hand cranked Atlas pasta machine to roll the sheets out with, I did not make pasta as much as I do now. That is because I eventually bought a KitchenAid mixer and purchased the pasta roller attachments. To make fresh pasta now is a snap. The machine just basically cranks the rollers for you, instead of you doing it yourself. I had the standard mixer first and then a few years ago upgraded to the professional stand mixer, which can do a triple batch of dough for pizza or bread. A real work horse. This machine has been my partner in the kitchen and I really don't know what I would do without it. This weekend alone I used it to make pancake batter, make focaccia dough, grind meat for the bolognese sauce and make the fresh fettuccine. 


To make traditional pasta dough by hand, you only need flour and eggs. That's it. Sometimes recipes will tell you to add water, salt or olive oil, but you really don't need them. Water, I believe, makes the pasta gummy. Flour and good fresh eggs are all you need.   You usually mound the flour on the counter and make a well in the center and beat the eggs with a fork and start incorporating the flour, little by little. But I like to do this in my mixer now, with the dough hook. It really is the same action. I place some flour in the mixer bowl, break the eggs in the middle, attach the dough hook and start mixing. It does the same thing as when you start mixing by hand with a fork, only easier. If you have a KitchenAid mixer and the dough hook, try it.

I usually figure that 3/4 cup of flour and 1 egg will feed 2 people. That's my beginning measurement. But I always add more egg or just egg yolks, to make it richer. This weekend I tripled the recipe and used 2.25 cups of flour and 4 eggs plus one more egg yolk.  And if you remember my pizza post, when making doughs you add most of the flour to the wet ingredients and at the end slowly add only how much more flour the dough will take. This is a very important technique to know and you will use it whenever you make any kind of dough.

 


Fresh Pasta

Ingredients:

 

  • 1.5 cups Italian 00 flour or unbleached all purpose flour 
  • 2 eggs minimum (I always add a couple more eggs or egg yolks to make it richer - this is optional)

 

this makes about 4-5  servings

Instructions:
Mound 3/4 of the flour on counter or in mixer bowl. Make a well and break eggs in the center. Begin beating eggs with a fork or, using dough hook, start mixing. When most of the flour has been incorporated, begin adding the rest. Only add as much as the dough will take. You want a firm dough, not sticky, but not completely dry. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

 

Cut off a third of the pasta dough and, using the roller attachment, being to roll out dough. Start at #1 on the roller attachment. Keep dusting the dough with flour so the dough won't stick. When the dough comes out, fold into thirds and put it back through the rollers. Do this several times. The dough will become very soft. Dust the dough again with flour and move the rollers to #2. Put the dough through again.


I put the dough through twice at every number. Keep going until you reach #5. Put the dough through this number once. The dough strip will be very long. Place on floured counter and cut into 10 inch lengths. Place on floured towel to dry out for about 10 minutes before cutting. Do this with the remaining dough.

Switch to the fettuccine attachment and run dough strips through the cutters. Mound the fettuccine in little "nests" on a floured towel to dry out.


 

After about 10 minutes, fluff the nests so the fettuccine doesn't stick together. Do this a few times and then leave the pasta alone, because it becomes brittle as it completely dries.

You can leave the pasta on this floured towel until you are ready to use it.  Marcella Hazan says she even stores hers in airtight containers after it is completely, thoroughly dried.

By the way, if you are interested in fresh pasta, this month's issue of Saveur magazine is about Classic Pasta - how to make it by hand and how to make a good bolognese sauce. The recipes are diverse - every good Italian cook has their version. It's a beautiful issue.


 

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Reader Comments (30)

i'm gonna do it
i'm buying the KA attachment

very soon

this is long overdo

again, love your post

thanks...

April 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercook eat FRET

Your pasta dish looks so delicious! Nothing better than homemade. Your KA is bad to the bone!!!!

April 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterProud Italian Cook

CEF: Do it! You will love it. I also roll out sheets and they make the best lasagna noodles. But that's another post....

April 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthe italian dish

Okay...I am convinced. I have a workhorse of a KA myself and the pasta attachments I bought are in the boxes in the garage!

Time to make the pasta. Your post is extremely informative. Have bookmarked it.

Thanks, great post!

April 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrOrph

ok - i did it
on ebay
kitchen aid attachment rollers - sheets, fettucine and linguini

retailed for $140 or so i got em for $81 all up and brand new...

we shall see...

April 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercook eat FRET

Your son is extremely lucky to have you. Going to such trouble to make something special.

Just found your wonderful site today. I am going to take my first stab at homemade pasta...I have the Atlas hand crank. I'm just wondering if whole wheat flour would work the same. Please e-mail me at jacqmills@comcast.net

thanks!

Jacquelyn

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I bought the KA Attachements about 3 months ago and have not bought store dry pasta since.

I love making fresh pasta

Great article

Bianca

July 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHouse Sword and Sail

Nice! I have a GreenStar with a Pasta attachment that I haven't used yet. I wonder if it is similar. I am going to have to try this on the weekend. Mmmmm Mmmmm good. I can't wait to try it.

August 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRawket Food

I've had a Kitchenaid for 10 years that, like you, I use up to four times a day. I've been wanting the pasta roller forever! About the same amount of time i've been wanting a food processor. I have to process things in the blender. I just keep forgetting to get them!

August 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterI Love Baby Quilts!

I bought the Kitchen Aide pasta maker and roller sets for my daughter and I for Christmas. After making hand rolled raviioli for years...NEVER AGAIN! I can make ravioli by the thousands now! Thanks for the link for the bolognese sauce!

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Have wanted a good recipe/step by step description to use my recently purchased pasta roller - got it half price, now I have no excuse not to use it ! thanks for a simple sounding recipe

February 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermardi/nz

OMG
They should include your tutorial in the box with the kitchenaid attachments.
Thanks for your help :)

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTony

can you share the bolognese recipe? it looks amazing! love your blog!

June 9, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterL

From The Italian Dish:

L: Thanks! You can find the bolognese sauce in the recipe index. Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/2edb96d

June 9, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I just love your site, I have written a couple of times, I am looking for stuffed Squash Flowers I looked on your recipes and could not find one. don't ever leave the internet with your recipes I just love you
Carmella

July 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarmella

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I received my pasta attachments for Christmas and have attempted to make fresh pasta a number of times. My cut pasta was always too gummy. None of the other recipes I tried explained in such detail about dusting with flour so much. I was always afraid to use too much. My dinner was perfect thanks to you!!! Your photos are beautiful too! I can't wait to try your other recipes.

July 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermrskey

From The Italian DIsh:

Mrskey: You made my day! So glad you are making fresh pasta and enjoying it! Keep it up.

July 29, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I just stumbled across your blog (thanks CNN)! I make homemade pasta but I was never quite sure what to do with pasta sheets for lasagna. Do you cook them first? Any advice would be appreciated. Gotta run and go get some tomatoes from the farmers market ~ trying out your roasted tomato soup recipe! Thanks!

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

I'm new to and enjoying your site very much. I've had an Atlas pasta machine for a number of years and it works great, there's nothing like homemade paste. Usually I make my dough in the food processor using a Lydia Bastianich recipe and I have made it by hand in a cooking class. I will definitely try this with the dough hook attachments on our mixer- never thought about doing it this way. Thanks.

September 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBobT

Another great post! What type of Kitchen Aid Mixer do you have? Been wanting one but know that the different models have pros and cons. What do you like about yours? Is there anything you would change? Etc?

October 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKara

From The Italian Dish:

Kara: I have the Professional 600 Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer. I used to have the smaller Artisan mixer. Both are great KitchenAid mixers. I upgraded to the 600 because I wanted to do bigger batches of dough. The downside is that this big mixer doesn't do small things well, e.g., it can't whip up just 1 cup of whipping cream very well. For this, I bought a little handheld mixer to do the really small batches, but that's rarely a problem. Both mixers are great - if you don't do huge batches of stuff like I do, just get the Artisan, it's cheaper. All the various attachments fit on both machines.

October 20, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

When you fold the pasta sheets into thirds, dumb question, but do you fold to make a short sheet or a skinny sheet? I just attempted my first batch, and found that folding (top to middle and bottom to middle) ended up making a sheet too wide to go through the machine. So does it matter which way it's folded and goes through the machine?

January 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

From The Italian Dish:

Donna: When you fold the sheets and they are too wide to go through, just turn them and put them in by the narrower end. It really doesn't matter which way you fold them and how they go in. You just want to pass them through so the dough gets softer. After you have done that a few times in setting #1, make sure the last time you pass it through it's the width you would pretty much like . It will get a little wider the next setting. Hope this helps.

February 10, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I make homemade pasta but I was never quite sure what to do with pasta sheets for lasagna.
club penguin cheats

July 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I love your blog and have tried several of your recipes with great success. Thank-you so much. I would like to try to make fresh pasta and was wondering how long you cook it for?

September 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

From The Italian Dish:

Heather: Fresh pasta cooks very quickly. Plunge it into boiling water and then cook it for about 3 minutes. Done! Enjoy.

September 1, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

I am making "Pici" today which we eat everytime we are in Siena and this past summer I actually bought the "pici" rolling pin in Montipulciano!!! I am going to use this recipe and will love the fact that I will be using my Kitchen aide to make the the pasta dough!! Thanks again, since discovering your great site about a week ago it has been my "go to" for information and recipes!!!

September 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAntonette

Someone asked if you should place the pasta sheets in boiling water to make lasagna or can you use it right after you make it them? I didn't see a response. I would like to know too. Thanks so much

October 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGail

From The Italian Dish:

Gail: Yes, you boil the lasagna noodles for just a minute or two in order to use them. Thanks for asking!

October 3, 2011 | Registered Commenter[Elaine]

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