Pasta Perfection

April 17th, 2018

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Have you ever wondered why the pasta at NYC’s best Italian restaurants is so much better than anything you can make at home? Why are their noodles so much tastier than anything you can buy at the store? Because it’s fresh of course! With a little bit of know-how, you can make your very own restaurant-quality pasta. You’ll impress your friends, satisfy yourself, and most importantly have a grand time making it. It’s easier than you think!

Grab Your Gear

You can create homemade pasta with nothing more than a rolling pin and a knife, but it’s way easier if you use a pasta machine. You can pick a decent one up on Amazon for under $50. A good pasta machine will make the rolling and the cutting of your dough way quicker and easier. If this is your first time making fresh pasta, it also helps to have an extra pair of hands. It’s so much easier to feed your dough into the machine when you’ve got a pasta buddy.

Choose the Right Ingredients

Pasta really isn’t complicated, all that is required is a few basic ingredients. You probably have them lying around your kitchen right now.
  • 2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling the pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
That’s it!

Make Your Dough

You can use a mixing bowl for this part, or you can make it ‘Italian Grandmother Style’. That means you mix your dough right on your countertop. If you’ve got a lot of countertop space, and don’t mind a little extra cleanup, this is the most authentic way to make it. Just be sure your countertop is really and truly clean! Start by whisking together your flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Once they're combined, carve out a small opening in the middle. This little ‘well’ is where your eggs will go. The next step is to crack your eggs into the well, and use a fork to beat them so that they slowly but surely combine with the flour and salt. There’s no need to rush this step;  gradually add flour into the eggs until the moist slurry starts to feel like dough. If you’ve been mixing the flour in a bowl, it’s time to move it to the counter. Begin kneading your dough on the counter, folding it in on itself while incorporating any remaining flour into the mixture. If your dough starts sticking to the counter, add a bit more flour. Once you feel that you’ve fully kneaded your dough, slice into it with a knife. If you see lots of air bubbles, you need to keep kneading. Once your dough has very few bubbles, you’re ready for the next step. shutterstock_261246989

Let it Rest

Just like most breads, your pasta dough needs to rest. Put it back in your mixing bowl and cover with some saran wrap or a dinner plate. Give it about 30 minutes. When you come back to it, you’ll see that it’s increased in size. shutterstock_706055893

Cut it Up

Take your risen dough out of your mixing bowl and move it to a flour-sprinkled baking sheet. Cut it into four equally sized portions and make sure everything gets a nice dusting of flour. The flour will help prevent your dough from sticking to you or to your tools while you roll it out. If things start getting gummed up, just add a little more flour. shutterstock_529023181

Bring in the Machine

Now it’s time to bust out your pasta making machine. Bolt it gently to the counter and set it on it’s thickest setting. This is generally marked “1” on conventional pasta machines. Flatten one of your dough quarters into a thick disk before feeding it into the machine. Your dough will come out elongated and stretchy. Go ahead and feed it through the roller twice more before folding it in your hands. Imagine the dough is a letter, and you’re folding it up to stuff it in an envelope. Run it crosswise through the rollers twice more. Now it’s time to adjust your machines settings. Continue putting the dough through the machine, adjusting it thinner each time. If you’re making linguine or fettuccine, you want your pasta “thinness” to be at around 6 or 7. You’ll need to go thinner if you’re making angel hair, or other more delicate pastas. shutterstock_387069565

Time to Cut

If you’re making a filled pasta like ravioli, you can put the machine away and cut the desired shapes from your dough. If you’re making long noodles, simply adjust your pasta machine accordingly and run your dough through. Your perfectly formed noodles will spool out the other end. shutterstock_541863505

Cook It!

At this point, some folks like to freeze or even dry their pasta. After going through all the trouble of making your pasta fresh, we strongly recommend you cook it now. It’ll never taste better than it does at this moment. Simply bring salted water to a boil and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Test your pasta to make sure it’s cooked to your desired consistency and then strain it, sauce it, and serve it. We promise, this pasta is better than anything you’ll find in a cardboard box or frozen bag! shutterstock_413989084