Fresh Pasta, a Love Story

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I use dried pasta. But… fresh pasta is full out amazing. It can be life-changing food when done well.

Me and the kid decided to make a special dinner. Chicken broccoli Alfredo, a side of maple glazed rainbow carrots, and a round of garlic rosemary focaccia. We also decided to make fresh pasta, or pasta fresca, to add that extra something special.

For the record, the kid did most of the work on the pasta. I made the sauce and sides. Whenever you can, spend some time in the kitchen with the people you love and make some memories.

Variations on a Theme

Everyone seems to have their own personal spin on this recipe.

When I think Italian food, I think Marcella Hazan and the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. 1 cup of all-purpose flour and two eggs. Halve it, double it, or triple it.

Getting a bit more scientific, Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio advises 3 parts flour, 2 parts egg. If we say a cup of flour weighs about 4.5 oz (different flours weigh differently, I’m taking an average) and a large egg is about 1.5 oz, then we again basically have Marcella’s recipe with a more precise kitchen scale method at our disposal.

Gordon Ramsey though, for me, offers the best: 1 cup flour, 2 eggs, and an extra egg yolk. It’s Marcella Hazan plus a yolk and the result is like silk.

Remember, as is always the case, there will be a bit of art to all of this. Every egg is a slightly different size and flours vary from one to the next. Not to mention the temperature and humidity of your kitchen. So relax and play it a bit loose.

Okay? Let’s do this.

Fresh pasta starts with the basics: flour, eggs, a bit of oil, a touch of salt. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

Our old house doesn’t have an abundance of counter space, so I use a stainless steel table as a movable island or work table. (We’ll use a plastic fork so as not to unnecessarily scratch it!)

Whisk 4 eggs plus 2 egg yolks in a small bowl.

Make a well with two cups of flour, add a pinch of salt, about a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.

Pour about a third of the egg into the well and gently work the nearby flour into the egg mixture with a fork. It’s not so much stirring as folding and whisking.

Don’t hurry it. Enjoy the centuries-old art of the process. Bit of eggs and stir. Repeat.

Fresh pasta starts by mixing eggs and flour gently. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

(Could you do all this in a big mixing bowl or on a big cutting board? Sure.)

Keep gently working the flour and eggs together. A bit more egg, stir. Again.

Fresh pasta, mixing eggs and flour like people have done for centuries. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

Once the eggs are all incorporated, bring the dough together with your hands. It’s supposed to look rough, almost shaggy, and be sticky at this point. Flour your hands, flour the table.

Fresh pasta comes together slowly, gently, to form a smooth dough. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

Knead the dough by folding it in half, pressing it down with the heel of your hand, and turning it once. Repeat for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Sprinkle flour on your hands and work surface as needed to keep it from sticking.

It’s not a race. Take your time. Practice. We’re making food here.

Kneading past dough until it becomes silky smooth. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

And then… you’ll know it. When it’s ready. A thing of beauty.

You can just tell when fresh pasta is coming together. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Great time to clean up behind ourselves a bit.

Fresh pasta dough, mixed, kneaded, rested, and ready to roll. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

Then, roll it out being careful to keep it no wider than the pasta machine.

Can you just roll it out, no machine, and slice it with a sharp knife? Yes. I’ve done it. But it’s harder to get it as thin.

I normally use a small French rolling pin that’s perfect for this. The one we used today was my Vermont maple everyday rolling pin, which I dearly love, but is tapered at the ends and a good bit bigger. (I may have used a wine bottle as a rolling pin before…no judging.)

Keep rolling. Keep flouring — it will stick together if you don’t. You’re not working flour into the dough, you’re keeping the surfaces from sticking.

Rolling fresh pasta dough to get it ready for use in a pasta machine. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

A side note: the flour we’re using is Bob’s Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour. This is my regular, every day flour. The larger grocery stores usually carry it, though not always the organic variety. Marcella Hazan, whom I mentioned at the beginning, recommends all-purpose flour over durum semolina for making pasta at home. Some people like OO flour, a more finely ground variety, but it’s tricky to find locally and usually more expensive.

The Pasta Machine

Sprinkle some flour on the pasta machine. Remember, the key to good fresh pasta dough is keeping it from sticking to everything else including itself!

Starting at the thickest setting (10/ten for mine), we roll it gently through a couple of times. Then set it one thinner and repeat.

Rolling fresh pasta dough thinner and thinner. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

You do this until it’s as thin as you want it to be. For today’s fettuccine we went down to 5/five.

Fresh pasta dough rolled thin, ready for slicing. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

Until finally, it’s just right. Very soft but still hanging together perfectly, like a spun silk fabric.

The fresh pasta dough is like spun silk at this point. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

And then we roll it through the cutters and set aside (well-floured to keep it from sticking together) and start the water to boiling.

Fresh pasta cut into stacks of fettuccine. Visit suppertimeblues.com to learn more.

 

It’s easier than it looks. Just relax. We cooked it with a lot of love added in there as well.

Fresh Pasta

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: derived from Gordon Ramsey

Dried pasta is always a joy. But once in a while, there's nothing like fresh pasta, pillow soft, beautifully yellow from the egg yolks.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs and egg yolks in a bowl or large measuring cup that's easy enough to pour from.

  2. Make a well on the work surface with the flour.

  3. Pour about a third of the egg into the well and gently work the nearby flour into the egg mixture with a fork. It's not so much stirring as folding and whisking.

  4. Repeat until the eggs are all incorporated.

  5. Knead the dough by folding it in half, pressing it down with the heel of your hand, and turning it once. Repeat for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Sprinkle flour on your hands and work surface as needed to keep it from sticking.

  6. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

  7. Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it's thin enough to run through a pasta maker.

  8. Remembering to be generous with flour, roll the dough through the pasta maker, from thickest / highest setting, and working down one setting at a time until the desired thickness is reached.

  9. Cut the pasta into noodles.

  10. Cook the pasta in well-salted, boiling water. It will be done in 3-5 minutes, depending on how thick you cut it. Drain - never rinse! And serve.

Recipe Notes

I can't over emphasize enough that you'll want to be generous with sprinkling flour on your hands and work surface as you go. With practice, you'll need less. Don't flour the dough, flour what the dough touches.

Enjoy the process. People have been doing it just this way for a very, very long time. And you'll be amazed at how good it is.

 

P.S. Me & the kid 🙂

My oldest kid and me in the kitchen. From suppertimeblues.com.

 

I hope you enjoyed this and found it useful. If so, please consider sharing it. And I'd really appreciate a recipe rating below if you made this dish at home. Thank you!

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10 thoughts on “Fresh Pasta, a Love Story

  1. The kid at our house likes to make pasta too. He bought a pasta machine awhile back but lately has been doing it all by hand, I think he enjoys the complete experience 😊 As a child I helped my mother make piles and pile of noodles, hung on the clothed drying rack to dry, hours of cranking the machine … it was a good thing.

  2. Appreciate your photo story of making the pasta but love that photo best of all ! ‘The kid’ has a healthy sense of humour and confidence and quietly says of you: ‘Oh, have him under control’ methinks 🙂 !!! Working and studying fulltime I manage home made pasta two times out of five . . . do it on the table by ‘feel’ almost as far as the ingredients go: if I remember correctly the many times I have seen Gordon Ramsey do it on TV has something to do with it . . . I think mine has one less egg and I must like it more al dente ’cause cook it for roughly three . . . .

    • I was just saying to someone earlier today that I remember rolling out pasta with Grandma (we just called them “noodles” back then) on the table and spreading them to dry on newspapers. One of life’s simple joys. And yes, you’ve got “the kid” figured out, I’m sure. 🙂

  3. I’m a three/two ration kind of guy. Pasta is a absolute prime food in my humble opinion and so incredibly easy to make. You post demonstrates this well. But, I must admit, I use our Ankarsrum mixer for the dough and rolling. The kid a spitting image of his dad, that’s for sure.

    • I want to make sure the kids know that you *can* make your own pasta. It’s not just a store-bought ingredient. And it’s in a different class of ingredient entirely. And yeah, that apple didn’t fall too far lol.

  4. I loved reading Heat. And it’s made a comeback thanks to Mr. Buford’s book subject! There’s nothing quite like fresh pasta. I think I burned myself out when I cooked for a family for many years, because fresh pasta, especially the filled variety, was something they really enjoyed. I have one pasta on the blog with an ancient photo of my 8 year old daughter with a long sheet of pasta that she rolled herself. She’s now 32! Great recipe.

    • I’ve been flirting with the idea of filled pastas recently! Is there a particular one you’d recommend I might start with? I just love cooking with the kids. I’ll have to find the post you mentioned. Thanks for the comment.

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