Who doesn’t love a great heaping plate of pasta and sauce, be it a red sauce, white, olive oil and garlic, or just some butter and parmesan cheese? In terms of comfort foods, pasta is probably one of the most sought after dishes (macaroni and cheese anyone?).
Now when it comes to pasta, you have your boxed stuff and you also have the products in the frozen or the refrigerated aisle at the grocery store, which is perfectly fine and well. However, once you’ve tried fresh, homemade pasta, you might wonder why you ate pasta any other way.
What’s that? Making pasta from scratch is hard? You’d be quite surprised just how easy it can be! In fact, it only requires four ingredients: eggs, flour, salt, and olive oil. That’s it!
To make your egg pasta, you’ll need:
Mix together the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Once that is all combined, you’ll want to create a well in the center of the flour and add your eggs and olive oil.
If you want to give your pasta a little bit more flavor, you can include things like spices or dried herbs. You can also add wet ingredients such as pesto or tomato paste with the dry ingredients before you add the eggs. If you’re really daring, you can even try squid ink to get black pasta.
Whisk together your eggs and oil with a fork. Slowly bring some of the flour from the edges into the mixture as you whisk. Once your dough has become too thick to whisk properly, you will want to flip the bowl and all of its contents out on a clean workspace. You will then want to knead the dough and flour together until you’ve formed a firm ball of dough.
Wrap your ball of dough loosely with some plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for thirty minutes. If you are preparing the dough ahead of time, you can simply store your ball in the refrigerator for a day.
By allowing your dough to rest, it allows the gluten matrix relax, enabling you to roll out the dough easily without the dough springing back at you like a rubber band.
When you’re ready to actually make the pasta, you’ll want to divide the ball into four smaller sections. This will allow you to work with smaller, more manageable pieces at a time. Keep the unused portions of dough wrapped in plastic so it doesn’t dry out on you.
On your clean surface, put down a generous dusting of flour. Flatten the portion of dough into a rectangular shape with your hands. Once your shape has been formed, you will want to flour your rolling pin, and then begin rolling it out into a long, thin sheet.
You will have to stop now and then to dust either side with flour so that the dough doesn’t stick and break apart while rolling it out. You’re going to want to keep rolling the dough until you can see your hand through the sheet when held up to the light. Don’t worry, the noodles will plump up when they are cooked.
Dust your pasta with flour again and then fold it into a wide but flat roll. By folding the pasta like this, you’re preventing the pasta from being squashed when it’s cut, like it would if you rolled it up into a tube. Also, it’s important that you use a sharp knife so that you get clean cut pasta.
Separate the cut noodles and (again) dust the noodles with flour. This is the pivotal point where you can either drop your fresh pasta in boiling water, or you can pile it onto a baking sheet, freeze it, and then store it in air tight bags. You do have the option of drying it out as well, but… We like eating the fresh pasta as soon as we make it.
Cook your pasta! It should only take 3 to 4 minutes for your pasta cook, as it takes much less time to cook fresh or frozen fresh pasta to become that mountain of comfort you’ve been anticipating.
Many people today are going gluten free, whether it is a diet concern or for health issues. You can make gluten free pasta just as easy, although it does require more ingredients.
To make gluten free pasta, you’re going to need:
The process to make this kind of pasta, it starts off the same as with the traditional recipe. Combine all of your dry ingredients together and create a well. Then dump in your eggs and combine everything together.
We should note that because there isn’t any gluten in the dough, so you don’t have to let the dough rest. You can skip right on ahead to forming a dough ball, cutting it into four smaller pieces and continuing on with the rest of the process.
If you’re a pasta lover like us, but you want pasta that is light, springy, and you know what the ingredients are, then making fresh is the way to go. It’s fast, easy, and it’s really rewarding when you present your loved ones with a meal made completely from scratch.
Plus, you could always say that you slaved away in the kitchen, making your family appreciate your efforts even more—maybe they’ll even volunteer to do the clean up! How awesome would that be?