Many people who come to our cooking school in Italy feel intimidated by the idea of making pasta from scratch. Once they see how easy and enjoyable it is, they become hooked! Put some music on in your kitchen, and take your time (or make with a friend and enjoy the conversation).
- 100 g (3/4 of a cup) of flour per person. The best flour to use is durum wheat flour, but plain (all-purpose flour) works fine too.
- 1 egg per 100 g of flour. i.e. for 4 people, use 400 g (3 cups) of flour and 4 eggs.
- Make a mound with the flour and make a large well in it (big enough for the eggs). Break the eggs into this well. Add a pinch of salt if you wish.
- Work the eggs and the flour together with a fork, adding the flour from just around the eggs little by little, until you have a smooth dough, adding just a drop of water if necessary, and no more. You can add a small amount of flour if the mixture is too sticky.
- As soon as you can (when the mixture is no longer sticky), use your hands.
- Knead the dough for ten to fifteen minutes, until it is smooth, firm, and quite elastic. Don’t skimp on the kneading or the dough will tear while you’re rolling it out. Leave to rest for 15-30 minutes.
- Divide the dough into two balls. With a rolling pin, roll the ball of dough out into a strip.
- Pass this dough through the rollers of the manual pasta machine until it reaches the proper thinness (usually the last but one setting). IMPORTANT: between using numbers on the machine, allow the dough to rest for a minute or two on dish towels.
- Once you have the desired thickness, allow the dough to rest once more (dusting with a little flour if it seems at all sticky) for 15-30 minutes, before you cut it using the machine cutters.
- Dust the cut pasta with flour (if it seems wet) and allow to dry on dish towels for 1-2 hours, making sure the strands are well separated and not stuck together.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes in plenty of boiling water. Salt the water once it has come to the boil. Keep tasting until you taste a texture which is a little harder than the desired one (the pasta will keep cooking while you are dressing it).
- Drain, keeping some of the cooking water aside. Dress the pasta with your sauce, mixing well and adding some cooking water little by little to help amalgamate it with the sauce. Serve immediately!