Everyone loves pasta! Fresh pasta sounds so delicious but seems so intimidating. It’s actually fairly easy to make and uses only a few ingredients. You don’t need an expensive stand mixer or even a pasta machine, although those items do help. I remember my Grandparent’s Italian neighbor bringing over a big casserole dish filled with fresh homemade pasta and sauce. Sometimes it came with a cooked eel laid on top, not my favorite! I have an old crank pasta machine from my grandparent’s house. When I use it, I think of them. Whatever your favorite sauce and accompaniments are, here is an easy fresh pasta recipe.
I use Mario Batali’s pasta recipe found at:
- 3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour + ½ c for dusting
- 4 extra large eggs
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- Pasta sauce of your choosing
Clean surface or large cutting board
Bench scraper (optional)
Either a pasta machine or a rolling pin and large knife
Large cookie sheet pan
For cooking the pasta you will need a large pot, strainer, and tongs
Start with a clean, dry surface. Use a clean counter, table, or large cutting board.
Make a mound with 3 ½ cups of flour. Use your fingers to make a well in the center of the flour.
Crack and add 4 eggs into the well. Add ½ t of olive oil in with the eggs.
Use a fork to beat the eggs in the center. Once beaten, begin to incorporate the flour a bit a time around the edge of the inner rim of the well. Work until you incorporate about half of the flour, being careful to maintain the well shape until the end. When about half of the flour is incorporated, start bringing the dough together with the palms of your hands or a bench scraper.
Once there is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the surface. Scrape the board to get rid of any remaining pieces. Lightly dust the board, put the dough back down, and knead the dough for 6 minutes. The dough should be elastic and slightly sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
After 30 minutes, the dough is ready to be shaped. Separate your ball of dough into 6 smaller pieces. Work with one piece at a time.
If you have a pasta machine, take a piece of dough and flatten it into an oval. Set the machine to the thickest number, and send the dough through. This will allow the dough to widen. Fold the length of dough into thirds, flatten it, and send it through the machine a second time. Repeat this process a third time. Then, keep sending the dough through, decreasing the thickness on the dial each time until it is thin. You can lightly flour the dough to prevent sticking if needed. Use your hands to support the dough as it comes out. Repeat this process for each piece of dough. Once your pasta sheets are done, cut the pasta lengths in half. Add the pasta cutter attachment to the machine. Choose your desired shape, then send each piece of dough through to cut it into strands.
If you do not have a pasta machine, lightly flour your clean surface and roll the dough out paper thin in a long rectangle shape, picking up the dough with each roll pass, turning the piece over and lightly flouring the surface. Once your dough is thin enough, fold the long piece accordion style onto a cutting board. Then, use a knife to cut pieces as thin or thick as you desire. Pick up the strands with your hands to separate.
You can keep your lightly flour dusted pasta on a cookie sheet until you are ready to cook. You need to keep the pasta lightly dusted to prevent clumping. If you would like to freeze your pasta, make small nest mounds on a cookie sheet, and set it in the freezer. Be careful not to press the fresh dough together. Once frozen firm, take the nests off the cookie sheet and place in a freezer bag. It will keep for several months.
Fresh pasta cooks in boiling water for only 2-5 minutes depending upon the size and thickness of your pasta. Add salt to the boiling water to add flavor. Do a taste test to see if the pasta is done. Strain the pasta well. Now it’s ready for your desired sauce. If you are going to add the pasta to a sauce and cook further on the stove, pull your pasta while it’s al dente. It will continue to cook in the sauce.
Check out these books for more pasta recipes:
Pasta by Antonio Carluccio
Flour + Water Pasta by Thomas McNaughton
Encyclopedia of Pasta by Oretta Zanini De Vita
Starr Jones is an adult Librarian who has worked at the library for 19 years. She likes to read nonfiction books, especially biographies and books about science, social issues, cooking, and humor. She also likes fiction written by female authors. While she prefers hardcover books, she will read an eBook on occasion and likes to listen to audiobooks while multitasking. Her Zen is shooting pool and watching the Great British Baking Show.