Pasta is one of the best dishes – so comforting yet so simple. If you’re a lover of a delicious bowl of pasta, we challenge you to take the game to the next level by making homemade pasta. There is nothing that can beat fresh, handmade pasta if properly made. So, channel your inner Italian and learn how to make pasta from scratch.
Homemade pasta is easy to make, and for many people, it’s superior in taste to store-bought pasta. The best thing is that you can make perfectly textured, homemade-from-scratch pasta with a few simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Here is everything you need to know to make a silky-smooth, springy, light, fresh pasta, whether for making fettuccine or slicing into noodles.
Dried Pasta Versus Fresh: Is It Worth It to Make It From Scratch?
Fresh and dry pasta are very distinct, each suited for different tasks. However, fresh pasta can be considered superior to dry pasta in its silky texture, eggy, rich flavor, and soft yellow color.
Dry pasta is made with coarse wheat flour and water, and it usually doesn’t contain eggs. As a result, its firmer, denser texture needs longer cooking times than fresh pasta. On the other hand, the dense texture holds up perfectly under hearty, heavy sauces. So, if you’re a lover of hearty sauces, dried pasta is a more convenient choice.
Fresh pasta is ideal for delicate, light sauces. Italian-style pasta is typically produced using eggs and flour combined to form a hard but pliable dough that is kneaded, rested, rolled, and then cut into noodles or left in sheets for ravioli or lasagna. However, if you don’t want to go through this process but still want to eat fresh pasta, companies like Let’s Pasta sell fresh frozen pasta with the finest, natural ingredients that guarantee the unique, homemade taste.
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Choosing the Right Ingredients for Your Homemade Pasta
Using good quality ingredients makes a world of difference in the texture of the pasta.
You should always use a good-quality ’00’ flour to make fresh pasta. With its powdery texture, this fine ground flour can yield silky noodles. You can also use another type of wheat flour – semolina flour. Semolina will add a rougher texture and heartiness and make sauces cling better to your pasta. Of course, you can use a combination of 00 and semolina flour. Just don’t use self-rising flour, as it contains baking powder, leading to some undesired results.
Eggs and Oil
Fresh room-temperature decent free-range large eggs are the secret ingredient for good pasta. These eggs have brighter, better yolks and will make your pasta richer in yellow color. The basic recipe is one egg for 100 g of flour. If you like mushier, softer pasta, add a teaspoon of oil. But if you prefer the eggier, richer flavor and more golden color, add an extra yolk and a little bit of flour.
To Salt or Not to Salt?
While salting pasta water is acceptable, there is no reason not to salt your dough. Both slightly coarse kosher salt and fine-grained iodized salt work perfectly. Just avoid coarse sea salt because your dough won’t develop a smooth texture and remember to skip salting your pasta water.
What to do With the Dough?
Well, show it some love and make your pasta by hand. It’s a little more work than doing it in a food processor, but it’s satisfying work, and it gives you more control.
Mixing and Kneading the Dough
The dough must be kneaded for 5 minutes until it’s elastic and smooth. Mixing by hand ensures that you may alter your dough as you work. Don’t over-flour the bench – just enough to keep it from sticking. Add a few drops of olive oil if your dough is too dry.
Freezing or Refrigerating Fresh Dough
Wrap your kneaded dough snugly in plastic and let it rest for 30 minutes to 3 hours, or if you want to use it later, place it in the fridge. Be aware that it will gradually develop a grayish tinge, but it won’t affect texture or flavor. If you put your dough in a zipper-lock bag, removing as much air as possible, you can freeze it for up to 3 weeks.
The secret ingredients for smooth pasta are good-quality flour and eggs and a pinch of salt. Unlike dried pasta, fresh pasta cooks fast, but you still need to cook it thoroughly. Just don’t exceed 2 minutes. And now that you know the basics, you can make your pasta in different flavors, colors, textures, shapes, and sizes. There are as many types of delicious pasta as you want!