Making your own pasta is a lot easier than you may think; all you need is a manual pasta machine, flour, eggs and a little salt and away you go. A good manual pasta machine costs around $100 and is a worthy investment. Mum’s had her Imperia machine for 40 years now and it’s never let her down. It’s obviously going to make life easier than trying to make pasta with a rolling pin and it also provides a great workout for your arm muscles!
Why bother making fresh pasta? Well, it’s silky smooth, melts in your mouth and it’s rather cheap to make. It’s perfect for special occasions or if you simply want to try something new on the weekend. It’s easy to make by yourself or you can get your family or friends involved too. Sure dry pasta is great for everyday use but there’s something special about making fresh pasta and seeing how much everyone enjoys it- I think the effort is well worth it.
This recipe can be used to make pasta sheets for lasagna, ravioli or you can go one step further and pass it through the fettuccine or spaghetti cutting section of the machine. My rule of thumb for fresh pasta is to use 1 large free-range egg for every 100 grams of flour, in addition to a ¼ teaspoon or so of salt. You’ll then need a bit more flour for machining the pasta. This quantity is then multiplied depending on how many people you’re cooking for. Speaking from experience, if you’re cooking for a large number of people and wanted to multiply this recipe by 10 for example, I would highly recommend making it in 2 lots as it’ll be a lot easier to combine and knead the dough in smaller quantities.
Make sure that the work surface used is at a comfortable height for yourself as you’ll be machining for a while so you don’t want to strain any muscles. I find kitchen benches too high in general so I clamp our machine to our wooden kitchen table. Also, cover your work area with a clean tablecloth- it’ll make cleaning up so much easier at the end as you’re going to have flour everywhere!
I’m going to do my best now to describe the method using photo’s to help me. I’ll be honest and say that it took me a few go’s under mum’s guidance to understand how pasta should look and feel as you’re machining it but I’m now confident enough to make it on my own. I’ll try explain the method as best as I can but if you have any questions please comment below and I’ll try to help out.
This quantity makes about 500 grams or so of pasta.
400g ’00’ flour, plus extra for machining the dough
4 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1. Add the flour to a large bowl and then stir in the salt.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the eggs in.
5. Once you’ve formed a ball, start kneading the dough. You will need to knead it for a little while to increase the strength of the gluten in the flour and will know when it’s ready as you’ll have a nice smooth ball of dough.
6. When it’s done, wrap it tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
7. After an hour, remove the dough from the cling wrap and cut it into 8 even-sized pieces. Lightly flour your work surface.
8. Starting with one of the pieces, roughly form it into a rectangular shape in your hands. Then place it on your work surface, flour it on both sides and then try flattening it out as much as possible with the palm of your hand. This is done to enable it to fit through the rollers in the machine.
9. Have your machine set on the widest setting (the width is adjusted by a knob on the side of the machine- turning it towards you increment by increment decreases the space between the rollers- see photo below).
12. Continue doing this until the sheet appears smooth. You’ll often find that an air bubble will form and will pop on the last time before it’s ready. Once the sheet is done, place it to the side and lightly flour it.
13. Take the next piece of dough and repeat the above process. Do this for all 8 pieces of dough.
14. Once you’ve got 8 small smooth sheets ready, turn the knob on your machine to the next increment which is slightly narrower.
15. Repeat the above process of lightly flouring each sheet, folding it in half and passing it through the machine until it looks smooth and you hear that popping sound. You probably won’t have to pass each sheet through as many times as the first setting though from now on.
16. Once you’ve passed through all the sheets on the second setting, move down to the third and repeat the process again. Continue this all the way through to the narrowest setting of the machine. Ensure that you’re lightly flouring the pasta whenever it feels sticky as you don’t want it to stick to the rollers in the machine (a pasta machine is never washed; it is merely dusted with a small brush that comes with the machine- if you washed it the rollers would lose their smoothness).
17. By the end you should have 8 long, silky smooth sheets of pasta. These can now be used for lasagna or ravioli. If you want to make fettuccine or spaghetti, simply pass the sheets through the cutters on the machine.
*If you’d like to use this recipe, please reference this blog- thank you!