How to Make Fresh Pasta

  • 01 of 10

    What You Need

    Egg and flour
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    Making your own pasta from scratch is very satisfying and surprisingly easy. It will certainly impress your family and dinner guests, and although time-consuming, making it means that you will have trouble going back to store-bought dry pasta.

    Each home cook has a favorite recipe, with all-eggs, just egg whites, or water only. Our how-to step-by-step will yield a pound of all-egg pasta, and you only need three ingredients that you probably already have on hand: flour, salt, and eggs (2 cups of unbleached flour, 3 large eggs, and a half-teaspoon of salt).

    First, place the flour in a mound on a clean countertop or cutting board and make a well in the center. Put the eggs and salt into the well.

    Whisk the eggs together with a fork without disturbing the flour.

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  • 02 of 10

    Mix the Ingredients

    Mixing the dough ingredients
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    Using a fork, gently incorporate the flour into the egg mixture a little at a time.

    Once you have incorporated all of the flour together with the egg using a fork, switch to a bench knife or bench scraper if you have one, or use your fingertips to really blend the mixture together.

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  • 03 of 10

    Form a Dough Ball

    Kneading a dough ball
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    After the wet and dry ingredients have been well combined using the dough knife, bring the mixture together with your hands to form a ball. If the dough seems too dry, beat an extra egg and add some of it to the dough a little at a time. You might not need a whole extra egg. You need to end up with a dough that doesn't stick and is malleable, so more moisture is sometimes needed.

    If the mixture is too wet and sticks to your fingers, rub your hands with flour and form the dough into a ball. Do the same once more if needed but be careful not to overdo the amount of flour because you'll end up with a dry ball that might need more moisture. 

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  • 04 of 10

    Knead the Dough

    Kneading dough
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    Once you have a dough that is easy to handle, doesn't stick to your hands, and keeps its shape when formed into a ball, knead the pasta dough as you would with bread dough.

    The easiest method is to push down and away from you with the palm of your hand. Then turn the dough ninety degrees, fold the dough over on itself and push down and away again. Continue this until the dough is smooth, for about 7 to 10 minutes.

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  • 05 of 10

    Form Into Balls

    Covering the dough
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    Using the bench knife, cut the dough into 3 equal sections. Alternatively, you can weigh your dough and divide it into 3 equals parts.

    Form each section into a ball, and cover the dough balls with a towel or bowl. Let rest for 15 minutes.

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  • 06 of 10

    Roll the Pasta

    Rolling the dough
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    A pasta machine is best for rolling and cutting the dough. Although expensive, these machines cut the rolling and cutting time in a third, and are convenient because they give you many options depending on your preferences.

    If you're using a pasta machine:

    1. Flatten one of the dough balls with the palm of your hand until it's about 1/2 inch thick and no wider than the slot of the pasta machine.
    2. Sprinkle it with flour to make sure it doesn't stick to the machine.
    3. Turn the handle while feeding the dough into the slot with the slot of the pasta machine on its widest setting (usually 1).
    4. Hold the flattened dough as it comes out of the pasta machine, but don't pull on it.

    If you don't have a pasta machine a rolling pin will work just fine (check step 10). Just be sure you have plenty of space and a sturdy and long rolling pin. 

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  • 07 of 10

    Roll the Dough Again

    Rolling pasta
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    After the dough has completely passed through the pasta machine, turn the slot down to the next smallest setting and pass the dough through the slot. Continue to do this, making the slot smaller by 1 each time. Don't try to skip a number, as this will only cause the machine to jam and you'll end up with a crumpled dough. 

    As you continue rolling the pasta, your sheet of dough will get longer and longer. Try to gently hold the dough as it exits the pasta machine so it doesn't tear. 

    Continue passing the dough through the machine until it's about 1/16th of an inch thick.

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  • 08 of 10

    Cut the Dough Into Pasta

    Pasta maker cutting the dough
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    Most pasta machines come with an adapter that cuts the dough. You may wish to cut your dough in half to make it easier to handle.

    Feed the dough into the cutting blades. Try to have your hand under the center of the cut dough, so you can pick it all up in one bunch.

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  • 09 of 10

    Dry the Pasta

    Drying pasta
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    Immediately after cutting the dough, hang the pasta on a dowel or other object like a clean clothes drying rack. Alternatively, lay the pasta flat on a towel, and use some semolina to keep it separate. 

    The pasta can be used right away in heavily salted boling water or kept in the fridge covered for up to a week. 

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  • 10 of 10

    Using a Rolling Pin

    woman rolling dough with rolling pin
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    If you're using a rolling pin: 

    1. Flatten one of the dough balls and start using the rolling pin to shape it into a long rectangle. Use your arm strength to press firmly while pushing away from you with the rolling pin. The rectangle you end up with should be 4 to 5 inches wide and as long as needed so you can see your hand through it or read a printed page of a book when putting it underneath the dough. 
    2. Fold the ends of the rectangle into the middle, and then the ends again twice more. Leave to rest for 5 minutes.
    3. Cut the edges of your dough with a very sharp and clean knife to make it even. Then cut strips of about 1/3 to 1/2 inch wide.