It took me decades to decide to make my own pasta. I don’t really know why but I felt as if it was out of my league.
Following some great Instagram accounts such as @ItalyOnMyMind was a great incentive to finally give it a go. My mother in law, Nana Bev, also gave me a pasta machine which stayed in my cupboards for ages. I felt guilty not to use it.
In this recipe, I’ll show you how I make simple pasta (as a beginner pasta maker) and how I simply added spices to make them more interesting. I use two ways of cutting them: with a simple knife and using the machine’s tagliatelle cutting roll.
It all starts with a very simple dough I created merging 3 recipes from my Italian cookbooks. It worked out so well, I never changed it.
I use my Kenwood Chef stand mixer with the dough hook.
I added 1 tsp of Italian Herb mix (I buy mine at Dijon Foods, it’s the best I’ve ever found).
After making this recipe many times now, I realised that even if you respect the dosage of ingredients very well, you will sometimes end up with a softer or a firmer dough. It is probably caused by the size of the eggs and type of flour. It doesn’t matter too much as long as the dough is not sticky. Test it by pressing it with your fingers after it has started to form a ball in the mixer’s bowl. If it’s too soft or a tad bit sticky, add a bit of flour either in the bowl and mix slowly or divide the dough in 6 to 8 pieces and rub each one in flour.
Once you’ve left the dough to rest for 30 mins (or not if you’re in a hurry) you can start rolling using the flat roll on number 1 up to number 5 or 4 if you want them a bit thicker.
The secret here is to generously flour the dough before rolling it, flour the bands between each go if necessary and flour the bench or silicon mat before placing the bands there. And if you want to pile up the bands, in case you have a mini bench top, flour each band thoroughly or they will stick to each other and you will have to start at number 1 again…
You can choose to cut your bands of dough with a knife. I use my serrated Victorinox and run it in quick movements back and forth, going as straight as I can, even if it doesn’t matter how they look in the end.
These dancing pasta are hand cut and dried overnight.
After a few experiments I realised that the pasta is firmer and less “gooey” or doughy if it has dried for at least 6 hours.
Taking photos has become a real challenge these days, not only because of Autumn’s declining lights (less time to shoot), but also because of our little rascal Sacha who never fails to jump on my boards.
I find that adding spices to the dough, being Italian Herbs or anything else, makes them really interesting. You can still eat them with a sauce but actually butter and maybe a little cheese would suffice.
Léonore was a great help. With these manual machines you actually need two people.
One will do the rolling, turning the crank, and the other will gently hold the band, or cut pasta, as it’s coming out of the machine. It allows you to put them straight on the pasta drying stand or on the floured bench. If you let the pasta pile up under the machine it will stick and you might have to do it all over again.
Alex has become a professional pasta dryer assistant. He places each strand alongside each other on the stand. You don’t really have to do that :) but it’s really efficient when it comes to fast pasta drying.
It’s highly possible that our machine is a bit too old now. It is sometimes quite hard to turn the crank…
So above you can see the machine cut pasta, and underneath the hand cut ones.
And here is the recipe.
I hope you like it :)
- 300g wheat flour (any)
- 2 eggs
- 45g water
- A generous pinch of salt
- 1 heaped tsp of Italian Herbs (or more to taste)
- 1 tsp of rock salt for boiling water
- A bit of cracked black pepper
- A slither of butter
- A handful of grated cheese (cheddar, emmental, gruyère, parmesan, etc) to serve
- Tip all ingredients in a stand mixer's bowl. Mix at medium speed with a dough hook attachement. When you get a well formed ball, leave the mixer spin for 5 more mins.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and leave it for 30 mins (optional if you're in a hurry).
- Cut the dough in 6 to 8 pieces.
- Generously sprinkle flour on the bench. Roll each piece in a ball and roll in flour.
- Flatten a first piece with your hand and put it through the pasta machine flat roll on the thickest setting, usually number 1.
- Fold the flatten ball in 3 like a letter, the first third towards the middle and the last as well.
- Put it through the machine and repeat a few times to loosen the gluten. Make sure you stretch the last one into a sort of square. This will make a nicer band, easier to cut later.
- Then pass the band through changing thickness and number each time up to number 5. Lightly dust with flour between each pass if necessary, the band shouldn't be sticky.
- Place the finished band on the floured bench.
- Proceed the same way with each ball.
- Place the bands on the floured bench.
- Cut them using the machine's tagliatelle cutting roll or a good knife you run quickly back and forth along an imaginary line :)
- Let them dry overnight or for 6 hours (or skip this if you're in a hurry but the pasty will be a little bit more doughy). Use a pasta drying stand or the back of a few chairs (covered with baking paper) or even coat hangers.
- Boil salty water in a large pot and tip dried pasta. Cook for 3 minutes (depends on the thickness, try to see if you like it).
- Serve with butter, grated cheese and cracked pepper.