It is well known that Italians need a constant intake of carbs and, if we don’t have pasta for a few days, we’ll feel as if we haven’t eaten it for years. Nowadays pasta is consumed mostly dried, as the latest generations see the making of fresh pasta confined to the most traditional shapes and the stuffed variety of pasta, such as tortellini or ravioli.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a lover of dried pasta and I always make sure my favourite number of Barilla spaghetti is in the cupboard. However, I cannot begin to explain the pleasure and satisfaction that making fresh pasta at home brings. So, instead, I’ll just explain how to get there…
800 g 00 type flour (but keep more flour at hand as you’ll need it at the rolling stage)
Step 1 – Start mixing your dough in a bowl. You can also use a stand mixer with the hook extension instead of kneading by hand. We are doing it by hand this time.
Step 2 – Once you have a homogeneous dough ball, start kneading for about ten minutes on a flour dusted surface. You can check how elastic the dough is by poking it delicately, if it springs back you should be done. Spread your dough ball with some olive oil and cover it with cling film or foil, and put it in the fridge for about one hour.
Step 3 – It’s now time to roll! Cut a small piece from your dough and make sure that the remaining dough is either covered with a damp cloth or wrapped in cling film, so it doesn’t dry up. Put the small piece onto your flour dusted surface and start rolling it with a pin-roll or with a pasta machine like I did.
Step 4 – If you are using a pin-roll, be patient as rolling the dough so thinly can be tricky. With the pasta machine, you can start rolling the dough a few times at the machine’s widest setting. Then start rolling it thinner and thinner until you reach the narrowest setting (or the one just before the narrowest if you prefer). You will obtain several long pasta sheets, which you can place on the table, without covering them.
Step 5 – If your pasta machine has got the cutter to make thin pasta, such as spaghetti or tagliatelle, apply the cutting roll to the machine and start passing the pasta sheets through the roll and you’ll have your first tagliatelle. Marvellous!
Step 6 – Keep your tagliatelle on a floury surface and cover them with more flour, shaking them a little without breaking them. Leave them to dry, so that they don’t stick together and move them every now and then so they dry evenly. Alternatively, if you have those useful wooden spreaders, you can hang it to dry in the air.
Step 7 – Repeat the process with another bit of the dough, and do it again and again until your dough is finished. All you have to do now is to choose a sauce to enjoy it with. When it’s time to cook it, do like you’d do with dry pasta and boil it in abundant salted water. Remember that fresh pasta takes very little to cook, usually after one minute or two it will start floating, which means it is ready. You can always taste a noodle to make sure it’s cooked at your preferred texture.
Please note: Quantities are big because, even though making pasta is not difficult, it takes time. Once you are at it, you might as well make enough divided portions to freeze, so when you’re craving pasta, you can boil it in water from frozen. If you need less you can always cut the ingredients to the portions you’ll need, and once you get confident, you can also make your own filled pasta. Do you make homemade pasta? Let us know if you try!