You can never go wrong with a good pasta dish. If you want to take it up a notch, try making your own pasta! Nothing you can buy off the store shelf compares to the eggy, chewy goodness of freshly made pasta. It is a bit of work if you choose to make it by hand. But if you have a good set of rollers, it's not bad at all and oh so worth the effort. I was gifted a set of pasta roller attachments for my KitchenAid mixer a few years ago and they are so much fun for making homemade pasta. They make the process so simple! This is a great activity for kids and adults alike. I always have little eyes watching as a few simple ingredients magically turn into delicious chewy noodles.
You can make your pasta dough in a mixer or food processor but it seems to turn out better for me when I make it by hand. I pour the flour on my counter, make a well in the middle, crack the eggs into the well, and sprinkle salt over the eggs. Then I use my fingertips to gradually work the eggs into the flour. Once a shaggy dough is formed, I drizzle olive oil and water over the dough and knead it until it is well-combined. I find that using a combination of olive oil and water makes the pasta dough easier to work with.
It's important to let the pasta dough rest at room temperature for a bit. This allows the flour to absorb the water and helps the gluten strands relax a bit which results in a more pliable dough. You can also store it in the fridge for up to 1 day before rolling into pasta.
Once the dough is ready, I divide the dough into 6 (not always even) balls. Working with 1 ball at a time, I roll it into a roughly shaped rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Then I put it through the flat pasta roller until it reaches the thickness I'm looking for. I fold the dough into thirds a few times during this process until it is the correct texture and shape. Then, I cut it into the desired shape. I like to toss the cut pasta with a bit of flour so it doesn't stick together.
Once it's ready to cook, it usually only needs 2-3 minutes in a pot of salted boiling water. Fresh pasta can be very easy to overcook so be careful! Enjoy with your favorite pasta sauce. I'd suggest trying it with my Pronghorn Bolognese.
Basic Pasta Dough Recipe
- pasta rollers
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 ½ tbsp water, room temperature
- Pour flour onto clean counter and shape into a mound. Create a well in the middle of the flour.
- Add eggs to middle of well. Sprinkle salt over eggs.
- Using your fingertips, incorporate eggs into flour until a shaggy dough forms.
- Drizzle olive oil and water over dough and knead until well-combined. Dough should not be sticky but shouldn't be so dry that it crumbles. If dough is sticky, add more flour. If dough is crumbly, add more water. Shape dough into a ball and cover in plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- When ready to roll pasta, remove dough from fridge and let set at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Divide dough into 6 equal balls.
- Roughly roll dough balls into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Put the dough rectangle through the flat pasta roller. Fold into thirds and repeat until the dough sheet is to your desired thickness.
- If making ravioli, lasagna, etc. you don't need to cut the pasta at this point. If you are making spaghetti, tagliatelle, etc. run the dough sheet through the appropriate pasta roller.
- Toss cut pasta in a little bit of flour to keep it from sticking together. Refrigerate for up to 1 day before cooking.
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta for approximately 3 minutes or until al dente. Drain and add your favorite sauce. Enjoy!