I avoided making fresh pasta for way too long. It looked too hard and required kitchen gadgets that were way too expensive. And then I went to Rome and took a pasta-making class at Pastificio Faini. It changed my life! Or at least my life in the kitchen. Suddenly, making fresh pasta became as easy as buying it from the store, and I didn’t need a pasta machine–just a rolling pin and cutting board. I won’t pretend that it will come out perfectly without some practice, but now that I have practiced a few times, it comes out pretty dang good more often than not.
100 g durum wheat semolina flour*
1 large egg**
Pinch of salt
This will make one serving of pasta.
*If you don’t have access to durum wheat flour, use bread flour. I use different flours for different types of pasta, but for fettuccine I have been using Bob’s Red Mill Semolina Pasta Flour.
**To get the right color, use eggs from chickens that have been fed corn. They’ll have a bright orange yolk.
Put your flour in a pile and spread it out with a hole in the middle, volocano style, until you have an area about the size of your palm. I like to do this on a large cutting board (I got this one from Ikea for around $20).
Crack your egg (or eggs) in the middle and sprinkle in the salt. Can you tell which egg my three-year-old son helped crack? Yes, making pasta is so easy you can do it with your toddler.
Start scrambling the eggs in the center.
Add a little flour at a time, pulling it in with the fork or pushing it in with your palm, until the egg in the center becomes the consistency of scrambled eggs.
Now, use the scraper to pull the rest of the flour in and mix it together. This is where you need to use a little judgment (and where experience is helpful) since not all eggs are the same size and some flours need more moisture than others. You don’t want your pasta to be too dry or too wet, so you may not need to add in all the flour you have or you may need to add a little more. The only way to really know is to keep practicing and get a feel for it. If it is tough to work with, it is probably too dry. If it is sticking to your hands and the cutting board, it is probably too wet.
Once all the flour has been incorporated, knead it gently for a few minutes and then cover it with plastic for about 20 minutes to let the dough rest. Now is a great time to start a sauce.
Once your dough has rested, roll it out on your cutting board until it is even and thin. Use plenty of flour so that the dough doesn’t stick to the board or your rolling pin (but be careful not to add too much flour to your dough while you’re working with it). I usually roll out no more than about 1 1/2 to 2 servings of pasta at a time.
Once you’re satisfied with how thin the pasta will be, add more flour to both sides and roll the pasta from each end an even number of rolls. Begin cutting the pasta into thin strips.
Continue cutting until all the dough has been transformed into fettuccine. I have some thin thongs that I use to pick up the pasta from the center, unravel it and shake it out into a pile. I suppose you could use your finger or some other kitchen gadget as well. I then add some additional flour to keep it from sticking while I finish up my sauce and boil the water.
To cook, boil a large pot of water and add salt to taste (salty, like the sea!). Once the water is boiling, add your pasta and wait for the water to return to a boil. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. I usually remove my pasta shortly after the water begins boiling again. At this point, top it with your sauce of choice and you’re done!
It really is that easy, and I promise the effort will be worth it when you taste your silky, fresh egg pasta.