how to make pasta WITHOUT a pasta machine
it can be done, deliciously.
Published Jan 14, 2016 5:00 AM
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by Cora L Diekman
Some foods are so labor-intensive that making them from scratch simply doesn’t make sense—and in some cases the store bought version is just as good (or even better). Like those delicious rotisserie chickens you pick up at the supermarket! Sure, homemade roast chicken sounds fabulous, but why bother when the supermarket version is so convenient and tasty? BUT if you’ve ever thought the same about pasta—that the store bought version is close enough—you’re just plain wrong. Period. The supermarket version is fine, but it’s absolutely NOTHING compared to the deliciously tender taste and texture of fresh, made from scratch pasta. And since the fresh version is so simple to make at home, why aren’t you making it yourself?
step 1: mix your dough
If the mere thought or mixing dough makes you want to turn away now, WAIT! This is no ordinary dough. There’s very little kneading, measurements are approximate, and there are only three ingredients (which includes a sprinkle of salt). To feed four, you will need (roughly):
- 4 eggs
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- large pinch of salt
Begin by piling all of your flour onto a clean surface, mixing in the salt, and then creating a well in the center for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the well, mix lightly with a fork, and slowly begin to incorporate the flour into the eggs until the entire mixture is combined and resembles a (yes!) dough.
Tip: A simple cheat for determining how much dough you need is this: 1 egg per person, and then add in flour until the dough will no longer take any more without requiring additional liquid.
step 2: knead your dough
Once everything is combined, knead the dough by hand, adding in additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If the dough begins to feel too dry, simply add in a small bit of water. It will take about 8 minutes of kneading, but just consider this a little pre-pasta calorie burning. You’ll know your dough is ready when, once rolled into a tight ball, it springs back a bit when pressed lightly with a finger.
step 3: roll and cut your pasta
Divide your dough into 4 pieces, and begin rolling the dough out one piece at a time, as thin as you can. Exact measurements are not important, but aim for a long rectangle-like shape, which makes cutting into strips much easier. When you’ve achieved the desired thickness, use a knife to cut the pasta lengthwise into long strips, about ¾ inch wide for a traditional Italian pappardelle shape. Hang strips on a pasta drying rack (if you have one) or sprinkle with a little flour and lay them across a baking sheet until the rest is ready for boiling.
step 4: boil and serve!
Cooking fresh pasta could not be easier. Add pasta strips to a pot of boiling salted water in small batches, and be ready with your sauce—noodles cook up in a super-quick 2–3 minutes. The texture and flavor of fresh pasta stands alone and needs little more than a light sauce (or even just salt and butter), so top with your favorite and eat immediately. Enjoy!