Pasta: A Five Part Series. Part 1: Pasta Dough and Basics

Hey foodies! Hope you’re having a great day. If you’re not, you came to the right place.

I say that because you’re here to learn about making pasta which, to me, is the best form of therapy. Along with baking. Which is one of the many reasons why I wanted to do this five-part series.

I’ve been interested in making pasta from scratch for a few years now, but have never had the proper tools to do it. I tried so many different recipes but never had one actually turn out until I bought a pasta machine a few months ago. Now that I have it, pasta making is like crack for me. I used to bake a lot when I was upset, now I make pasta. I love the endless possibilities, shape, color, size. If you’ve never thought of pasta as anything more than the shapes you can get at your regular grocery store, I urge you to check out @saltyseattle on Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook. She makes all different colored pastas from fruits and vegetables, as well as a crazy variety of shapes. Some are traditional Italian pastas but she also makes up tons of her own. Her work is inspiring. If you’ve never checked her out, go take a look.

So, in this series I want to cover five ways of making pasta that I really enjoy. This first post is going to be about basics and building a solid pasta dough that you can use to make any shape, size, or color (except blue, we’ll get into that later) that you want. After basics we’ll cover color, pressed herbs and spices, shapes, and last we’ll cover stuffed pastas. Any other pasta techniques you’d like? GF recipe? Rolling pasta without a machine? Leave it in the comments, or shoot me an email. This could easily turn into a 6 part series.

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I love this recipe because it’s versatile. It makes a sturdy dough that can really be worked into any shape. It’s a great base. We’ll use this recipe as our base actually through the entire series as we add in colors, pressed herbs, different shapes, etc.

So, as easy as it is to make a simple pasta dough, there are a few tricks for getting it just right. First of all, before anything, the golden rule to pasta, is to listen. to. the dough. I can’t stress this enough. This is simply because no cup of flour or egg yolk are created equal. Feel the dough, if it’s very dry and not sticking together while you’re kneading it, add a little E.V.O.O. If it’s really sticky and wet, gradually add more flour. If you’d like a recipe that turns out exactly the same each time, feel free to convert this into grams. But since the results are never too extremely different, I like to just add more liquid or flour when needed.

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Also keep in mind as you’re initially making the dough that you will be constantly adding flour. You’ll work the dough on a floured surface, roll it with a floured pin, your hands will be floured, and you’ll flour the dough between sheets. So if it feels slightly sticky, that’s okay. It should feel like very firm Play-Doh and should not stick to your hands or the counter. In the end it should look like the picture above. It should have little to no lumps and high elasticity. Meaning that when you press your finger into the dough or push it down with your hand, it should spring back into shape, such as a rubber band after you stretch it out.

 

Pasta Dough Recipe

  • 2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
  • 1 Tablespoon E.V.O.O.
  • 1 Big Pinch of Salt

Directions

On a counter top, or in a large bowl, add two cups of flour and with the bottom of your measuring cup, create a well. If you are using a bowl there is no need to create a well. The point of the well is to keep the wet ingredients contained until you have combined them with enough flour that it wont make a giant mess of your work space.

Add three eggs, one egg yolk, 1 TBSP of E.V.O.O, and a pinch of salt to the middle of the well. Beat the eggs with a fork, slowly adding in flour from the walls of the well. If you are using a bowl, simply combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl and slowly incorporate them to the dry, making sure to stir out any lumps.

Once the dough forms into large crumbs, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and begin combining it with your hands until it forms together and you are able to knead it.

Begin kneading and continue until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 3-4 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and tightly wrap it in plastic. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes up to four hours. The dough needs to rest for this period of time to allow the flour to absorb the water and to allow the gluten fibers to relax making the dough strong and rollable.8EvAqK+JTD2Rht1c1AUoXQ

Once rested, roll the dough into a thin sheet, about 1/4 of an inch thick is fine. Cut the dough into a strip that can easily fit through your pasta machine. Cover the other piece with plastic wrap until you are ready to work with it so it doesn’t dry out. Start on the thickest setting and sheet the pasta dough through. Continue to sheet the pasta on thinner and thinner settings until you reach your desired thickness, flouring the dough between passes.

Once you’ve reached your desired thickness, remove any jagged or curved edges. Cut the strip into 8-12 inch long pieces, and pass through the fettuccine attachment of your pasta maker. Note: the picture below shows the pasta I made which has red pepper flakes pressed into the dough. Yours will look exactly the same, without the red specs.

Hang the pasta on a drying rack for a few hours until completely dried. Store in ziplock bags or airtight containers until ready to serve.

If you do not have a drying rack you can use a pitcher or any tall item to hang the pasta over to dry. You can also form the pasta into nests or simply lay it on a sheet tray to dry.

 

 

 

 

 

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