Pasta is one of the most popular dishes ever and it comes in many shapes and forms. Whether it is served in a soup, as a side, as part of a casserole or bake, or as the main star of the dish. Today, making fresh pasta is no longer only for Italian grandmothers and chefs. In fact, pasta dough is very forgiving, so you will get great results even if you don’t have years of experience. So why not give it a try?
My personal favorite is this recipe for fresh egg Fettuccine. Why Fettuccine? Well, firstly, I don’t have a pasta maker and Fettuccine are very simple to cut by hand. They may not come out quite as evenly as when you use a special pasta cutter, but I think that just adds a bit of rustic charm. Secondly, they are a great basic pasta shape that works with many different types of sauces.
If you have a hand crank pasta maker or an attachment for your stand mixer, great – the whole process will be even easier for you. If you don’t have one, don’t worry, but be prepared to put in a tiny bit of elbow grease. I promise you, it’s well worth it.
Here’s what you’ll need (serves 4 people):
- rolling pin
- (bench) knife
- knife or pizza cutter
For the dough:
- 300 g all purpose flour (plus extra for the work surface)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- On a stable, clean work surface, shape the flour into a mound with a large crater in the middle (you can see in the picture that I didn’t make mine large enough – whoops). Add the eggs, yolks and salt to the crater.
- Using a fork, whisk the eggs and the salt until well combined. Then slowly start incorporating more and more flour into the dough.
- When it becomes too dry to work with the fork, start kneading the dough by hand until all the flour is incorporated (about 3 minutes) and you have a large ball.
- Press the heel of your hand into the dough, pushing down and forward. Fold the slightly stretched dough back in on itself, give it a 45 degree turn and repeat. Continue kneading in this manner until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should not stick to your hands and should not crack easily. If it feels too dry, dip your hand in water and continue kneading. If it feels too moist, sprinkle it with a little bit of flour.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for half an hour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly dust it with flour.
- Using a knife or bench knife, cut the dough in quarters. Transfer one of the quarters to the lightly floured work surface. Cover the remaining three pieces with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out.
- Sprinkle the dough piece with a little bit of flour and roll it out in an oblong shape until the dough starts resisting and contracting. Lightly sprinkle it with flour, gently fold it and cover it with plastic wrap. Roll out the other three pieces in the same manner. While you are working on the other pieces, the dough has time to relax so you can roll it even thinner during the next round.
- At the beginning of round two, gently unfold the sheet and fold the edges of the dough sheet towards the middle so you get a neat rectangular shape (I didn’t do that this time, but it makes it a lot easier to cut the Fettuccine later.) Continue rolling out the dough sheets until they start resisting and letting them rest in between rounds.
- After about four rounds, the dough should be very thin and slightly translucent.
- Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips.
- Transfer the noodles from the work surface to the baking sheet and lightly dust them with flour. Cover with a kitchen towel until you are ready to cook the pasta.
- To cook: Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the pasta and give it a quick stir to keep it from sticking to the bottom. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes, depending on thickness.
If you are not sure what to do with your delicious fresh pasta, how about savory meatballs and mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce?