How to Make Fresh Pasta, Step by Step
The process of making your own pasta can be broken down into six steps: assembling your equipment, choosing the ingredients, mixing and kneading the dough, resting the dough, rolling out the pasta and cutting it into noodles, and cooking it. I tested a range of variables within each of these steps, honing the recipe based on my findings, until I had my ideal technique down to a science.
Assembling Your Pasta-Making Equipment
There are a lot of pasta-making tools on the market, from pasta-rolling attachments for a KitchenAid stand mixer to fluted pastry wheels and special drying racks.
Choosing Your Ingredients
Pasta recipes call for all kinds of ingredients. But there are two things any pasta recipe absolutely needs: flour and water. That’s because flour and water are how you create gluten, the network of proteins that gives pasta its stretchy texture and bite.
The more you work that dough, the more elasticity it will develop. Striking the right level of gluten development is key to fresh pastas, pizza crusts, and most baked goods. There are, of course, gluten-free pasta doughs, which substitute that protein network with standard gluten alternatives, like xanthan or guar gum and even eggs.
Mixing and Kneading the Pasta Dough
At this point, we’re working with 10 ounces of flour, a teaspoon of salt, and two whole eggs, plus four additional yolks. This will make four to six servings and can be halved or doubled as desired.
If you have a good food processor, you can go ahead and toss all your ingredients in and let it run until it forms a big ball. Let it keep whipping around in there, or take it out and knead it with your hands. You can get to a similar point with a stand mixer, using your dough hook attachment.
But I gotta admit: I love making pasta by hand. It’s a little more work, but it’s satisfying fun work. It also gives you a lot more control.