Who doesn’t love pasta? I think everyone can appreciate curling up with a bowl of pasta once in a while. Except my weirdo husband who isn’t a “fan” of pasta. I know right!? Just weird! Although he wasn’t complaining when I made Butternut and Sage Hash Lasagna Rolls with Creamy Sage Sauce earlier this week. I know that’s a mouthful, figuratively and literally.
I love pasta not only because it’s awesome, but it’s so versatile. It can be layered in a lasagna, stuffed with deliciousness, tossed in sauce or added to soup. Whatever you command pasta will be happy to fulfill.
Don’t let the thought of making fresh pasta intimidate you, it’s easier than you think. But, I am going to show you how to make fresh pasta. All you need is three ingredients, a pasta machine, a little time and a lot of love. I believe that everyone should try to make fresh pasta at least once. Who knows you may like it so much you will do it again.
Mound flour on a clean work surface. Using the bottom of a 1 cup measuring cup, make a high-walled well in the center of the flour. You can also use your hand, but the measuring cup makes a perfect well.
Crack the eggs directly into the well. It is important to use temperature eggs because they better absorb the flour. Using a fork, beat the eggs and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. Continue a until a soft, clumpy dough begins to form. Don’t stress if it guess messy, because it will.
When the dough becomes difficult to work with the fork, use your hands to pull in the remaining flour, kneading gently until the dough comes together. Do not worry if there is still flour remaining on the work surface.
Set the dough off to the side and, using a bench knife/pastry scraper, scrape up and throw away any bits of dough remaining on the work surface. Clean your hands. Lightly dust the surface and your hands with flour and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed. It should be smooth, elastic, and just a bit tacky. Cover the dough with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Line a sheet pan with plastic wrap. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and cover with a towel. With your hands, flatten one piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick.
Dust it lightly with flour and pass it through setting #1, the widest setting, on the pasta machine.
Fold it in thirds, like a letter, and flatten to 1/2 inch thick. Pass it through the widest setting (#1) again with the seam of the letter perpendicular to the rollers. Repeat this folding and rolling step 5 to 8 times, dusting the dough with flour if it becomes sticky.
Without folding the dough, pass pasta dough through the next setting (#2) 4 times. Again reduce the rollers to the next setting (#3) pass pasta through another 4 times, lightly dusting the pasta with flour on both sides as needed.
Reduce the rollers to the next and final setting (#4) pass pasta through 4 times, again flour each side as needed. Pasta should be about 1/16 inch thick and 3 inches wide.
Lay the rolled-out dough on the lined sheet pan, loosely lay plastic wrap over top to keep from drying. Roll out the remaining dough in the same manner. Cut each strip of dough in half, about 11-inch lengths. Lightly flour each strip, lay on sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap.
At this point you can keep it in sheets or you can cut into whichever kind of noodle you like.
To cook the pasta bring a 10-quart pot of water to boil over high heat, salt with at least 1 tablespoon of salt. Prepare a large bowl of ice water near the pot of boiling water. Line a rimmed baking sheet with two clean kitchen towels or sheets of parchment and have more towels or parchment ready.
Put 3 or 4 noodles in the boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, cook for about 30 seconds. Using tongs, carefully remove noodles from boiling water and transfer to the ice water to stop the cooking. Repeat with the remaining noodles.
Drain the noodles and rinse under cold water. Very gently remove excess water and lay noodles flat on the towel-lined baking sheet. Layer the noodles between clean towels or parchment and set aside until you’re ready to use.
All done! Fresh and tender pasta is yours! Well, it will be yours when you make it. In the meantime feel free to lick the screen, no one is watching. Although come to think of it, you will just get a mouthful of dust and that is unpleasant. So, don’t lick the screen it’s better that you make it for yourself.