Making homemade pasta is much easier than most people think. It’s basically a mixture of eggs, flour and water, and maybe a sprinkle of salt (depending on which Italian grandma is making it!). So when our Indy girls spent a week with us this summer, (we call it GrandCamp) I decided it was the perfect time for a pasta making lesson.
We started by scrubbing the kitchen counter to make sure it was spotless. Then I dumped all purpose flour into a mound. I let Lolo make a “well” in the center of the flour and we added our eggs. (We made a BIG batch of pasta to feed our crowd, but I’ll share the recipe amounts for SIX SERVINGS below.) We beat the eggs in that well and we slowly pulled the flour into the beaten eggs until all of the flour and the eggs were combined. Then I added just enough cold water to allow me to work the dough into a lump.
I began to knead the dough with the palms of my hands. I pushed the dough forward and turned it a quarter turn each time. A good mixture must never stick to your fingers. If it’s too wet add a little more flour. Too dry? Add more water, just a sprinkle at a time!
Cut the large lump of dough into several smaller pieces. Select one to work with and cover the other clumps of dough with a damp towel to keep it from drying out.
You really need a pasta machine to finish the process, but I guess you could roll out the dough with a rolling pin and cut the pasta with a knife. But we weren’t going THAT “old school”. (A pasta machine actually makes the process fun!)
Set the pasta machine to Setting #1, and pass the lump of dough through the rollers by turning the handle on the machine. Fold the dough in half and pass it through again. Repeat this step 5 or 6 times. Then move the dial to Setting #2 and repeat the process. Keep running the dough through and increase the setting numbers until the dough is the desired thickness for the type of pasta you are making. (My pasta machine has 7 settings, but we stopped after Setting #5 since that was the proper dough thickness to make fettuccini.)
I turned the crank for quite awhile…but when my arm got tired Big Sis stepped in to save the day…and my arm! It was a team effort all along.
THIS is how kids learn to take pride in their efforts!
Little Sis had the job of hanging the freshly cut pasta on a drying rack. She made sure the strands weren’t touching each other. Another job well done!
What amazing memories we are blessed to make in my kitchen…
And dinner that night? Chicken and Mushroom Fettuccine Alfredo…from scratch! (If you’d like, I’ll share that recipe another time.)
Our son had arrived that day to take the girls back to Indiana so he was able to enjoy the fruits of our labor for dinner that night. As he polished off his second helping he told the girls that pasta dish would have cost $50 in a fancy restaurant! I wish you could have seen the smiles on those little girl’s faces. They were SO proud of their kitchen success…and so was Meemaw.
Those three smiling faces were priceless.
Homemade Pasta From Scratch
- 4 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 4 Large Eggs
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. Salt (Optional)
- Water, As Needed
MAKING THE DOUGH:
Dump the flour in a mound onto a very clean countertop and make a well in the center. Add the eggs into the well and gently beat them. Slowly pull the flour mixture into the eggs and stir with a fork to combine. When flour and eggs are combined add water (about one tablespoon at a time) until dough can be clumped together into a ball. Sprinkle some flour on the counter and knead the dough until it becomes smooth. (A good mixture should never stick to your fingers!) Cut the large lump of dough into 3 or 4 pieces and select one piece to work with at a time. Cover the remaining dough with a damp cloth to keep from drying out.
PREPARING THE PASTA WITH THE MACHINE
Set the machine on Setting #1. Pass a piece of dough through the rollers. Fold the dough in half and run it through the rollers again. Repeat this process about five times. Then move the dial to Setting #2 and repeat the same process about 5-6 times. Then move dial to Setting #3 and repeat. Continue this process until dough is smooth and when the dough reaches the proper thickness for the type of pasta you are making. Then run the dough through the Cutting Setting to make the strands of pasta. If possible, hang the strands to dry for at least 30 minutes or so. (Make sure the strands do not touch each other or they will stick together.) Repeat all of these steps with the remaining lumps of dough.
When ready to cook, remember fresh pasta cooks much quicker than the kind from a box, so watch closely so as not to overcook!