During my apprenticeship I made fresh pasta every day. Mixing, kneading and rolling for four years. I swore to never put myself through that ever again, but realistically, that never happened. Yes I’ve bought my fair share of dried pasta since, but now and again it’s nice to spend the time and create it by hand. It isn’t all that difficult after all.
When it comes down to comparing freshly made pasta to bought dried pasta, the difference is beyond obvious. The texture, the taste, and of course the cooking time. I know I’ll still continue using dried past due to its convenience, but it’ll never beat the stuff that’s made by your own hands.
Place the flour onto a work surface and flatten into an 18 cm round. Make a 12cm hollow in the centre and pour the eggs into it. Using your fingers in a stirring motion, gradually incorporate the flour until the eggs and flour are mixed together. Knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes or until it’s soft and satiny.
If it’s too soft add a little more flour. If it’s too firm, just wet your hands and knead again. Repeat if necessary.
Shape the dough into a ball, cover with plastic and refrigerate for an hour before rolling. Alternatively, refrigerate overnight if you’re planning on cooking with it the following day.
To roll by hand, cut the dough into half and, using a rolling pin and a floured surface, roll to 5 mm and fold in half. Roll again and repeat this process a few times before rolling to 2 mm. Remember to keep a little flour on the dough as you’re doing this.
To roll by pasta machine, cut the dough in half and pass it through the rollers at the widest setting. Fold in half and pass it through again, repeating this process a few times. Reduce the settings as you continue to roll after this point until the dough is at the desired thickness.
Dust a little flour onto the rolled dough on both sides and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so to dry a little. You can cut and cook the sheets in boiling salted water for lasagne, or pass the sheets through the pasta roller cutting attachment for spaghetti or fettuccine. If doing by hand, carefully cut long strips from the sheets of dough using a knife or pasta cutter.
To cook, drop the pasta into lots of salted boiling water, cooking for approximately 5 minutes, or until al dente. Alternatively roll the strips of pasta into coils, dust with a little flour and store them in the fridge for a day or so, covered with plastic wrap.