Fresh Egg Pasta
Three simple ingredients are all you need to make fresh pasta at home: flour, eggs, salt. What type of flour to use depends on what type of dish you want to make with your pasta (see tips below). The method given here sees the dough mixed by hand on the kitchen bench, Nonna-style – but you can do this in a large bowl, or using a stand mixer or food processor if you prefer.
In a bowl, whisk the salt into the flour, then turn out onto a bare, clean kitchen bench. Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack in the eggs. Use a fork to whisk the eggs together, then using your hands, begin taking flour from the outside into the eggy centre, mixing it into the egg as you go. Continue until you have an even, soft dough – there may still be remnants of flour scattered around, that’s okay.
Knead the dough firmly for 4-5 mins, incorporating leftover bits of flour if needed to prevent dough sticking. You can stop kneading once the dough is springy and smooth, with no air bubbles visible.
Wrap ball of dough in cling film, and leave to rest for 30 mins before rolling out and cutting.
Once the dough has rested and is ready to roll out, have a bowl of flour on hand and keep dusting dough with flour as you roll and cut, to prevent it sticking.
Once cut, dust pasta with flour again, and either gather into nests or drape over a rack (if you don’t have a pasta drying rack, use coathangers or a laundry rack) and leave to dry for 30 mins before cooking.
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, salt it generously (till it tastes like the Mediterranean Sea is a popular adage), add pasta and cook at a vigorous boil for 4-5 mins.
Using ‘00’ flour, which is more refined and softer, makes for a silky-smooth pasta, while using semolina flour yields a rougher-texted pasta which sauce will adhere to nicely. Research and experiment to find what works for the dish you’re making. ‘00’ flour tends to suit ravioli and other stuffed pastas, as well as long shapes like tagliatelle, and silky lasagne sheets. Semolina flour is great for rustic hand-formed and textured shapes.
Adding oil is optional, it can help bring the dough together if you’re new to pasta making. Whisk in 2-3 tsp olive oil along with the eggs.
A pasta machine makes light work of rolling and slicing the dough into even shapes, but equally, you can use a rolling pin and knife, and get creative with shaping the pasta free-form into whatever shape takes your fancy.
Kitchen tools like a Microplane, a fork, or a bamboo sushi mat can be seconded to add texture to your pasta shapes. (Check out our Dictionary of Pasta on farro.co.nz for inspiration.
If you’re not cooking it right away, fresh pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. To freeze – shape into nests, and freeze in a single layer on a lined baking tray before transferring pasta nests to an airtight freezer bag. Bring pasta to room temperature before cooking. You can also dry pasta to store – leave it to dry for several hours until completely brittle, then, handling carefully so as not to crack it, store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups flour