How can something so simple be so delicious, but yet few venture to make their own fresh handmade egg pasta. Learning to make fresh egg pasta might seem daunting at first, but if you follow the time tested steps and with a little practice you’ll be making your own fresh pasta too.
The alchemy and lore of cooking can often keep us from venturing into new culinary territories. Handmade Egg Pasta falls into this category. There is a mystery that surrounds pasta making, but pasta in all shapes and forms have been made for centuries in Italy. The art of pasta making is a skill that is passed down from generations to generations. So entwined is pasta in the culture that the first course of a dinner is called “Primo” where pasta takes center stage as the first course.
Today you will learn how to transform flour and eggs into delectable silky pasta. Along with some basic equipment and a little bit of elbow grease you’ll be on your way to making your own fresh pasta. I encourage you to make this a family affair and have some helping hands to roll and shape the pasta.
The recipe for fresh egg pasta is really simple: 1 large egg for every 100 grams of flour. This is a time tested formula and because of this I will only be giving the recipe in grams rather than cups. Measuring flour can vary greatly since not all measuring cups are created equal. I prefer using 00 Italian Flour used to make pizza. The 00 refers to the fineness of the grind of the flour not to the protein content. The protein content of 00 flour falls into same range as all-purpose flour.
There are some traditional pieces of equipment that are nice to acquire that make the job of rolling out the dough easier, although not necessary. Using the rolling pin and work surface you have will still produce wonderful pasta. (No excuses for not making your own pasta)
- Large Wooden Board – 24″ x 36″ (61 mm x 91 mm) Use to mix, knead, and roll the pasta on. I purchased a sanded piece of 1″ thick plywood at the local hardware store and had them cut it down to size.
- Mattarello (Italian Rolling Pin) – the long length of the pin is used to roll large sheets of pasta evenly over the wooden board. A thick wooden dowel or broom handle can work in its place. Traditional Matterellos can be a hard to find item in the United States. I would suggest checking with the Italian Specialty market in your area. I purchased mine in Bologna and Florence, Italy while there celebrating my 50th birthday. Here is a link to a Mattarello producer here in the United States: http://www.artisanalpastatools.com/pastapin.shtml
- Brass Wheeled Pasta Cutter – Produces lovely fluted edges on the pasta especially nice when making Farfalle. You can always suggest one of these as a gift for you for your birthday!
- Butter Paddle or Sushi Mat – used to form the ridges in the Cavatelli. The tines of a fork will work also.
- Semolina Flour – used to dust the pasta once rolled out to keep the cut pieces from sticking to each other.
Ingredients for making fresh egg pasta:
- 00 Flour from Italy – Found in Italian Specialty markets or online. I prefer the 00 flour for its silkiness in fresh egg pasta, but All-Purpose Flour will work find. I recommend using an unbleached and unbromated all-purpose flour like King Arthur Flour.
- Eggs (large) – If your able to purchase farm fresh eggs in your local area or have your own chickens your pasta will taste even better. If so, make sure the eggs are sized as “Large.” For those who don’t have access to a farm our grocery stores now carry “Free Range Eggs” which will produce a delicious pasta as well.
Below you will find cooking and storage hints for your Handmade Egg Pasta.
The YouTube video for Handmade Egg Pasta – Shaped 9 Ways is on the bottom of this blog post. Click to Subscribe!
- Manual Scale or Electronic Scale
- Small Mixing Bowl
- Metal Bench Knife
- Large Wooden Board – or your counter
- Mattarello or Rolling Pin
- Plastic Wrap
- Wheeled Pasta Cutter (optional)
- Semolina Flour for dusting
- 2 Large Cotton Kitchen Towel
- 2 Half Sheet Pans
- 500 grams 00 Flour (Italian) or All-Purpose Flour
- 5 each Eggs (large, room temperature)
Mixing and Kneading the Egg Pasta Dough:
- Weigh 500 grams of 00 Flour and place onto the wooden board or work surface.
- Form a well in the center of the flour.
- Crack the eggs (checking for shells) and add the eggs to the well in the flour.
- Use a fork to whisk the eggs together.
- Slowly incorporate a flour into the eggs and blend until a thick paste forms.
- Scrape off the fork.
- Use the Metal Bench Knife to scrape the flour into the paste and cut the mixture together until it starts to come together.
- Firmly press the mixture together to begin breaking down the dry bits and incorporating them into the dough. Use the dough to pick up any stray pieces on the board.
- Knead firmly to continue to incorporate all the dry bits into the dough and until the dough becomes cohesive. (The dough will be very firm at this stage)
- Continue to knead for 10 to 12 minutes or until the dough is smooth and small blisters form on the surface. (The dough will be slightly less firm at this stage)
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes before rolling or forming into the pasta shapes.
Rolling and Shaping the Pasta: Shaped 9 Ways
I won’t be giving you a step by step written directions for this part, rather I’ll refer you to the “Time Stamp” on the video. I will also include the names of each shape and the preferred pasta sauce to accompany each. The full YouTube video is at the bottom of this post.
- Click on the Time Stamp to go directly to that portion of the video to watch the process in action.
Rolling a Sheet of Pasta: (time stamp: 2:42 – 4:02)
Filini – Used for broth base soups. (time stamp: 4:03 – 4:42)
Pappardelle – Long wide ribbons of pasta are perfect for rich meaty sauces such as a Ragu or Bolognese work beautifully with this pasta. (time stamp: 4:45 – 5:05)
Farfalle – We may know them as bow ties, but this shape is actually named for fluttering butterflies. This pasta is very versatile and can be used with meat, cheese, butter/oil, pesto, and tomato based sauces, soups, or in pasta salads. (time stamp: 5:06 – 6:04)
Tagliatelle – Thinner ribbons of pasta pair with Meat Sauces such as Ragu and Bolognese. (time stamp: 6:05 – 6:23)
Strozzapreti – Literal means: Priest-chokers, Priest-stranglers. These shapes are well suited for tomato and meat sauces. (time stamp: 6:24 – 7:12)
Trofie – Pesto of any variety is the preferred sauce to accompany this pasta shape. (time stamp: (time stamp: 7:13 – 8:26)
Fusilli – This is another pasta shape that can be used for meat, cheese, butter/oil, pesto, and tomato based sauces, in soups, pasta salads or baked. (time stamp: 8:28 – 9:21)
Cavatelli – This scoop shape with ridges is perfect for tomato base or pesto sauces. (time stamp: 9:24 – 10:10)
Orecchiette – These “little ears” are popular for their soft rounded shape that adapts to all types of olive oil and vegetable based sauces such as Broccoli Rabe, Red Pepper and Anchovies, Sausage and Swiss Chard, or Walnut and Bread Crumb Pesto. They are wonderful as a pasta salad also. (time stamp: 10:12 – 11:06)
Fresh Pasta Cooking and Storage Tips:
- Cooking times will vary for each shape of pasta. Check after 2 minutes to see if the pasta is al dente (to the tooth) if not keep cooking and checking every minute until done.
- Always cook pasta in a very large pan of salted, boiling water. If you don’t give the pasta enough space to move in the pan, it will stick together. Italians say the water should be as salty as the sea to flavor the pasta.
- There is no need to add olive oil to your pasta when cooking. It won’t prevent it from sticking together, and will just end up down the drain.
- Don’t cook the pasta all the way through in the water. Instead, drain it when it still has a little bite, then add to the sauce and continue cooking for a few minutes more until the pasta is cooked and has absorbed the sauce. In Italy the pasta and sauce are always combined in the pan to ensure every piece of pasta is coated.
- When draining the pasta, make sure you save a cup of the pasta water. Then, when you add the pasta to the sauce, splash in a little of the water if it looks too dry. The starch in the water will help the sauce cling to the pasta. Better yet use a pasta scoop to move the pasta from the water to the sauce in a pan.
- To store the pasta: Place the shaped pasta onto a cotton kitchen towel lined sheet tray, cover the pasta with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator until you need to cook.
- Drying the Pasta: The pasta can be left on the cotton kitchen towel uncovered until completely dried and then stored in an air-tight container; The Pasta can be stored for up to 2 months
- Freezing the Pasta: Place the pasta on the sheet tray and place the sheet tray into the freezer. Freeze the pasta completely and then move to an air-tight plastic freezer bag. The past can be boiled directly from the freezer; The Pasta can be stored up to 2 months