Fresh pasta is undoubtedly better than store-bought. Did you know how easy it is to make pasta from scratch in your own home? I’m giving you the best homemade pasta recipe along with my fail-proof tips and tricks so that you have perfect pasta every time.
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Sometimes I get taken back when people ask me what my favorite thing to cook is and it really shouldn’t. To set the record straight, my favorite all-time thing to make/cook of all is pasta, hands down!
The process of making pasta from scratch, for me, is so therapeutic and relaxing, much like making bread dough can be. Though I realize that the thought of making your own fresh pasta at home can seem a bit daunting but if you follow my tips, making pasta from scratch will be a breeze!
Why Should I Make Homemade Pasta
Before I begin with giving you all of my awesome tips on making the best homemade pasta, you might be asking why you ought to try making it from scratch.
First and foremost, homemade pasta is healthier for you. Since fresh pasta has just a few ingredients in the recipe, you don’t have to worry about shelf stabilizing preservatives. And eating less processed foods is better for you all around.
Making pasta from scratch is also a cheaper alternative than buying from the store. Without going into too much math of breaking down portion costs and whatnot. You can make a pound of fresh pasta for literal pennies, which is less than what you would pay at the store for a pound of dried pasta. The trick is to make the pasta in bulk which will save you money over time.
Why Is Homemade Pasta Better
When I first started culinary school, I was working at a little Italian bistro and among the many things they made in-house was pasta. At the time, I was just a lonely prep cook so I did a lot of the easy, yet mundane tasks. Then it came up in a conversation between my sous chef and head chef that instead of ordering from their “mother” store, they would like me to start making their pasta. I met with the head chef and began my training on how to make homemade pasta dough.
One of the many things he taught me that you can’t really have a set recipe with pasta dough because there are so many variables that affect the dough. The key to making incredible dough? Work with your bare hands.
Working with your hands gives you complete and total control over the feel of your dough since you can literally tell if your dough is too dry or too wet or needs more kneading.
Kneading your dough in a machine prevents you from feeling with your hands exactly what your dough needs. However sometimes you need to make your dough in a machine. My suggestion is use a machine just to get your dough started and then do most of your kneading with your hands.
What Ingredients are In Homemade Pasta
This is what I love about making pasta from scratch, I know exactly what goes into it. And it also only takes 3 ingredients to make homemade pasta.
All you need are
- Flour (we’ll go into those details in a bit)
That’s it! Now if you want to make flavored pasta, then of course there’s a few more ingredients but still minimal.
I should note that if you want to make pasta that is vegan, you can absolutely omit the eggs in the pasta recipe and just add water until the right consistency is achieved.
What Flour is Best For Homemade Pasta
Let’s talk about flour! Getting the perfect homemade pasta comes down to the perfect flour. In my humble opinion, the best flour to use for making pasta at home is semolina.
Others can argue that 00 flour (the same flour used to make absolutely delectable pizza dough) is the way to go, but I find that semolina flour, being a very sturdy flour, creates an awesome, strong base for homemade pasta that is quite literally put through the wringer. Pizza dough is not worked all too much as compared to pasta dough, so I want a flour that can withstand the beating I put my dough through.
For my health nuts out there or those who don’t have a ton of extra space/money laying around, you can make pasta dough out of different flours.
If you want whole wheat pasta, substitute the wheat flour out for the semolina 1:1. Those with tight spaces and tight budgets, all-purpose flour definitely works as well. If you do want to treat yourself to some fantastic pasta, though, semolina flour is less than $4 at your local grocery store
Can you really taste the difference between pasta made with semolina flour and all-purpose flour??? The answer is an astounding YES! I find that pasta made with AP flour to be denser and chewy, whereas pasta made with semolina is more delicate and suppler.
How to Make Homemade Pasta Dough
I want to give you a few methods of making your own pasta dough at home so that you don’t feel like you need to go out and buy expensive equipment. The base of making pasta dough from scratch is rather simple:
- Make a well
- Add egg
- Knead until dough is smooth
How to Make Pasta without a Machine
Make a well with the flour on a clean counter. In the middle of the well, place your eggs and begin to mix with your fingers in a circular motion. Once the dough begins to come together, then start kneading the dough with your hands.
From there, you can roll the dough with a rolling pin and cut the pasta into various shapes with cutters or knives.
Similarly, If you don’t have a mixer but don’t want to dirty up your counter place flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl, create a well in the bottom and add your eggs. Using a fork, mix the eggs into the flour until the dough comes together. Knead outside of the bowl.
How to Make Pasta with a KitchenAid
I am a huge fan of using a KitchenAid for making pasta because of all of the nifty attachments that can cut and shape the fresh pasta dough.
If I were to make pasta in a KitchenAid mixer, I would start out placing the flour in a mixing bowl. Turn on the mixer, fixed with a kneading dough hook, and being to mix on the lowest setting. Add eggs until dough comes together.
What to Make With Fresh Pasta Dough
The aim in making fresh pasta dough is to make fresh pasta… obviously. But there are different ways to shape your pasta. You can make ribbon pasta or you can make shaped pasta. In all of these methods, you want to knead the dough for 7 minutes. That’s right, 7 minutes!
Pasta dough needs to have enough gluten strands built up to withstand the rolling and stretching it goes through to make the noodles or other various shapes. You will know if you kneaded your dough enough if the dough ball is smooth and after resting for 30 minutes when you cut the ball and see wonderful layers!
How to Make Fresh Ribbon Pasta
I personally love using my rolling attachment for my stand mixer, however if you don’t happen to have a stand mixer with a rolling attachment, I have used a counter top roller before and it works well. They have manual crank ones, as well as electric powered ones.
First thing to remember when rolling out pasta is always make sure that your roller is at the widest setting. This will depend on the roller you use as to what that number is, either 1 or 8. If you don’t start at the widest setting, you will mess up the gears and eventually it won’t roll properly anymore. Sad day.
As you begin to roll out your dough, you want to continue to build layers and increase the strength of the dough. When rolling in the widest setting, once the dough has passed the rollers, fold the dough in half and send it through the rollers again. I do this process, alternating passing it through horizontally and vertically to create the layers, about 4-5 times or until I achieve a rectangular shape in my pasta sheet.
Once this happens, then I start to narrow the rollers, one number at a time (and not folding between each pass) until I get to the desired thickness. If you’re doing noodles (linguine, fettucini, or even papardelle etc), you’ll want to stop at about the 3 setting from the thinnest. If you’re doing pasta sheets for lasagna or ravioli, I would go about second from thinnest because the pasta will be thicker where it overlaps. Ravioli is a whole other monster, so read more about it in this post.
After the pasta has been rolled and stretched, you can then pass the dough through the cutter attachment, making sure to place the cut pasta on a sheet pan covered in semolina flour. It’s also a good practice to dust each strand of pasta with semolina to keep the strands from sticking to each other.
How to Create Homemade Shaped Pasta
If you want to create shaped pasta, you really need to invest in this nifty Pasta Press Attachment for a KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s as simple as balling up pasta dough and feeding it into the machine with a specified die at the bottom.
There are other options, however, if you don’t have a KitchenAid mixer. A stand-alone pasta extruder, like this one, would work just as well! Shaped pasta, as well as ribbon pasta, need to be tossed in semolina flour after being cut and before storage so that they don’t stick together.
There are awesome videos out there about making your own unique shaped pastas out on the internet. This particular guy totally inspires me and I want to create pasta shapes like him.
How to Store Homemade Pasta
Once the fresh pasta is made, you have two options:
- You can cook it right away
- You have to store it
Now if you need two store it, let me share with you what I like to do.
If I’m cooking pasta within a day of making it, I just store the pasta portions in a plastic baggy in the fridge. Anything more than a day and the pasta starts to discolor.
If I’m not going to be cooking the pasta within a day, I let my pasta freeze on the sheet pan over night and then put the portions into baggies. Frozen pasta lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months depending on the baggy and where you placed it in your freezer.
If you are cooking frozen pasta, you don’t have to worry about thawing it before cooking. Just place it in the water and cook like you normally would.
How to Cook Homemade Pasta
You may have guessed that fresh pasta cooks a differently from the dried, store bought kind and you would have guessed right! And don’t feel like you have to cook fresh pasta differently than store-bought pasta. For instance, if there is a recipe that calls for the pasta to be cooked within a sauce, you can do that with fresh pasta. The key is the difference in cooking time.
Dried pasta takes about 7-9 minutes to reach al dente, soft but still has a touch of firmness to it. Fresh pasta takes about 3-5 minutes to cook.
It goes fast! So, if you are making a dish with fresh pasta, make sure that the rest of your dish is about done before cooking your pasta; it’ll be done quicker than you think!
If you’ve made a dinner with fresh pasta that results in leftovers, you don’t have to do anything special to reheat. I just pop my dinner with the homemade pasta in the microwave and it’s as good as new!
Troubleshooting Fresh Pasta Problems
Over the course of this posts life, I have had comments left that I feel like I ought to address in order to help you have the best experience making pasta at home.
Why Does My Homemade Pasta Break
So this answer varies based on which point in the process the pasta breaks. If it’s after the pasta dries, it just happens and there’s nothing you can do about it.
However, if the pasta breaks while rolling the dough, it’s possible that you haven’t worked your pasta dough enough to build the sufficient gluten it needs.
Or it can be that the dough gets caught on the rollers because it’s a tad wet. This is fixed but just passing the dough through the rollers more to dry out the dough a bit and to develop gluten.
Why is My Homemade Pasta Rubbery
Homemade pasta can become rubbery when it’s overcooked. Make sure to only cook homemade pasta for 3-5 minutes. Anything other than that and it’s rubbery.
Why is My Pasta Chewy/ Feels Tough
Fresh pasta has a slightly different mouth feel and texture than store bought pasta. If you’ve never had pasta made by hand before, it could be that it’s just a different texture than you’ve experienced before.
However, if this isn’t your first rodeo, it might possibly be that the dough was really over worked, which would be incredible since semolina is a really tough flour.
I believe I have covered all the basics for successfully making pasta at home. Keep all these tips in mind and you can make amazing pasta yourself.
If you found this post to be incredibly helpful and the recipe on point, drop a note in the comments along with a rating!
What goes together more perfectly with fresh pasta than fresh tomato sauce??? Nothing! Check out this how-to guide to making a quick and tasty tomato sauce to make a perfect spaghetti dinner.
If you like making homemade pasta, you might like these other tutorials:
Here are some other delicious fresh pasta recipes you might enjoy:
Look here for more inspiring pasta recipes:
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- 1/2 cup semolina flour, 00 or all-purpose flours are great substitutes
- 1-2 eggs
- 1/4 cup water, to add to dough if too dry
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Make a well with semolina and add egg.
- Mix together until dough ball forms.
- Knead dough for 7 minutes, until smooth.
- Cover dough ball with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Shape pasta as desired.
KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Red
3 Piece Pasta Roller Cutter Attachment
KitchenAid KSMPEXTA Gourmet Pasta Press Attachment with 6 Interchangeable Pasta Plates, White
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 4 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 366 Total Fat 17g Saturated Fat 6g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 93mg Sodium 340mg Carbohydrates 45g Fiber 2g Sugar 0g Protein 7g