I’ve been wanting to make pasta noodles from scratch for a while. When we got a stand mixer for a wedding gift, we also got a ravioli attachment. I’ve always wanted to use it, but it seems pretty useless without a pasta roller. Since the pasta press attachment costs a cool $150, I thought I’d better buy a cheaper version first and make sure I’m using it often enough to justify the cost of going electric, so to speak. I picked up a manual pasta press for about $35 and decided to get down to business.
After my long and frustrating experiment in homemade bread making, I was leery of starting a new hobby that involved flour. Had I known that making pasta from scratch was so easy, I would have started years ago. To make basic egg noodles, here’s everything you need:
Homemade Linguine Noodles
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- water, if needed
I could have used the stand mixer to knead the dough, but I always think it’s worth doing things the hard way at least once to know what ‘too wet’ and ‘too dry’ looks and feels like.
Pour the flour on a clean working surface. Run your fingers through it to break up any lumps. Make a well in the middle and add the wet ingredients.
Fold everything onto itself until the mixture starts to bind. Sometimes I have to add a couple of handfuls of water to get the dough to bind so I can knead it properly. Other times, I have to add more flour to stiffen it up a bit. Once the dough ball is formed, cover it with a damp towel for about 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.
Next, use a dough cutter to break off 1/4 inch pieces, one at a time. Using the press, you run the dough through on the widest setting. You keep adding flour and folding it over onto itself until it takes on a reliable shape (meaning there aren’t any bits hanging off the edges anymore).
Then you run it through the press, narrowing the width with each pass until it reaches the desired thickness. It can get pretty long. This is one of those times where having a kitchen island on wheels comes in really handy.
Finally, you pass the dough through the cutter. My machine cuts linguine/fettuccine and spaghetti noodles.
You shake the fresh pasta strands with a little flour so the noodles don’t stick together and repeat the process until there’s no more dough. That’s pretty much it. My dough ball made enough pasta to fill a 9 x 9 inch casserole dish, or enough to feed four people comfortably. I left the noodles in the fridge for about 6 hours until dinner.
Fresh pasta cooks really fast. You just bring a pot of heavily salted water to a rolling boil and add the noodles. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking.
After a few minutes, they’re done cooking. I figured, what better way could there be to eat fresh, homemade pasta than in a carbonara?
This was the best pasta alla carbonara I’ve ever made, even though –gasp!– I used bacon instead of guanciale or pancetta. The wife was very pleased with the texture and taste of the noodles, which is a big deal because she seems to have texture issues with everything that I like these days.
Next time I’m going to experiment with some eggless noodles and flavored pastas.