Homemade Pasta

Yesterday was my 26th birthday, and I spent a fun evening with my favorite people. They loved the honey-lavender profiteroles that I served for dessert, so that made for a happy birthday girl.

My wonderful, generous parents bought me an Imperia pasta machine, and I had the opportunity to put it to its first use this afternoon. It is FABULOUS! Making pasta is a goal I’ve had for quite some time, and over the past few months, I’ve researched a variety of recipes and watched videos on making pasta at home. I felt adequately prepared for trying it out today. It’s amazingly simple and quick to make your own with a pasta machine, and the best part is that it only requires eggs and flour.

Homemade PastaMy particular machine has two cutting settings – spaghetti and fettucine. I opted for the wider noodle to go with a flavorful jarred tomato sauce we picked up several weeks ago.

When a jarred sauce THIS good is available in stores, I'm perfectly content with buying tomato sauce instead of making it.

When a jarred sauce THIS good is available in stores, I’m perfectly content with buying tomato sauce instead of making it.

So for this month’s Our Growing Edge event (hosted by Bunny.Eats.Design), I will be documenting my first pasta-making experience. It was extremely satisfying lowering my tender, freshly-cut noodles into their big pot of salted, boiling water. The bowl of delicious, made-from-scratch, al dente pasta was encouraging. I’m really looking forward to trying filled pastas next…

our-growing-edge-badge

The recipe I went with only calls for 1-2/3 cup of flour and two eggs. That’s it! It makes enough pasta for about four modest portions.

IMG_0801Out of all the information I sifted through, no one beats the eggs before adding them to the well of flour. Instead, they “fork” them within the delicate confines of flour. That just seemed nonsensical, so I lightly beat mine before adding them to the center of the well, in hopes of maintaining more “mess control.” (I still made a bit of a mess on the counter in spite of doing that extra precautionary step.)

I used unbleached all-purpose flour, but the majority of experienced pasta-makers recommend Italian “00” flour. Our grocery stores don’t carry this, so I used what we have. If, at some point, I run across “00” flour, I may try it and do a comparison. However, the texture and bite of this dough using all-purpose was perfect for our tastes.

IMG_0803So the neat, tidy process pretty much came to a halt after adding the eggs to the well. This part was the must unpleasant due to the mess it creates. Next time, I will just do the mixing in a bowl or mixer since the goal at this stage is just to incorporate the eggs with the flour. I suppose the idea of mixing the dough on the work surface is to minimize dish-washing, but the counter-cleaning is equally laborious. I’m also considering using my stand mixer next time to assist with the kneading.

IMG_0806Once the dough comes together (you may need to add tiny amounts of warm water if it seems too dry) into a smooth ball, cover it in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes. Some recipes recommend letting the dough rest for an hour, but others recommend as little as 10 minutes. I compromised and set it aside for a half hour at room temperature.

Homemade PastaThe next step is to cut the dough into workable amounts in order to prevent it from drying out. I cut mine into quarters.

Homemade PastaWorking with a quarter at a time (keeping the remaining pieces wrapped), slightly flatten it into somewhat of a rectangle. Now, let the machine do the rest!

Homemade PastaNext, you send it through the pasta machine’s rollers, starting with the widest setting and working your way to the ideal thickness for your chosen noodle. I ran mine through to the second-to-last thinness, and we were pleased with that.

This Imperia machine has limited cutting options “as is,” but there are several other attachments you can purchase.

Homemade Pasta…and voila!

The pasta now dries for about ten minutes before boiling so that they are less prone to sticking together. Apparently this drying period also helps shaped pastas hold their shape.

Homemade PastaAnother video I watched recommended sprinkling the noodles with cornmeal to prevent sticking and clumping; cornmeal is used instead of flour so that the boiling water doesn’t get gummy when the pasta is added. The cormeal just bows out and sinks to the bottom. Boil for about three minutes, add to your favorite sauce, and you’re finished!

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with my first attempt. The texture was silky and tender, yet perfectly al dente, and it was great with just a little tomato sauce, parsley, and cheese.

It’s so easy (and pretty fun!) that I’ll probably want to make the pasta for all of our pasta meals now. There’s so much experimenting that can be done with flavors, shapes, and fillings…endless possibilities.

Homemade Pasta

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13 thoughts on “Homemade Pasta

  1. Happy Birthday! Gorgeous photos. I bet you can’t wait to do crazy coloured pasta?

  2. Happy Birthday. Here’s my mid week pasta making tip. I just tip my flour and eggs into the food processor and pulse until it forms a ball. Then take it out and knead and rest as per usual. My mother has made me promise whatever method I use to bring the pasta ball together I will always knead my pasta for at least 10 minutes to make it soft, supple and elastic. Have fun with your new machine.

  3. Happy birthday! This looks amazing – enjoy your new pasta-makin adventure.

  4. bec {daisy and the fox} says:

    yumm! this pasta looks wonderful! 🙂
    once you’ve had homemade you can never go back!
    and happy 26th! 😀

  5. I just bought a pasta maker and have been looking for an easy recipe. The pasta looks light and absolutely so fresh. I am going to try it! thank you 🙂

    • Fantastic! You’ll have to let me know how it turns out. It really is the best recipe I’ve tried so far; I searched high and low for semolina flour and when I finally found some and made a batch with it, I was disappointed in the outcome. THIS recipe is easy and delicious, though!

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