How to Make Pasta Dough
I’m not going to lie to you and say that making your own pasta is the easiest thing in the world, but it’s also important that you know it’s not hardest. I generally only do it if I want to make pasta for a special occasion, or want to make my own stuffed pasta like ravioli or anglelotti. Neither the ingredients, nor the techniques are overly complicated, it just takes a bit of time, and patience…and in the end I find it worth it. Below is my technique for a pasta dough that can be used for any of the long spaghetti shapes (linguini, pappardelle, etc) or stuffed pastas.
- All purpose flour
- Eggs (about 1.5 to 2 eggs for every cup of flour)
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
A note on quantities: I’m rarely one to pay close attention to measurements, and frankly they are not all that important here (being able to tell if the dough is too wet or dry is important). I find you need about 2 eggs, per cup of flour, and that amount will yield enough pasta for 2 people. However, the recipe scales up very easily, and when I make pasta I tend to make a lot, and freeze what I don’t use.
The Well Method
While you can use an electric mixer to bring the dough together, I prefer the well method for a couple reasons. First, I like the control and “feel” I get from having my hands in the dough, and two, I find the benefits the mixer gives me in speed, I lose in cleaning the thing up.
- To make the pasta using the well method, dump your flour out on a cutting board, and mounded high like a mountain. Then, starting at the top/center of that mountain, scrape and push out the flour to form a volcano shape…that is your well.
- It is in this well that you’ll drop in the eggs, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Note: for a richer, more yellow pasta, withhold some of the egg white and add more yolks.
- Once in, use a fork to “scramble” the eggs, as you would make scrambled eggs, and slowly (but with purpose) as you scramble, bring into the egg mix some of the flour on the inside edges of the well. Be careful not to break through the wall, or the eggs may go running all over the place.
- As you incorporate more flour, the mixture will get thicker and thicker until you can get more aggressive bringing in flour, and once stable enough, you can abandon the fork and just use your hands
How long do I mix
- It’s tough to over mix the dough, so don’t worry too much about that. Rather, you want to make sure you get the right consistency in the dough, and you control that by kneading in more or less flour
- You’re looking for the dough to be good and firm, and it should not stick to your hands. It’s still too wet if you find it sticks to the board or you hands you when knead it. Once the dough stops absorbing new flour, and has a nice firm feel you probably have the right texture.
- Spend about 10 minutes kneading the dough on the cutting board to develop the gluten (dust with flour to prevent sticking), and at this time the dough should have nice bounce back – this will give the end product have nice firm texture.
- Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour before you roll it out for pasta
Once you've got the dough put together, you can either freeze it as is, or roll it out into sheets to make whatever types of pasta you'd like.