By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen
Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.
Making pasta by hand is as satisfying as fooling around with Play-Doh. It’s also a fun group dinner activity. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps of making pasta, from making the dough to cooking it. Plus, a bunch of our favorite fresh noodle recipes on the Food Network.
The answer to this question largely depends on the type of pasta you’re making.
All-purpose flour is a perfectly viable option for making pasta. So is the bread dough. You’ll only need to mix in the eggs to add protein to the mix (for pasta to retain its shape and distinctive texture when cooked, the dough must contain starch and protein). Also, you’ll have to knead the dough a little longer to activate the gluten and achieve a smooth, elastic result.
00 Wheat flour is made from durum wheat that is finely ground into flour. It has less protein than semolina flour and makes for a soft dough that is ideal for recipes like tagliatelle, ravioli and linguine. If you can’t find it in your supermarket, you can mix in more soft flour.
Bang flour is also milled from durum wheat. It is coarser and has a higher protein content than 00 wheat flour, making it less elastic. The best are pastas that need to maintain grooves and ridges when cooking, such as hot dogs or macaroni.
Flour mixes are also available. For example, King Arthur Baking Company sells a cake that combines flour, semolina, and all-purpose flour. This type of mixture can be used to make any pasta dish.
Here, we will show you how to make pasta with all-purpose flour.
First, stuff the flour and salt in the center of your cutting board or bowl. Make a well in the middle and break your eggs and put them in the well. If your recipe calls for olive oil in the dough, add it now. Use a fork to get the dry ingredients wet, starting at the inner rim of the well. Continue adding flour to the egg mixture in the center until the eggs are completely absorbed.
The dough will form a shaggy mass. Use your hands to pull the dough together, mix until the sticky rice is dry. If the dough is very sticky, add a little more flour at a time until smooth. If it’s dry, collect the wettest parts and keep the driest parts aside. Form a ball and start kneading it with your heels. Use less flour or the pasta will be tough.
After the surface of the dough is slightly smooth and still slightly sticky, shape into a ball and cover with cling film. Let it rest at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes. While the dough rests, the starch in the dough will draw water from the egg and the gluten will stretch out a bit.
While the dough rests, prepare the rest of your workstation. If you are using a hand-cranked pasta machine, make sure it is firmly clamped to the counter. If you have an electric pasta roller, check to make sure you don’t have long sleeves or hair that could get pulled into the machine. Place the noodle roller in the widest position.
You will need a place to put the pasta after rolling. For cut pasta like pappardelle or fettuccini, sprinkle cornstarch or rice flour on the tray to keep the pasta from sticking together after cutting and before adding to the pot. Cornmeal and rice flour may stick to the noodles a bit, but when you drop the cut noodles into the boiling water, both seeds will fall off the noodles and sink to the bottom of the pot, their job done.
Several passes through the widest setting of the noodle maker is a quick and easy way to knead your dough a second time.
Divide dough into slices. Work with one part at a time and cover the rest. Shake the dough well as you turn the crank to the widest setting. Once the dough has gone through the machine, fold it a third like you would fold a letter into an envelope. Roll the dough through the machine at the widescreen setting again, with the folded edges facing the edges of the roller rather than straight (otherwise you’ll have air bubbles that will pop out and make a hole in the dough). If the dough goes through the machine rough, has large dents and some holes, it means the dough is too wet. Dip the dough into the dough and fold it in half. Continue rolling and third-folding until the dough is smooth, dip each ball in if you continue to see rough holes.
Now that the dough is completely kneaded, you will need to run it through the pasta machine a few more times. Each time you roll the dough through the machine, you will move the rollers closer together until the desired thinness is achieved (your recipe should state).
At this point, the rolled dough pieces are perfect for lasagna or any hand-cut pasta like pappardelle. Cut the pasta immediately after rolling it and place it on a tray that is already covered with cornstarch or rice flour. For ravioli noodles, it’s important that you do it quickly so that the noodles stick together as they are filled and folded. Cook noodles that day or freeze by sprinkling more cornstarch or rice flour on top and placing in a zip-top bag.
Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dry pasta, and so you’ll want to use a pasta pot with a mesh insert (called a pentola) if you have one. A pentola will allow you to quickly scoop the noodles out of the boiling water, leaving all the cornmeal or rice flour at the bottom of the pot.
Pumpkin paste and cream come together in a food processor to make Pumpkin Pasta. Butter Sage is a completely simple sauce to go with it.
Fresh pasta batches don’t require much finishing, just butter and freshly ground Parmesan.
This powder comes together in a food blender. You’ll coat the pasta sheets with a mixture of ricotta, gruyere, leeks, and bacon, then slice the ravioli with a (brilliant) pizza.
This is a fresh noodle recipe that shows you how to roll a rice paper made from tapioca with tapioca flour, without a noodle maker.
After you make the ravioli, you bread and fry them. Why is fried ravioli called grilled ravioli? You will have to ask someone from St. Louis. Either way, they’re addictive.
Six cups of baby spinach give this homemade noodle a fresh green color and fresh goby flavor. When passing your handmade dough through the pasta machine, make sure the dough is thin but not transparent.
These pretty easy-to-make pasta dishes are easier to make than you might first think. Once they form their signature shape, you need to continue to coat the pasta pieces with flour if they become sticky.
This homemade pappardelle makes the perfect base for a variety of delicious sauces like truffle cream, saffron cream, ragu and classic bolognese.
A mouth-watering blend of ricotta, Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses make up the filling for this envelope-shaped stuffed noodle dish.