How to make Italian fresh pasta

fresh Italian tagliatelle hanging from a wooden stick to dry

Making pasta from scratch may seem intimidating, but it is actually much easier than it looks. It can even be fun. The secret is not to rush and not to be afraid of getting dirty with flour. Very few ingredients are needed: flour and eggs. Let's start, then!

Which is the best pasta flour grade to use?

Flour, in Italy, is sold in five grades according to how refined it is. The ideal choice for making pasta is 0 flour, the second most refined type. This type of flour can be found at supermarkets and delicatessens. Alternatively, you can use 00 flour or regular plain flour.

Pasta dough recipe

You only need two ingredients: flour and eggs. The simple Italian rule is one egg to every 100 g of flour. So, let's start with 200 g of 0 flour or 00 flour, plus 20 g extra flour (if sticky when kneading) and 2 eggs.

Make a mound of flour on a work surface, create a well in the centre, and break the eggs into it.
Using a fork, beat the eggs, drawing in flour until the mixture becomes thick, then work in the remaining flour with your hands.
Knead the dough by hand for 6 minutes; it should be firm, smooth and not sticky. Add extra flour, if necessary, to correct the consistency.

How to make pasta sheets

Divide the dough in half (for three-egg dough, divide into four; and for five-egg dough, into six). While working with one portion of dough, keep the remaining portions covered to prevent them from drying out.
With a rolling pin (mattarello in Italian), flatten 1 portion of dough until it gets 3 mm thick and about 12 cm wide – nearly the width of your pasta machine.
Set your pasta machine at its widest setting (one), then feed the dough through, narrowing the settings on your machine one notch at a time (the highest number being the thinnest setting), until you reach six.
Repeat with the remaining dough and decide how to cut it (tagliatellepappardelle, short pasta...)
For filled pasta, once you have rolled out 1 sheet, fill it immediately, so the sheet remains pliable.
Photo and recipe by Luciana Sampogna

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23 January 2023
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