If you have a free Friday evening at home, I highly recommend having a fresh pasta date, either with a significant other or a few of your girlfriends. This past weekend the hubs and I opened a bottle of red, turned on some music and made our first ever pasta from scratch.
The whole process is actually quite simple, but if you’ve never done it before, I’ll warn you–there’s definitely a learning curve. There were for sure some stressful moments in our kitchen last Friday night as we tried to figure out who held what end of the dough as it slid through the machine and then trying to peel apart several stuck sheets after failing to adequately flour them.
If you get hangry like I do, I highly recommend snacking on an appetizer and sipping wine while you work. We made the mistake of only having the latter which, on an empty stomach, probably only added to the confusion in the kitchen. We sure did have a good time though!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that pasta dough isn’t the slightest bit fussy, unlike its notoriously challenging cousins, pastry and bread dough. This simple recipe, made with just flour, egg and salt, came together in under 10 minutes, kneading included, and practically slid through the pasta machine. As if homemade pasta weren’t already amazing, the eggs in this recipe add high-quality protein, Vitamin D and B12 to your noodles, which is more nutrition than most boxed varieties offer.
We followed the step-by-step directions and let our stand-mixer to do most of the work. If you don’t have a stand mixer and the pasta attachments, you can get a manual roller for less than the price of two pasta dishes at a fancy restaurant, or do it the old-fashioned way. Both will work your biceps–and lets be honest, meals always taste better when you’ve worked for them.
After working out a few kinks, the hubs and I were rolling. Literally. Three-quarters of a bottle of wine later we had more fresh pasta than we could eat. If you’ve never seen me take down a big bowl of carbs, let me just tell you–that’s a lot of fettuccini.
I’m certainly no homemade pasta pro after just one time but I do have some tips for the true beginners out there:
1. Don’t skimp on the flour when you’re rolling and cutting your dough.
Use these photos as a guide. If you feel like you’re overdoing it, it’s probably just right.
2. Divide rolled pasta sheets and uncooked noodles into several small piles while you work.
If you don’t, the weight of the dough piled on top of itself will most likely lead to a stuck-together mess regardless of the amount of flour you’ve used.
3. Use fresh eggs.
Watery whites and flattish yolks will affect the integrity of your pasta dough and you don’t want your hard work to go to waste.
4. Don’t be afraid to let your pasta dry a little bit while you work.
It’ll bounce back the moment you cook it! I was paranoid all would be lost and nagged my husband to cover the piles of pasta probably one too many times. Sorry, dear.
5. Practice a couple of times before hosting a homemade pasta party for a group.
You’ll be far less frazzled and probably twice as fast the second and third time around!