Fresh Egg Pasta

For the longest time, I stopped making homemade pasta. I’m not really sure why that was to be honest, but it just stopped some time before I moved to Seattle in 2014. Earlier this year, I decided to pick it back up, and pulled out my trusty pasta machine, only to find that it had broken at some point in the preceding near-decade of disuse. Finally, a few weeks ago, I broke down and bought a new pasta machine same as the old pasta machine: a Marcato Atlas 150. It’s a workhorse of the Italian world, and I can’t imagine bothering with anything else. You don’t need a power one, and you shouldn’t go cheap.

Without further ado, here’s the recipe I use as a basis for all my fresh pasta adventures:

Fresh Egg Pasta#

200g all-purpose flour1
2 large eggs, room-temperature2
pinch fine (non-iodized) salt

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ingredients with your hands. You do not need any other tools for this part. Instead, shape your hand like a claw and combine the ingredients until they just come together. Some flour may remain in the bowl, but it should be a very small amount.

Turn the proto-dough out onto a clean work surface and begin to knead it as you would a bread dough. Your goal is to knead it until it begins to show a smooth surface, which will take 5-10 minutes of hand kneading. Once it reaches that stage, form it into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 15 minutes, but up to 2 hours will improve the texture and workability of the dough.

Once the dough is rested, set up your pasta machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and don’t forget to secure it to something heavy, either a cutting board or counter top. Unwrap the dough, cut it into 3 or 4 pieces, and pat out to about 1cm thick, keeping it in something resembling a rectangular shape if possible, with one edge not more than 2/3 the width of your pasta machine (in my case, 100mm wide). Store the other pieces under the plastic wrap until you’re ready to use them.

Roll this through the widest setting (0 on an Atlas) at a consistent pace. Take the results and fold them like a book, pulling each of the short edges in towards the center. Rotate the block of pasta 90 degrees so that the seam in the middle is perpendicular to the rollers and run it through the machine again. Repeat this 3-4 times to knead the dough.

Once you have kneaded the dough, you’re ready to slowly thin it out. The process I find most effective is to run it through the next smallest (1) twice, then the next (2) twice, then each succeeding thickness (thinness?) once until you get to the appropriate thickness. For my, when making things like traditional fetuccini, I’ll stop at 6. For ravioli, I’ll generally go to 7 or 8 if possible (it’s doubled up, so you need thinner).

Finally, when you’re ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, and you will only need to cook for 1-2 minutes in most cases. I find 90 seconds generally is best for me.

A few tips:

  • Roll each piece out to its final thickness before cutting them. Keep them lightly floured under a towel or plastic wrap.
  • While speed is important to avoid dryin things out, it’s also critical to turn the crank at a consistent speed to avoid weird stretching.
  • It’s pasta, and short of something catastrophic, it will be delicious.

  1. A note about flour. People will tell you that you need Italian 00 flour. You certainly can use it, but there’s no need for it. Normal American-style all-purpose flour will work just fine. Also, weigh your ingredients wherever possible. A cup is not a cup. ↩︎

  2. I often forget to pull eggs out for recipes. Instead, you can just drop the eggs in a bowl of luke warm water for 5m and the will come up to something around whatever we call “room temperature”. ↩︎