Monday, January 7, 2013

Fresh Made Pasta - The Basics

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 A few days ago, in my year long quest to learn to cook like an Italian grandmother, I posted my winter gravy (Herbed Tomato Sauce - that's Spaghetti sauce for you non-Italian grandmothers).

Well, making your own sauce is a bit of a leap from the jarred processed store bought to your own nothing but fresh ingredients, "real" food style sauce.  But in comparison, I would guess that it is a HUGE leap to pasta maker instead of using the easy box of dried pasta.  It just seemed odd to spend time and effort to make something you can buy for a buck (on sale).

But, when I shared with my wife that we would be eating Italian this year, she bought me one of those attachments that fits on a Kitchenaid stand mixer.  So, it's not quite the Italian grandmother, with the power mixer attachment, but it is MUCH easier than I thought.  If you can make bread, you can easily make pasta (even without an attachment).

First, a couple of tips... Look over the collage of photos above.  First shot you see is me sifting flour.  I have made a few batches of pasta and it does make a difference to sift.

Second, you see me mixing by hand (sift flour into a mound, make a volcano hole in the center, add other ingredients (recipe below, keep scrolling), including eggs, mix).  You can probably mix with a fork, but Italian grandmothers would just use their fingertips).  I tried to use that stand mixer but the dough did not work at all.  It just did not come together and disintegrated into dust.  Since then, whenever I mix by hand, perfect every time.

Armed with those two tips, the basic recipe and an attachment (or pasta machine), just follow the instructions that comes with the machine.  If you are bold enough to make pasta without a machine, just a rolling pin and pizza cutter, but remember, thinner the better.

And picture yourself serving up a batch of fresh made linguine mixed with a fresh made Carbonaro sauce (tomorrow's post)... It is very satisfying to be an Italian grandmother!

You have to walk before you can run.  This is my basic walking fresh pasta.  More running recipes will follow (spinach, lemon, pepper, herb... We'll get to them all.  Today, baby steps, let's make pasta...

This recipe works fine for linguine or raviolis.  It is VERY easy (much easier the second time)...

Here's what I did...

Basic Pasta

  • 2-1/2 Cups Flour, plus extra for kneading
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Pinch of Salt
  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 to 2 TBS Water, plus extra if needed
Cooking Directions
  1. Sift the flour and make a mound on the counter. Form a well (like a volcano) in the center of the mound.
  2. Add eggs, salt, olive oil and one TBS of water in the well.
  3. using your fingertips, break the egg yolks and begin slowly mixing with the flour, working around the edges of the mound, mix a couple TBS of flour into the egg mix and continue until you have incorporated all of the flour into a dough.
  4. Now knead... About 10 minutes of kneading, until the dough is smooth. You may need to add more water if the dough feels too dry and crumbly.
  5. Shape into a flattened disk, cover with a damp towel and allow to rest for 45 minutes.
  6. Divide dough into 4ths, Use the machine as directed and ENJOY!!!
OK, a couple of tips to get you successful...

Fresh pasta cooks much faster than dry... My linguine only took 5 minutes to cook through.
Faster you can cook, the better.  The pasta will start to dry out soon and then you are cooking dry pasta.  If you set up your machine next to a pot of coiling water, you can go right from machine to pot without stopping.

I've been having great fun with my pasta maker.  I made some sweet potato walnut raviolis and many more plans for the future.  The taste really is much different than the dry and is worth the extra effort.

This is enough info to get you started, but the fun is experimenting and finding your own way.   In no time at all you too will be dreaming of becoming an Italian grandmother!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!


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  1. Makes me want to dust off the pasta roller in the back of my cabinet in Lake Lure. I've been meaning to do it for awhile. There is something very satisfying about making homemade pasta. Thanks for the inspiration Dave. Check out the 00 flour at the King Arthur website if you haven't already. It's supposed to be the best for pasta.

  2. As someone who has used both the old school pasta maker and the kitchenaid attachment, I can tell you that the kitchenaid is MUCH easier (and worth it). Your pasta looks great!

  3. Nice tutorial Dave. We made a batch last week and used it for Lo Mein.