Fresh pasta is ridiculously easy… if you have the right tools. The very basics requirements are a mixing bowl, and a hand cranked pasta roller and cutter. It is pretty easy to mix up a pasta dough by hand, and it is even easier to just toss everything in the food processor and mix it. I have tried using the mixer to make the dough, but for some reason the food processor does a better, job quicker.
Having a good way to dry the pasta sheets before cutting also helps. I finally broke down and got a rack, it makes life a lot easier. It really gets the pasta dry which helps the strands separate during cutting. It also makes it easier to manage these yard long sheets of dough. I have seen people also just user hangers and a clothes drying rack could multitask nicely.
I decide to get a little artsy with my dough and put a handful of basil in the food process before I made the dough. I couldn’t really taste it but it looks cool. A stronger herb may have had more of an impact. I am going to try rosemary next time.
From: Cook’s Illustrated
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
- 3 large eggs , beaten
- Pulse the flour in the workbowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade to evenly distribute. Add the eggs; process until the dough forms a rough ball, about 30 seconds. (If the dough resembles small pebbles, add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time; if the dough sticks to the side of the workbowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until the dough forms a rough ball.)
- If you don’t want to use a food process, place the flour on a clean surface and make a mound. Create a depression in the center of the mound. Pour the beaten eggs in the middle. Slowly incorporate the surrounding flour into the egg. Knead until the dough is smooth. Add flour or water as needed.
- Turn the dough ball and small bits out onto a dry work surface; knead until the dough is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours to relax.
- Using a manual pasta machine, roll out the dough. Repeat the first thickness once, folding the ends towards the middle. Cut the pasta sheets into long strands to make fettuccine.Start with the first sheet you rolled out, it will have had the most time to dry. I catch the cut pasta in a cookie sheet dusted with a lot of flour to help prevent sticking.