View Full Version : I've never made my own pasta. Advice?

3-2-11, 10:00pm
Kind of like the virgin at canning thread. What can you all tell me?

3-2-11, 10:33pm
All I can really offer is that pasta is one of those things that sounds much more difficult than it really is. Once you get into it, you'll know how easy it really is. Do you have a pasta machine for rolling it out? If not, you can still make quite good pasta with a rolling pin.

3-2-11, 10:35pm
I second the rolling-pin suggestion. You can make decent enough fettucine with a rolling pin and knife, and that way there's less to clean up, you don't have to mess with a machine, and you learn more of a feel for your dough.

Flour, egg, and a wee bit of oil, and practice, you almost can't go wrong.

3-2-11, 11:31pm
I love making pasta. What works for me is using bread flour (high gluten content), some semolina flour, a bit of olive oil, and water. Egg is traditional, but I don't like the taste in noodles. You can use part whole wheat flour, but it makes the pasta more grainy.

I mix mine in a food processor, adding just enough water to barely make the dough begin to ball up. Too much water makes it sticky, but if that happens, you can add more flour. The processor makes a lovely silky dough that does not stick unless you add too much h20.

I use a hand-crank pasta machine from a yard sale. $5 is a good price. I've used a rolling pin, and while that too is traditional, I found it a real pain. I could never get the noodles thin enough for my tastes. But if you don't have a machine, don't let that stop you. I also like to let mine dry a wee bit before cooking.

I love making ravioli and lasagne with the dough -- store-bought simply does not compare. I also love to cut extra wide noodles (1/2") with a knife or pastry wheel after being flattened in the machine. It's a nice look.

It takes a bit of practice, but it's fun. Once you find your method and do it a few times, making pasta is very easy.

3-2-11, 11:49pm
I also think pasta comes out too thick with a rolling pin - but they were the best noodles for soup.

3-3-11, 6:17am
I used to make pasta often, but since I can now buy locally, made fresh by an Italian-owned deli company, which is almost as good as home-made, I tend to only make it for the more fiddly things like ravioli and canelloni!

3-3-11, 10:08am
The first time I made pasta it was difficult to roll out and it wasn't very good. The most important thing I learned after that was to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least a half an hour. The difference was amazing.

3-3-11, 1:04pm
I have a hand crank machine that I've never used. I'd think rolling would be messy also as I'd have to clean the entire rolling/work surface.

3-3-11, 3:11pm
Well, when I roll out pasta on the kitchen counter, it takes about 30 seconds to prep the surface beforehand, and about a minute to clean it when done, and my counters are some cheesy formica laminate. If you have the dough right, it doesn't stick to the surface much at all, especially if you use a bit of flour. I can make a batch of fettucine up entirely by hand, using a rolling pin, about as fast as the water boils to cook it in.

There's a great simple method in one of Marcella Hazan's earlier cookbooks.

The real trick appears to be getting the dough to be the correct consistency, which is hard to describe, and is probably more a matter of practice and hands-on feel than a specific technique. Dive in!

3-3-11, 5:20pm
The real trick appears to be getting the dough to be the correct consistency, which is hard to describe, and is probably more a matter of practice and hands-on feel than a specific technique. Dive in!

That's right. I'd wager few of us knew what we were doing when we first started. I didn't. It's the consistency of the dough - and learning that requires making some - unless you can call in an Italian nonna. ;)

You will have to decide for yourself whether you prefer to roll by hand or use your machine. Try rolling by hand first, but don't be afraid to use your machine either. Don't worry about cleaning it - if the dough is the proverbial 'proper consistency', it doesn't stick to the machine, or anything else, and only requires a quick wipe down of the rollers as you slowly turn them.

Pick a recipe and go for it. What is there to lose but some flour, oil, perhaps an egg.... ?

edit: You might want to see if YouTube has any videos on the subject to give you a better feel for the project. I'll bet there are a good number.