Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Basic Homemade Pasta Dough

Homemade pasta

We do not eat very much pasta around here. When we do I prefer to make my own. I found a pasta maker years ago for $13.00. It seemed like such a bargain as the Kitchen Aide attachment can run you $150. I do not even have to roll the dough out. I just run it through the rollers until it is thin and then cut. The kids are a great help. One likes to hold the pasta as the other one cranks the handle. Making homemade pasta does add 30 minutes to your preparation time. I like to make a batch on Sunday to use later in the week.

This recipe explains how to make dough for use in cannelloni, tortellini, ravioli, tagliarini, fettuccine, tagliatelle and lasagne. For a thicker doughy version commonly used in homemade soups try my mom’s recipe for Egg Noodles.

Makes about 3/4 pound (about 5 servings)
1 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 egg
1 egg white
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

Pour flour into a large mixing bowl or in a heap on a pastry board. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the egg, egg white, oil and salt. Mix together with a fork or your fingers until the dough can be gathered into a rough ball. Moisten dry bits of flour with a few drops of water and press them into the ball.

Knead the dough on a floured board, working in a little flour if the dough seem sticky. After about 10 minutes, the dough should be smooth, shiny and elastic. Wrap the dough in wax paper and let rest for at least 10 minutes before rolling.

Divide dough into 2 balls (or follow the directions below for desired pasta). Place 1 ball on a floured board and flatten with your hand into an oblong disk about 1-inch thick. Dust the top lightly with flour. Using a rolling pin, start at one end of the oblong and roll it out lengthwise away from yourself to within and inch or so of the far edge. Turn the dough crosswise and roll its width. Repeat, turning and rolling the dough, until it is paper thin. If the dough begins to stick, lift it carefully and sprinkle more flour under it.

As you cut the noodles separate them and lay them flat on waxed paper or wire racks. This keep them from sticking together until you are ready to boil them.

Homemade noodles may be cooked at once or covered tightly with plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator for as long as 24 hours. Cook the in 6-8 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water for 5-10 minutes, or until just tender.

Cannelloni:
Divide dough into two pieces. Roll first half paper thin. Cut rolled dough into 36 rectangles 2 by 3 inches. Drop into boiling salted water, stirring gently so they do not stick. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain, cool slightly then lay side by side on a piece of paper towel to dry. Place a tablespoon of filling on the bottom third of each rectangle and roll up.

Tortellini:
Divide the dough into four pieces. Keep unused dough covered with a damp cloth. Roll out the dough on a floured board until it is paper thin, then cut into 2-inch rounds with a biscuit cutter or a small glass. Place 1/4 teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Moisten the edges of each round with water. Fold the circles in half and press the edges firmly together. Shape into little rings by gently stretching each half circle slightly and wrapping the ring around your index finger. Gently press the tips together.

Ravioli:
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll out first quarter of dough as thin as possible. Cover rolled dough with a damp cloth to prevent drying out. Roll second quarter of dough to a similar size and shape. Using the first sheet of dough, place 1 tablespoon of filling in a checkerboard pattern every 2-inches across then down the pasta. Dip a pastry brush or your finger into a bowl of water and make a vertical and horizontal lines between the mounds of filling. Be sure to use enough water to wet the lines evenly. The water will help to bond the finished ravioli together. Carefully spread the second sheet of dough on top of the first on, pressing down firmly around the filling and along the wetter lines. With a ravioli cutter, pastry wheel or small sharp knife, cut the pasta into square along the wetted lines. Separate the mounds of ravioli and set them aside on wax paper. Repeat with remaining two disks of dough.

Tagliarini, Fettuccine, Tagliatelle, Lasagne:
Dust rolled dough lightly with flour and let rest for about 10 minutes. Then gently roll the dough unto a jelly-roll shape. With a long sharp knife, slice the roll crosswise into even strips about 1/8-inch wide for tagliarini, 1/4-inch wide for fettuccini or tagliatelle, and 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide for lasagne. Unroll the strips and set them aside on wax paper. Repeat with second disk of dough. Boil the lasange noodles until chewy, about 5-10 minutes, before adding them to the pan.