Make Your Own Pasta (By Hand)

I recently visited Rome and must admit that, despite my dreams of heavenly Italian food at every corner, I had both good and bad food experiences there. Because I was doing all the typical tourist activities (Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Vatican City, etc.), I frequently ended up at the more touristy restaurants selling the more mediocre food. But I did happen to have a guide book with me (an excellent one, by Rick Steves), which was great help in terms of sifting out the hidden gem restaurants, and the rest I found through walking around more neighborhood-y areas and outdoor markets.

So in the end, I did get a taste of some delicious and interesting foods: chocolate tiramisu from a store that sells nothing but different kinds of tiramisu (it was amazing), unknowingly buying and cooking horse meat (wasn't bad, but a bit too funky-smelling for my tastes), chestnuts roasted by street vendors on top of what looked like antique stoves, to-die-for panna cotta with "caramello" on top, the most tomato-tasting tomatoes I've ever had in my life, and on and on. Oh and one can't forget the once-a-day gelato quota, where I had some flavors that to this day I'm still not certain of ("cassata siciliana"?).

When I returned back to the States, I thought... why not try making my own pasta? I thought also of gnocchi, but pasta seemed easier to me and a good first step. I don't have a pasta machine, or even one of those pasta rollers (which now I know are probably very worth it to buy if you plan to make pasta often), but I found a recipe that claimed you could make noodle pasta without any additional equipment.

Handmade Pasta

2 c all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
1 Tbsp milk
1 tsp olive oil
  1. Sift flour and salt onto cutting board, and create well in the middle. Break eggs into well, and also add milk and olive oil into well.
  2. Using your fingers, mix liquid and dry ingredients together carefully until you form a ball of dough. Dust your surface with flour and knead the dough for several minutes, then wrap in plastic and let sit for 15 minutes.
  3. By now the dough should have a nice, slightly elastic texture. Dust your surface again, more generously, and roll out the dough as flat as you can (I would even suggest working with half or a quarter of the dough at a time), less than 1/8 of an inch, to a rectangular shape.
  4. Flour some more, then pick up the rectangle and fold it loosely into thirds. Using a large knife, cut thin strips to make your noodles (I would recommend about 1/4 of an inch thick).
  5. Hang them over something (I used a laundry basket) to dry for at least 3 hours. Then cook as you would your regular dried pasta.

Overall the dough was quite easy to work with, although I definitely broke a sweat rolling the dough so thin (which in the end wasn't quite thin enough, hence I say thinner than 1/8 of an inch). That's the crucial part, I think, in making a decent pasta. Because I didn't roll mine thin enough, the texture was not as enjoyable as a store-bought kind, and plus some noodles had tiny air bubbles trapped inside. Perhaps next time I'll try a ravioli or a simple hand-torn pasta rather than the effort of noodles.

Next up: What I made with it!
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  1. Well done! Lovely homemade pasta. I love homemade pasta, what I call flat noodles. They taste so good. I have a little pasta machine to do the job

  2. Thank you! I just saw your post on hand pulled noodles, I will have to give those a try as well :)