I can’t tell you how many people come into my office and tell me that they stopped eating bread and pasta because it “makes them fat.” As a dietitian and a good Italian girl, I feel it is my duty to un-demonize these delicious carbohydrates. I will spare you the nutrition lecture today though, and instead show you how to make the most delicious pasta at home!
Step 1: Buy the right flour. From the recipes I’ve looked at, many different types of flour can be used to make pasta. I make mine using semolina flour however, because that’s what I was taught during the pasta-making class I took in Florence (highly recommended by the way). Semolina flour is higher in protein than other flours, which allows the pasta to hold its shape better and gives it a firmer texture. It has a distinct yellow color and coarse texture similar to cornmeal, and tastes richer than all-purpose flour. Because it is slightly more expensive, I make the dough with semolina and do the kneading with all-purpose flour.
Step 2: On a clean surface, make a small mound using ½ cup flour and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the flour and add 1 egg to the center. *Keep the egg shell close by during this step, you may need it later!*
Step 3: Using your hands, whisk the egg and slowly start to draw flour in with every stroke. As you are mixing the dough will start to resemble scrambled eggs. Continue to mix and a firm dough forms.
Step 4: Sprinkle some all-purpose flour on the table and knead dough for 8-10 minutes. If the dough becomes too dry during kneading, add some of the egg white leftover in your egg shell to the mixture. If the dough is too wet, sprinkle a little more flour unto the table to knead the dough in. The dough should end up smooth and dense, and be dry enough that it no longer sticks to your hand.
Step 5: Tightly wrap your dough in plastic wrap and let it lit for at least 15 minutes. I didn’t have plastic wrap, so I used a plastic bag instead.
Step 6: After your dough has rested, take the ball and divide it in half. Roll out each half into a rope shape with your hands.
Step 7: Get ready to use your pasta maker! We have the 3-Piece Pasta Roller & Cutter Set by KitchenAid. Start with the rolling attachment and set it to the biggest setting (1 on our attachment). Turn on the machine and run the dough through the roller, starting with the short end. Fold the dough in half and run again, this time the long way. Continue to fold and run through the machine until the dough is rectangular-shaped and fits through the machine easily without folding.
Step 8: Sprinkle all-purpose on each side of the pasta dough and continue to run the dough through the roller, adjusting the setting to machine to a setting smaller before each pass. Make sure you feed the dough into the machine slowly and carefully, especially as the sheet of pasta gets longer, to avoid over-stretching and/or breaking. I rolled this sheet of pasta up until setting 6 on the KitchenAid machine. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with the other half of the dough.
Step 9: Once all the dough is rolled out, replace the attachment on your pasta maker to the type of pasta cutter you’d like to make. The 3-Piece KitchenAid set comes with a spaghetti and fettucine option. For this batch of pasta, I chose the spaghetti. Run the pasta sheets through the machine, making sure to catch the noodles as they pass through.
Step 10: Add a pinch of salt and to a large pot of water and set to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, separate the pasta noodles to ensure they do not clump up.
Step 11: When the water is boiling, add the pasta to the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.
Step 12: Enjoy with your favorite sauce or simply with olive oil and herbs.
Enjoy your fresh pasta! And remember, it won’t make you fat!