Today I’m gonna tell you how I make Homemade Pasta. This recipe is often called Amish Egg Noodles, and I got the idea from Homesteading for Beginners, Volume 3 .
We’re gonna start with a dozen eggs. Well, I’m gonna start with a dozen eggs, but if you don’t want to make that much pasta, here’s the ratio –
Two parts egg yolks
One part egg whites
One part boiling water
Four parts flour (aprox.)
I’m making enough pasta for 4 meals (or a month of weekly pasta dinners) so I’m going to separate a dozen eggs…
…so that I get a cup of egg yolks. I will add 1/2 cup of the egg whites and then beat in 1/2 cup of boiling water.
Pasta dough has to be really dry, which makes it tricky to get the dough right without a machine. I have mixed pasta dough by hand when we were on the homestead without electricity, but I only did that once. Now I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer, Julia. (Yes, as in Julia Childs)
Secret #1 of making pasta dough is starting with the flour in the bowl, and mixing in the wet ingredients gradually.
I start with the whisk attachment on a medium speed, pouring in the egg and water mixture gradually.
I used 8 cups of flour, and that seems about right. You want the dough to be dry and crumbly, so add more flour if it’s not. You can test the dough by grabbing some and pressing it together with your fingers – if it looks dry but holds together under pressure – kind of like pastry, it’s good.
Now I change attachments to the dough hook to knead that dough into a little more of a solid mass.
Now we’re ready to shape it!
You don’t need any special equipment for pasta making – it’s more fun and less work if you have a machine, but don’t let that stop you from trying. If you have a rolling pin and a flat surface, you can make all kinds of pasta – ravioli, lasagna, fettuccine, linguine, – the list goes on. I’m going to show you both ways I make pasta.
First, by hand – I had some homemade ricotta in the fridge from yet another failed mozzarella batch, so I decided to make tortellini.
Start by grabbing a handful of your dough and forming it with your hands into a large, flattened patty. Lightly dust your surface and begin rolling.
You must roll and roll and roll and roll and roll that dough until it is thin enough to see your hand through it:
Note: rolling pasta is good exercise and can double as your aerobics for the day. I am still sore from Monday’s dinner.
It helps if you get yourself some cute company while you work. Be sure to prepare in advance for the helpers or you will get stressed rather than enjoy their presence while you begin to pant and sweat. Pasta dough is very forgiving, so they won’t ruin a piece of dough you give them – they can even make their own tortellini!
Once your dough is thin enough, you can cut it and shape it.
(Check out my Tortellini Tutorial and Four Cheese Filling Recipe here).
I added a little frozen, steamed swish chard to the ricotta cheese filling – it added lovely color and no one complained at dinner – Score! 🙂
Notice: the recipe didn’t include any salt. You must salt the water generously when you cook the pasta! I use about 2 tsp. of sea salt for a big pot.
I boiled the tortellini for dinner while I set Julia up with her extruder attachments.
Again, notice how dry my dough is? Just right.
OK, here’s pasta secret #2 – when using the extruder you really want to follow the instructions and only feed the hopper a small piece of dough at a time – like, half a grape sized. If you add too much, your machine will just get bogged down and you may burn out the motor. You add once piece at a time, and only add the next little chunk when the auger recovers and speeds up again.
Secret #3 (that’s not really a secret ’cause it’s right in the manual but I missed it the first time) is this – the first couple inches of noodles are gonna look funky. Don’t give up! Keep going! eventually – I don’t know what happens, but everything evens out and the dough will start to look like noodles.
I support my lasagna noodles as they come out of the machine, and tear them off at about 6 inches.
See those funky bits nearest me on my drying rack? Those were the first lasagna noodles. I’m still keeping them and they will taste just as yummy.
OK, I admit, the rest of the lasagna noodles look a little funky, too, but I’m serious – they work fine and taste amazing in my Garlic White Lasagna! I could roll them and cut them by hand and they would be perfectly flat, but extruding them is easier. And I think they’re beautiful!
I have a fettuccine disk, a large and small spaghetti disk, and one for elbow noodles. I will report that the I have not had any success with the angel hair and the fettuccine disks. They’re just too small the dough won’t come out
OK, now here’s my last Pasta Secret – #4: Don’t start making pasta at 4pm! Extruding the pasta does take less time than rolling by hand, but the instructions say you must let your machine rest an hour between each baseball-sized chunk of dough – for the size batch of dough I made, I had to let it rest 3 times. I was making pasta till 9pm, and I don’t care how much fun it is and how much it reminds me of playing with play dough – I want to be in bed at 9!
Last step is drying. You can spread a sheet on a spare bed, or use every drying rack in the house (as I did) to let your pasta dry for 3 days. Then pack them into air-tight containers and they will last for a long time – unless you devour them all in a week like I did the first time! 🙂
Now, my first success with my pasta was using all white flour. Second time I did 1/2 white, half fresh ground whole wheat. Next time I hope to use %100 sprouted whole wheat flour, to make the most nourishing, easiest to digest pasta.
There, now you know all my secrets to making homemade pasta. Feel free to pepper me with questions, though, if you want to try it yourself and need help! It’s a lot of work but sooo yummy, it’s totally worth it!
This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.