Always fancied being a sfoglina? Do not fear- with our help, you’ll be a pasta pro in no time! In this article, we outline everything you need to know, including the key tips, tricks and recipes to get your skills up to scratch. To do so, we’ll be using a little help from our skilled Sfoglina Livia and Michaelangelo, whom you will also be able to find at our exciting new Harrods concession food hall.

The best thing? Making pasta requires very little ingredients, requiring only flour, eggs and a dash of salt- no additives, no preservatives. Just fresh, homemade pasta as dio intended.

Learning how to make pasta is also a great skill to have; as well as allowing you to surprise your friends and family with great tasting food, the process of making pasta is rewarding, it’s romantic and it’s fun! What are you waiting for?

Editor’s Note:
This is a detailed post to help newbies and pasta lovers learn everything about making homemade pasta for the first time. From portion sizes, to what type of flour will affect the texture you want, and how egg impacts the elasticity of the pasta.

What tools do I need to make fresh pasta?

Whilst using a machine may speed up the process, our guide takes a more ‘hands-on’ approach, just like “nonna” does in Italy. We recommend the following: To begin, we recommend the following:

  1. Rolling Pin
  2. Dough Cutter
  3. A specialised tool for your intended pasta shape.
Pasta Evangelists sells pasta tool kits from £25.00 |
Use Discount Code: PASTAKITSBLOG to Get 20% OFF your order

How Ingredients will affect Pasta Texture

Italian cuisine varies widely across its regions, and as a result, so does the ingredients within its pasta.Whole eggs? Yolk-less eggs? Only water? Ingredients to pasta have a considerable impact on the end result. Why not give a selection of recipes a go and let us know how your favourite!

We’ve asked out customers to find out any questions that are commonly asked and if you have any more, please leave a comment below.

Does flour make a difference? Yes it does!

  • 00 flour: Whilst more expensive, the quality of this flour certainly does it justice. Most “00” flour is ground from durum wheat and will have a mid-range protein content of about 11-12%, similar to all-purpose white flour.
  • All-purpose flour: This flour can be used to create fresh pasta but the end result is not as soft as 00 flour.
  • The gluten in each flour, “00” and all-purpose flour behaves differently.  Gluten from durum wheat flour is a little be more strong thus being not very elastic.
  • The gluten in red wheat flour is both strong and elastic. Therefore durum wheat flour produces a nice bite within the pasta but is less chewy.   
  • Semolina flour is not only very high in durum wheat but also has a high content of protein, making it great for making commercial pasta due to the ease of producing gluten in the pasta.
  • Don’t forget! Do not use self-raising flour for making pasta or in fact any yeast-leavened baked goods.

“You would call it semolina dough. Semolina dough is made of ⅔ of semolina and ⅓ of 00 flour. Normally it is used in lot of pasta preparations in the south, orecchiette, strozzapreti etch.” Chef Michelangelo

“It has less flavor but it goes really well with really stronger flour sauces like pesto alla siciliana, come di rapa and anchovies”. Chef Michalangelo

White Pasta (Pasta without egg)

  • Water replaces the gluten in the pasta and as a result, increases the chances of falling apart. Using egg in pasta is crucial for increasing its strength, chewiness and allowing the pasta to hold its form rather than falling apart.
  • However, the use of egg also depends on the pasta you choose to make. Some pastas, such as Orecchiette, are delicious without egg.
  • If you have egg allergies, try your hand at this Orecchiette recipe from In Jennie’s Kitchen.
  • Did you know, ‘water pasta’, also known as ‘white pasta’, was popular during the war, due to egg scarcity?

What does Egg White pasta turn out like?

  • Egg whites are about 90% water, therefore the pasta noodles have a very similar outcome to using pasta with only water.

What does Egg yolk pasta turn out like?

  • Egg yolk pasta creates a very rich, golden dough which produces the strongest flavoured pasta.
  • The yolk is 48% water, 17% protein and about 33% fat
  • Using more yolk will produce a stronger, gold colour, with more egg flavour in the pasta producing silkier noodles.
  • Only Egg yolk pasta is not encouraged for creating filled pasta as the egg yolk creates a less elastic pasta which in return increases your chances of the pasta falling apart.
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What does Full egg Pasta turn out like?

  • It creates a more elastic pasta, less chewy and great for filled pasta!

Does adding salt or olive oil to pasta affect the outcome?

  • Olive oil is great to use with egg yolk pasta in the creation of the pasta, as it will make the pasta more elastic.
  • Do not add oil to your pasta cooking pot as this will impact how the pasta sticks together and prevent the sauce from blending in with your pasta.
  • Salt is also a must-have addition to the pot of boiling water. Make your pot taste like the sea
  • “Adding oil to semolina dough and not to egg pasta, because it increases the elasticity” Chef Livia

Part 3: How long does fresh pasta take to cook?

Remember to stir the pasta while it’s cooking every minute otherwise it will stick together. Taste a piece of pasta from 4 minutes and onwards” Chef Michalangelo

  • Boil a pot of heavily salted water.
  • Place your fresh pasta in the boiling water. Our chef recommend 3 minutes in hot water.
  • The pasta is ready when it is “al dente”- meaning it has a ‘bite’. Do not let your pasta overcook!
  • Pasta on average will increase in size by 30%, unlike dry pasta when boiled which will double in size.

How should I store homemade pasta?

Got a bit carried away adn made more pasta than you can manage? Don’t panic. You can keep pasta in the fridge for up to 18 hrs, after which point it should go in the freezer. You can store fresh pasta in the freezer for up to a month.

If you keep fresh pasta in the fridge for over 18 hours, the pasta will start to absorb water and will start to become oxidized turning into a “greenish-grey” colour.

To be on the safe side, we recommend putting aside what your desired portion and freezing the rest to enjoy at a later date.

“Egg fresh pasta can last up to 4-5 days if kept in the fridge. Though the dough will start drying out every day a bit more. This will increase the cooking time” Chef Michelangelo

Pasta Making Kits

To make your life as easy as possible, Pasta Evangelists is offering a selection of pasta making kits, complete with all the necessary tools to make all the pasta shapes you could think of, well very close to it.

Find our kits here: Use Discount Code: PASTAKITSBLOG to Get 20% OFF your order

Pasta tools

Pasta Master Courses

Still feeling a bit apprehensive about making pasta? Pasta Evangelists have teamed up with expert pasta-making schools to help you grow your culinary skills…and spread the joy of pasta in the meantime! Find out when you can attend the next pasta making class here.

See below for a must-watch homemade pasta video (apologies in advance for making you hungry…)

Courtesy of Tasty

Making Pasta Dough: A Recipe

Making the dough at home is a two-part process:

  1. Knead the dough and leave it to rest.
  2. After an hour or longer, roll out your dough and shape to your desired length and shape. From ravioli to spaghetti, the choice is yours!

Chef’s Tip:

Don’t think about it too much, give it a go and experience learning how to make pasta, controlling the texture comes with practice, together we will get there”

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Serving: 1 (generous)

Ingredients:   

  • 2 eggs
  • 200g of “00” flour + Extra flour for work surface
  • Salt

Chef’s Comment:

“Pasta is always 1 egg : 100g flour”

Tools:

  • Rolling pin
  • Fork
  • Wooden board,
  • Pasta Cutter (a knife will do)

Part 1: How to make Pasta Dough by hand

1. Making the dough

Tips: To know when the dough is ready, make sure the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers or hands- if it does, slowly and cautiously add as much flour as necessary.

Chef’s Tip:

“You don’t actually need salt in the egg-based pasta dough. Salt will be added in the boiling water while the pasta is cooking. The dough needs to have a silky texture.”

  1. On a marble or wooden work surface, pile your flour into a mound.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the mound.
  3. Crack the egg into the well.
  4. Continue beating the egg mixture with the fork, slowly pulling the flour from the sides of the well until the egg has all been absorbed by the flour
  5. If needed, drizzle a small amount of warm water and continue mixing until you have a ball of dough.

2. Knead the dough.    

Chefs Tip:

“The more you knead it, the more the gluten reacts with the water content of the of the eggs. You can’t really over knead the pasta dough by hand but it can happen!”

  1. Flour your work surface
  2. Knead the dough by pressing the heel of one hand into the ball, keeping your fingers high.
  3. Press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you. The dough should stretch and roll under your hand to create a shell-like shape.
  4. Turn the dough over, then press into the dough with your knuckles, one hand at a time. This process should be carried out around 10 times.
  5. Make another ball and repeat the stretching and knuckling process, using more flour if needed to prevent any stickiness
  6. Repeat the process for about 10-20 minutes until the dough is smooth and silky
  7. Roll the dough into a smooth ball

Before it is ready to rest, make sure the egg and flour has mixed together properly.

3. Let the Dough Rest

  • Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap (see image)
  • Let the dough rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature, or up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
  • If the dough has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before rolling and shaping.
homemade pasta
Let it rest for at least an hour

Shaping your Pasta

1. Roll the Pasta

Chef Michelangelo  Tip:

“If you’re making filled pasta remember not to dust too much the pasta sheet otherwise the sides would not stick together when closing.”

  1. Lightly flour your surface
  2. Shape the dough into a rough circle.
  3. With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough as you would with a pastry crust, starting in the centre and rolling away from you to the outer edge.
  4. Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, until the sheet of dough is 1/8 inch thin or less. Scatter a small amount of flour on the dough whenever it starts to stick to the surface or the rolling pin.
  5. According to Italian tradition, the sheet of dough should be transparent enough to read the text beneath. But don’t try too hard to achieve this as you may ruin it.

Shaping the Pasta – Making Tagliatelle or Pappardelle

Whilst there a myriad of possible pasta shapes, we’re going to begin by taking you through how to make tagliatelle!

  1. Place a dough onto a clean and lightly floured work surface.
  2. Using a Tagliatelle or Pappardelle rolling pin, roll the dough into strips.
  3. Gently lift the pasta strips in the air and place them carefully onto a dishtowel, make sure they are separated.
  4. Repeat with the remaining sheets of dough

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