Have a pasta machine you never use? Dust it off and learn how to make homemade fresh pasta from Laura Schenone, James Beard Award winning author of “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken.”
She shares some tips and tricks for perfecting fresh pasta (most of which are still handy even if you don’t have a machine—in which case, you can make fresh pasta with a rolling pin):
Follow along with the video above, or check out our Fresh Pasta Dough recipe if you need to see it written out. Note that while we stick to just eggs, flour, and salt in our recipe, Schenone likes to add a bit of olive oil to the mix—just a very small amount, which she says makes the dough easier to work with.
Related Reading: A Visual Guide to Pasta Types
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Treat the recipe as a guide but trust your senses when it comes to adjusting amounts, especially the liquid; you want to add just enough liquid to have a nice soft dough but not so soft that it sticks to the rolling pin or the machine. Likewise, when kneading the dough, it shouldn’t feel mushy; it should have some body and resistance—you’ll figure it out with practice. If it’s too soft, you can add a bit more flour, or if it’s too firm, introduce a touch more liquid.
Don’t stop kneading too soon; working up the gluten this way (around 8-10 minutes total) ensures you achieve nice thin leaves of pasta that will become delicate noodles or ravioli wrappers.
Chowhound’s Fresh Pappardelle Pasta with Butternut Squash
But don’t forget to let it rest. Trying to use the pasta dough right away will make it snap back at you, so cover it well with tight-fitting plastic (if it dries out at this stage, it’s done for), and let it be for about 20 minutes before rolling it out.
Sprinkle your pasta machine rollers with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. (If you’re making pasta without a machine, flour your rolling pin and work surface instead.)
Let your fresh pasta dry out a bit before cooking it, at least 15 minutes or so. You can also hang it on a pasta drying rack overnight.
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Add pasta to salted water that’s at a rolling boil—but if you’re using a stainless pan, don’t salt the water until after it boils!
Remember that fresh pasta cooks faster, so keep an eye on it and pull it off before it gets too soft.
You can save uncooked fresh pasta by freezing it: Place it in a single layer on a cookie sheet and pop in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer it to plastic bags and press all the air out before sealing, then stash them near the ice cream (or vodka, or whatever you keep in there).
As for saucing, add your pasta to the sauce, not the other way around!
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