Making Fresh Pasta


Making your own pasta may be time consuming, but it is very satisfying. The ingredients are basic and cheap, yet the result is so rich and delicious. Either make pasta dough by hand, as shown here, or whizz all the ingredients together in a food processor until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, sprinkling in extra flour if needed.

You can either cut the pasta by hand into the required shape or shapes or use a pasta rolling machine.

  1. Sift 300g (10oz) strong white bread flour on to a clean work surface with 1 teaspoon salt. Make a well in the centre. Break in 3 eggs and add 2 teaspoons olive oil (optional) to help keep the dough pliable while you work with it.

  2. Using the tips of your fingers or a fork mix the eggs and oil lightly together, then start to mix the flour into the eggs drawing in more and more flour until you have a thick dough. If the dough is moist and too sticky add a little more flour and mix in.

  3. With a flour shaker at the ready, knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until smooth, adding more flour as necessary. Put the dough into a polythene bag or wrap in foil and leave it at room temperature for about 1 hour to rest before the next stage.

  4. Divide the dough into 3 portions and work with 1 at a time, keeping the remaining pieces of dough covered with a clean tea towel. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to the thickness of a 10 pence piece. Fold over four times, give a quarter turn and re-roll. Repeat 4 times until the dough is smooth and no longer feels sticky.

  5. To cut into noodles, lightly flour the rolled dough and fold it into a long, loose roll, slightly flattened. Cut across into thin slices with a sharp knife. Open out and dry the noodles on a tea towel over the back of a chair; this will take 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how warm the room is. Dust, if necessary, with flour to prevent them sticking together.

  6. To cook pasta, bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add about 1 tablespoon oil, then add the pasta and stir so it does not stick together. Cook until al dente (above). Drain and rinse under cold running water. Return to the pan a little wet and reheat with your chosen sauce, or toss in oil and butter with seasoning to taste.