Making the Dough

Making pasta dough by hand is simple and with practice will easily become second nature. It produces a far superior pasta than kneading by machine will. The slower, more gradual process of hand-kneading, as well as the warmth from your hands, greatly enhances the elasticity and texture of the dough. The amount of flour given is approximate. It varies depending on the size of the eggs and the humidity of the environment. For best results, use eggs that are at room temperature and do not knead the dough on a cold surface such as marble.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Method

  1. Pour the flour into a mound on a large wooden board or kitchen counter that is not cold like granite. Make a well in the center with your fingers.
  2. Break the eggs into the center of the well and discard the shells.
  3. Beat the eggs gently with a fork until the yolks and whites are evenly mixed together.
  4. With the fork, begin incorporating flour from the well into the eggs until they are no longer runny. Be careful not to break the wall of flour or the egg mixture will pour out of the well.
  5. When the egg and flour mixture inside the well has thickened enough so that it is no longer runny, scrape off the bits that are stuck to the fork and put it aside. Push at least ¼ of the flour to the side.
  6. This step must be done quickly and without hesitation or you may end up losing some of the egg mixture. With both hands swiftly bring the remaining flour over the egg mixture so that it is completely covered.
  7. Begin working the mass with your hands until all the flour is mixed in with the eggs. Determine whether more flour is needed. The dough should be moist but not excessively sticky when you insert a finger in it. Once the dough is at the right consistency wrap it tightly in plastic.
  8. Scrape away any bits of dough stuck to the work surface and wash your hands to remove any egg and flour. Unwrap the dough and begin kneading. Hold the dough with one hand while folding it over with the fingers of your other hand. Using the heel of your palm push down and away from you. Rotate the dough ¼ turn and repeat the two-part process. Continue until the dough is uniform and smooth. Immediately wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for a minimum of 20 minutes before rolling it out.

Red Pasta

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste for each egg and mix together well with the beaten eggs in the well before beginning to incorporate the flour.

Green Pasta

  1. Use 2 ½ ounces frozen spinach or ¼ pound fresh spinach leaves for each egg. Cook the spinach in salted boiling water until it is quite tender. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as you can and chop it very finely. Mix the chopped spinach with the beaten eggs in the well before beginning to incorporate the flour. You will likely need about ¼ cup more flour than when making plain pasta.

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