Fresh egg pasta is an essential part of the Italian Jewish culinary repertoire. It is easy to make at home with a small, hand-cranked pasta machine, not an extruder that produces an elastic and often rather tough dough. For a tender noodle, use unbleached all-purpose flour, not the coarser semolina flour that is meant for commercially made extruded pasta. The following recipe makes a rather stiff and dry-feeling dough, but ultimately will yield a lighter pasta. It is essential to let the dough rest before rolling it out, giving the gluten in the flour time to relax. A drier dough produces a pasta that will not be gummy when cooked. So take the time to knead it well and you will be rewarded with a silky, light, and tender noodle. Measure flour by spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling it with a knife. Weather affects pasta, so if the day is damp you may need a bit less flour. For the richest pasta, use more egg yolks than whole eggs. Three large egg yolks are the equivalent of a single large egg in moisture content.
Of course, you may buy fresh pasta, but it is rarely as delicate and tender as the pasta you make fresh at home. Most pasta shops roll the dough too thick, and the dough is often damp, causing the noodles to stick together. Finding an acceptable fresh pasta is not impossible, however. Shop around until you locate the brand or store that produces the lightest, finest noodle.
For a Scant 1½ pounds (Serves 6):
3 to 3¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs or 3 large eggs and 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten