One of life’s greatest pleasures is making meals from scratch. Homemade pasta can be an especially satisfying, if not tricky, endeavor. If you’re new to the homemade pasta game and looking to improve your skills, read on for our team’s top tips, tricks, and hacks to make delicious pasta nearly every time. Plus, scroll to the end for a few recipes that will make your efforts worth every second!
TIPS & TRICKS
Pick a Base Recipe
Homemade pasta doesn’t require a lot of ingredients—flour, water, eggs, and occasionally olive oil are all you need. The small variances in ratios, specific styles of ingredients, and techniques across recipes can make major differences in the end result.
We recommend trying several different base recipes until you find one that works consistently for you. Everything from the humidity to your elevation can make a difference in the final product, but this recipe from Love & Lemons is a good place for most cooks to start.
Roll Out Your Dough with Care
Rolling out your pasta dough is arguably the most challenging part of the process. You’ll need to ensure the dough rests for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out, or it may be too tough. Cooks should also keep any portion of the dough that’s not being actively rolled in plastic wrap to avoid it drying out.
Once your dough is ready to roll, shape it into a flat, oval disc. If your dough is oblong or has protrusions, you’ll end up with odd lengths of noodles, so try to form as even of an oval as possible.
As your dough makes passes through the machine, don’t be afraid to stop and re-flour if it’s getting too sticky. Just be sure to use a light hand and add only as much as you need.
When passing your pasta dough through the cutter to create the noodles, an extra set of hands can be helpful to ensure the dough runs through evenly and does not break as it hits the table! Find more helpful tips for pasta rolling from Gimme Some Oven at the link above.
Dry and Store Your Dough Effectively
Once your pasta has been rolled out, you have three options for your next move. You can (1) cook it immediately, (2) store it fresh, or (3) dry it out for a longer shelf life.
1. Cooking fresh pasta is extremely simple and takes mere minutes. Find more tips for cooking—and a few recipes to go along with your pasta—below.
2. To store pasta fresh, you’ll want to create “nests” of floured pasta that you can easily drop into boiling water in the near future. Each nest will be about one serving of pasta, and you can prep your nests by dropping them on a floured cookie tray and storing them in the fridge until they’re semi-hardened, about 2 to 3 hours.
3. If you plan to store your pasta for longer than a few days, consider hanging the strands on a drying rack or laying them out on your countertop. They’ll be fully dry in about 12 hours, at which point you can pack them away in an airtight container for up to a month at room temperature. Store pasta for even longer in the freezer.
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED
Thanks to pasta’s simplicity, at-home pasta makers don’t need too many new tools to get the job done. Here are the top three items we think all home pasta makers should invest in:
- Although you don’t need a stand mixer to actually form your dough, most home cooks will appreciate a pasta roller for easier, faster pasta making. The KitchenAid Stand Mixer Pasta Attachment is a popular choice.
- Metal scrapers are multipurpose tools that work wonders in pasta making, but you’ll appreciate having one on hand for all different types of baking, bread making, and cooking!
- When dropping nests of pasta into boiling water, you’ll want to avoid making a big splash! This stainless-steel spider strainer allows you to gently lower your pasta into your water and also works great for many other frying and boiling projects.
Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta
Not only is fettuccine one of the easiest and most popular pasta shapes to make at home, but homemade noodles tend to have more texture than mass-produced pasta. That means the craggy, crooked edges will hang on to more Alfredo sauce in every bite! This recipe from Self-Proclaimed Foodie capitalizes on all the beautiful imperfections of homemade pasta with a simple, four-ingredient sauce that you’ll come back to again and again.
Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi with Sage-Butter Sauce
Whether you’re planning to try gnocchi or not, Daniel Gritzer’s impactful yet ultra-simple sage-butter sauce, shared by Serious Eats, can be applied to nearly any type of noodle. Use any leftover fried sage leaves in sablés or sprinkle them on a rice bowl or salad!
Herbed Fresh Pasta with Market Tomatoes and Peppers
Bon Appétit’s herbed noodles are beautiful, but this equation for simple and vibrant veggie pasta can be applied to any fresh noodle, even the basic beige kind. Snappy, small tomatoes will give the dish a satisfying sweetness and crunch, but feel free to sub in any variety you can find at your local farmers market.
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