Making your own fresh pasta is easy to learn and a great skill for every cook to know. Fresh pasta is world’s tastier than anything you can buy in the store. It’s a very simple process and uses only three ingredients. Your dinner guests, however, will be deservedly impressed. Pasta was originally a southern Italian, particularly Sicilian, dish, with the first pasta industry located in Naples to take advantage of its pure water, local grain and abundant sunshine. With the help of this recipe you can impress your guests with your own home-made ravioli, tortellini, lasagne, fettuccine, farfalle…
(makes 700 g of pasta)
500 g plain (all-purpose flour)
Mound the flour on a work surface or in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Break eggs into the well and whisk with a fork, incorporating the flour as you whisk. You may need to add a little chilled water (¼ teaspoon at the time) to make a loosely massed dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. It should be soft, pliable and dry to the touch. Knead for about 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic with a slightly glossy appearance. Cover with a clean tea towel (dish towel) and leave for 30 minutes. The dough is then ready to roll out.
To make dough in a processor, mix flour for about 3 seconds, then, with the motor running, add the eggs. Mix again for 5 seconds, or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix until a loose ball forms, then continue for 5 seconds until the machine slows and stops. If the dough seems too sticky to form a smooth ball, add two teaspoons flour and mix briefly. Add more small amounts of flour until the ball forms. If the mixture is too dry, add chilled water, a teaspoon at the time. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover with a tea towel and leave for 30 minutes.
To roll out the dough, divide into two or three manageable portions. Work with one portion at a time, keeping the rest covered. Flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out from the centre to the outer edge, rotating the dough often. When you have a 5 mm thick circle of dough, fold it in a half and roll it out again. Do this eight times to give a smooth circle of pasta, then roll to a thickness of 2.5 mm. Mend any tears with pasta from the outside of the circle and a little water. Transfer to a lightly floured tea towel. if pasta is to be filled, keep it covered and don’t allow it to dry out. If the sheets are to be cut into lengths or shapes, leave them uncovered while you roll out the other portions, so the surface moisture will dry slightly before cutting.