Pasta is available in two forms: lunga (long) and corta (short). Pasta corta can also be divided into two subcategories: liscia (smooth) and rigata (furrowed), which is able to hold more sauce. Despite some variations, the dough just about always remains the same and it is cut depending on the desired effect of the finished product. But remember, pasta should always be eaten al dente, literally meaning “to the tooth,” which not only makes it tastier, but easier to digest.
Making homemade pasta is easier than it seems. All it takes is a bit of practice and the right tools and ingredients. With 15-20 minutes to make the dough, 30 minutes to let it rest, 10 minutes to extend and cut the pasta, it should take you approximately one hour to get the job done.
Pasta dough ingredients
• 2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 tsp (1 ml) table salt
• Water as needed
*The traditional Italian pasta dough recipe is 1 egg per etto (100g) of flour. This recipe does not necessarily require the use of water. Some even add a tablespoon of olive oil, which in turn will give more elasticity to the dough and make it less sticky. This general rule of thumb might vary depending on the size of the eggs and the flour used (durum wheat flour is considered the best).
• Traditional pasta roller machine
• Manual pasta extruder
• Pasta rack or clean broom stick
Mound the flour on your work surface (marble or granite is best) and make a well in the centre. Add the eggs, salt and ½ cup of water into the well and beat the eggs using a fork or your fingers. Gradually incorporate the flour into the egg mixture from inside the inner edge of the rim, expanding the well and making sure it retains its shape until the dough starts to form.
Once the dough starts coming together, start kneading for about 6 minutes, using the palms of your hands, until you obtain a soft, elastic texture. Roll into a ball, discarding any bits of dough left on the work surface.
Divide into three pieces to make handling easier. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature. Roll or shape as desired.
written by Gabriel Riel-Salvatore