Making pasta is not as hard as you think! With the right tools and ingredients it can be whipped up in less than an hour (including cooking!). I have tried making pasta by hand, machine, and with all types of flour. I have found that the best way to make pasta is to make the dough in a food processor because the dough always comes out to the perfect consistency. Making dough by hand is a lot more laborious, but it can be done. Then I use my pasta machine (thanks to Jeff and Sonia!) to shape the pasta. I use an Imperia dal 1932. I have the perfect system for this...I make the sauce and the dough and then Marc rolls the pasta through the machine. He loves toys so this is the perfect task for him. I'll give you some visuals to walk you through the process.
The recipe for the dough is adapted from the the recipe on the back of the bag of Bob's Red Mill Flour.
1 1/2 C Semolina Flour*
1/2 t sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 T olive oil
2 T water
*A note on flour: While I have used "00" pasta flour, I have found that semolina flour is the easiest to work with. Do not attempt to use all purpose flour or you will have a cooking disaster like I did the first time around.
Serves 4-6...depending upon how piggy you want to be!
In a Food Processor: Using the dough blade and dough setting on the food processor, mix all ingredients. Literally just hit the button and let the machine do its magic until the mixture bounces around as a ball. If you find that (due to the moisture in the air) the dough is too sticky or too dry you can add a bit more flour or cold water. Add just 1 T at a time until it is the right consistency. (This comes with practice-- but generally you do not want to have the dough sticking to your hands). Knead it a few times to make sure it is elastic.
OR By Hand: Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Whisk together wet ingredients and then fold into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until completely combined. Dump dough onto a well floured countertop and knead for a few minutes until it is elastic.
Wrap the dough in saran wrap or a towel and let sit for 20 minutes.
If you are using a Pasta Machine:
Pinch small, palm-full sized pieces of dough off and form an oval in your hands. Press it flat. Run all pieces of dough through the machine first on the setting marked "6", then "4", and then "2". Then you can run all of these thin pieces through the machine on either the spaghetti or fettuccini setting. Make pasta "nests" or if the dough is sticky, lay the pasta out flat until you are ready to boil it.
OR By Hand:
Split the dough in quarters. Roll the dough out using a rolling pin. You will have to make sure the dough is very thin or it will take a while to cook. Once it is to desired thickness, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut strips of pasta. The easiest thing to do would be to make pappardelle. Make pasta "nests" or if the dough is sticky, lay the pasta out flat until you are ready to boil it.
Boil Pasta for 4-8 minutes. This will depend upon what type of pasta you make so check it every few minutes.
imperia pasta maker:
knead the dough (or have your boyfriend do it):
run the pasta through the machine three times first on the 6 setting, then 4, then 2:
finally run the pasta through the machine on either the spaghetti or fettuccini setting:
Lay the pasta out in strips on a cutting board (or on the counter) if it is sticky. Or if the dough is not too sticky you can form pasta nests.