There are about as many different kinds of pasta as there are dialects in Italy: that’s a lot. While some dishes work best with dried pastas, sometimes a homemade (fatta a casa) pasta is just perfect. While it seems difficult and time consuming, making pasta by hand is actually quite easy and relaxing – kneading the dough can be very therapeutic! Once believed that pasta was introduced into Italy via Marco Polo’s explorations in China, it was actually first referenced in Sicily during the Middle Ages – and, the etymology of the word itself comes from a Latinised version of the Greek word, παστά (pasta): a barley porridge. This is a very basic egg pasta recipe from the north of Italy. The addition of the eggs directly into the pasta makes it a bit richer – you’d never find egg in the pasta of a traditional southern household – they’d have eaten their eggs as their main course instead. For this recipe, doppio zero flour is the best – it produces a very delicate but firm texture – perfect for a variety of shapes and sauces.
Fresh Egg Pasta (Serves 4)
3 large eggs
300 g doppio zero flour (‘00’), plus extra for dusting and rolling
drizzle of olive oil
pinch of salt
- Pour the 300 g of doppio zero flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and crack the eggs into it. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- With a fork, beat the eggs into the flour in a circular motion, continually adding flour from the sides of the well until it’s all incorporated.
- On a large surface (preferably a wooden chopping board), dusted with flour, knead the dough into a ball to develop the gluten. This should take approx. 7-10 minutes – it should be soft and spring back when you push your thumb into it. Add extra flour if necessary. Let it rest for 20- 30 minutes under a damp tea towel.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough a few times and cut it into quarters.
- If rolling out by hand: Take one quarter at a time – keep the rest under the damp tea towel – and roll out the dough to about the thinness of a dime, (it should be oval shaped). This might take some time and energy – so use your muscles! *Tip: Roll the dough over the rolling pin, then, using your palms, work your way from the centre out in a continuously rolling motion – this will cause the dough to stretch out and should make it thinner much quicker – but, be careful not to break the dough!
If using a pasta machine: Put the dough through the widest setting. Fold in half and repeat another 4-5 times. Once the dough is an even rectangular shape, put it through each setting once – finishing at the second to last one. Once it has been rolled out, dust it again with flour on both sides.
- Cut and form the pasta to the desired shape.