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40 responses to “On Making Homemade Pasta”

  1. Lisa S.

    Man, I feel guilty admitting this, but I make my pasta dough in my bread machine. Quick measurements and then 7-10 minutes later I pull it out to rest.

    I know, I know, but it’s a cost/benefit thing…

  2. Phil

    I was just talking about wanting to delve into pasta making, thanks for the resources

  3. Deanne

    Hey Hank, longtime admirer of your site. I love making pasta but I do not have a pasta machine so I roll it out by hand. The hand rolling is do-able but I generally do it as a special occasion, more in the traditional style of having lots of people over and making a large amount which I then give some away and freeze some. The trick to getting it thin is having fresh arms to take over (or taking breaks) and using a lower surface to roll on than a normal counter (or getting up high to get some extra leverage). Also, resting the dough is vital since it makes it much easier to work with. If you haven’t tried it at least once, you should. It’s incredibly satisfying that extra effort just tastes so good!

  4. Chris

    I love my marathon mill. Very adjustable, although I have never tried to see how fine I can get with it – but I can do everything from grinding flour to husking sunflower seeds with it. My atlas pasta machine is also near to my heart.

  5. Kirsten

    Great Read! Can’t say that I’ve “mastered” fresh pasta, but have been doing it for 20 years. I have not yet turned to a machine and do stick with the pin and board. I adore stuffed pasta so my pasta always includes a few teaspoons of milk (egg and flour) to get the really elastic dough you need for stuffing it. I also found an antique noodle cutter (see here for a picture) in an antique mall in Minnesota. Love it!

  6. Mfree

    I’ve only been making pasta for about a month and it is completely addicting. I couldn’t agree more about the alchemy. It just feels so unnatural to make something so beautiful with so few ingredients. My personal favorite thus far has been a white pepper pasta with parsnips and pancetta. Can’t wait to try some of yours!

  7. Mark L.

    Great topic Hank, thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I’m definitely more of a novice pasta maker, but I have been making my own for the past few years. It used to be an infrequent activity since I was usually just cooking it for one or two people and it was a hassle to get out my Atlas machine (attaching it to my counter was a hassle since the included clamp did not fit) and make a full recipe’s worth of pasta, which required me to freeze much of it.

    However, having recently received 1) Michael Ruhlman’s “Ratio” and 2) a set of Kitchenaid pasta roller/cutter attachments I now make pasta much more frequently. Using the ratio of flour to eggs recommended by Ruhlman I can make as much or as little as a I like and while I appreciate the Atlas, using the Kitchenaid is much easier because you have both hands free to guide the pasta through the roller. Couldn’t agree more about the benefits of letting the dough rest before rolling it.

    I have been using King Arthur AP flour but am interested in making some with “00″ flour. Any idea if that is available at Corti Bros or Taylor’s here in Sac?

  8. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLife

    Calling the Italian persnickety about pastas, pasta shapes, pasta fillings, and the appropriate sauces thereto is an understatement. I encountered a facial expression of genuine horror when discussing with a resident of Modena what Americans will put in a pasta wrapper and call tortellini. I was told that only barbarians would do such things. And I discovered the joy of ropy, chewy strangozzi noodles, lightly graced with a tomato and cinghiale sauce in Norcia, or other tomato-y sauces elsewhere in Umbria.

    Your pasta looks gorgeous, Hank. I’ve rolled pasta with just a pin once or twice, with the help of an Italian friend. My results were nothing to brag about, but then I only have a tapered French rolling pin – probably far from ideal. My Italian friend told me that her mother has many sisters. They all use the exact same ingredients and the exact same method (from their grandmother) to make fresh pasta. But all the sisters agree that one of them makes superior pasta to all the others. The working consensus is that the sister with the best pasta always has warm hands, and that somehow makes all the difference. If they’re right, it bodes well for me if I ever get really serious about making pasta. I usually have warm hands.

  9. Annie

    great post, thanks! And that sausage debauchery?! You may have just ruined me. We discovered a full additional 20 lbs. of venison from the last month of the season, so we still have plenty more to work with!

  10. Killgore

    I enjoy making sweet potato pasta. Bake a medium sweet potato (or nuke in the microwave for 7-8 minutes) until cooked completely through. Allow it to cool and the skin will come off easily. Make sure your sweet potato is completely cooled before mix with eggs and flour. You can put it in the fridge to speed things along. Once cooled mix the sweet potatoes, egg, flour ( I use semolina) and a pinch of salt. You will need to account for a little extra flour in your recipe because there’s moisture in the sweet potato.

    It adds a lot of nutritional value and fiber to regular pasta and it’s delicious.

    I like your idea of adding red pepper. I’ll give that a try with my sweet potato pasta.

  11. Cindy

    Wow, your pasta looks a lot better than mine ever did! Thanks for all the great resources and tips, I may just have to try it again.

  12. Nick

    What I want to know is: where did you get a chitarra? I’ve looked around, and the only one I’ve found for sale is on the williams-sonoma website.

  13. fishguy

    Another great post! And Holly! Those photos made me hungry right after dinner

  14. adele

    I make pasta with whole eggs if I’m cooking it fresh, but egg yolks only if I’m filling ravioli to freeze. I find that whole-egg pasta tends to turn brittle in the freezer.

    Unfortunately, this always leaves me with way too many leftover egg whites. I could probably use a recipe for “sheets and linens!”

  15. John Bailey

    Try some experiments with chocolate pastas. They can be the ultimate dessert finish to a meal. The saucing can be everything from fudge sauce to strawberry to raspberry to almost any puree. A chocolate linguini with a homemade vanilla ice cream is a wonderful meal ending surprise.

  16. Will

    A nice trick for the Atlas is to take off the outer case pieces, along the rollers. They don’t serve any purpose, but they do get gummed up sometimes and cause swearing.

    Nice post. I made worlds of pasta before the wife quit eating gluten. Together with the losses in pie crust and bread, one of the great tragedies of my life.

  17. Mark L.

    Hank, I really think you’re going to enjoy Ratio given the amount of experimental cooking you do. Very curious to see what you think of it so please do post your thoughts after you’ve read it.

  18. Peter

    I have a hand-crank roller that works a treat. My son loves to crank it while I feed/catch whatever we’re making. Lately I’ve been into unorthodox flavorings and colorings, like hijiki or beet juice. But it doesn’t matter- now matter how ugly, it’s better than store-bought by a country mile. Your ideas on other flours are inspiring…

  19. Scott

    Hi all. Please excuse the ebay storefront as my website is under construction. Also know, I am looking for buckwheat flour to make pizzocheri. I think I’m close. Keep checking back. Thanks.

  20. Lisa S.

    Don’t feel too bad, I do NOT like sticky dough. The bread machine does not eliminate all of the kneading. I just don’t wanna get my fingers all gooey and
    the little paddle takes care of it. I still have to knead the dough some before it rests. Then I use an Atlas like everybody else…

  21. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    What beautiful pasta! Where are all the ragged edges and broken pieces I always get? I’m going to try a longer rest and see how I do.

    About the woman’s forearm tip, though. I can attest that, after a certain age, a forearm can be more like the skin on the rice pudding than the firm fresh pasta. I’ll be aiming for what my forearm used to feel like.

  22. Mfree

    I ran the pepper through my spice grinder before so yeah i guess pretty finely ground although i didn’t think it would be an issue. Beginner’s luck perhaps?

  23. kristopher

    Hank, you can toast your own flour in a hot oven on a sheet pan. That way you control the amount of toast. It works well and adds a dimension of flavor that is complimentary to several sauces.

  24. kristopher

    I make ndjua that i smoke for 2 hours a day for 5 days. a little ndjua, a little heavy cream, over chitarra pasta made with grano arso. italian flat parsley and grana garnish. the toasted flour and smoked meat are nice. also a mushroom ragu with cream and pici pasta is nice. parm garnish. (you can use the widest setting on a chitarra to cut the pici then hand roll to finish)

  25. Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    I just started making homemade pasta a month or so ago, and now I crave it all the time. I don’t have a pasta machine (yet), so I have no choice but to roll mine out by hand. It’s time consuming, but it is also a very satisfying, soothing endeavor. I cut mine by hand, too, so as a result all my pastas have been fettucini width or wider, with a few raviolis thrown in for good measure. I’m working on a pasta post, but here’s a sneak peak. How’d I do? http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawn_kitchentravels/4317668836/in/set-72157622726804637/

  26. Sean

    Mmm … I love the sensation of the cool sheets of pasta draping over my hands as they go through the kneader. Everytime I make pasta, I have an urge to make something non-edible out of it — sculpture, or masks or something. But, in the end, I just eat it.

  27. Dina

    I like to make pasta to unwind! Soothing process and fun too!

  28. Fritz Nordengren - SmallFarmLife.com

    Great topic, if I can offer a simple tip for beginners: buy a good pasta roller/cutter and start! its fun, even when it isn’t perfect. Great pasta is a little like the old joke about “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”

    Practice, practice, practice.

  29. Angela

    Hi Hank!
    I just happened across your website the other day looking for a red pepper pasta recipe to accompany some spinach pasta I made, thinking they would look pretty together dressed in some butter and lemon and herbs from my garden, and then I got lost in your recipes for a while, they look so lovely! I have a quick question for you if you care to help an advanced beginner :) I use just a small hand crank Atlas 150 (I too love the feel of the smooth cool fresh sheets rolling out, beautiful!) and I always seem to chicken out and make the sheets destined for filling too thick. I made some ravioli tonight and though they were tasty the skirt was just a bit too heavy and chewy. I used the number 6 setting of 9 thickness settings. What do you use? I made fettuccine once with number 8 and it was much too delicate and sort of fell apart in the water, and since then I stick to number 5 or 6 usually, not wanting to ruin an hour + of work again. Help?

  30. Mari

    Can you recommend any other books besides The Encyclopedia of Pasta for basic dough recipe variations? We’ve ordered it and I’m excited to read it, but it looks extremely academic. My boyfriend picked up Stir by Barbara Lynch. She goes on at great length about her love of fresh handmade pasta, and then half the recipes in the book call for random dried. The only variations listed are gnocchi. We have Vegetarian Bittman and also enjoyed his Best Recipes in The World there are few recipes in each, but very basic. Looking for a jewel of a book in order to play!

  31. Jason Winters

    Please let me know when you find some “Grana Arsa” or burnt flour. I can not find a source for it anywhere in the states. Thank you sooo much.

  32. Van Canales

    Excuse me, what is the name of the sauce?

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