First, let me tell you that making pasta at first will take you a few hours, and will cost more than buying good imported pasta. Making fresh pasta will only make a great tasting pasta (plus the feeling of making something from scratch). Its something I do for leisure on the weekend.
With that said, allow me to get to the recipe (btw - this serves 2 people. The general rule is N eggs + N cups of flour + N tblsp of water where N=number of people, but I've only made enough for two):
- What you'll need:
- A clean and dry countertop
- A sharp knife
- Rolling Pin
- Mixing Bowl
- A fork
- Your largest cutting board (if you don't cut on the countertop)
- A way to measure 1 cup (measuring cup)
- About 2 hours of free time (for your first time)
- 2+ cups of "run-of-the-mill" flour (optional: 1+ cup of regular flour and 1 cup of "pasta" flour (flour with durham wheat))
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp water
- A Glass of Wine (optional)
First things first, pour yourself a glass of wine (you are making an Italian dish from scratch). I haven't seen any difference whether I have red or white, so take your favorite. Now wash your hands! You are going to be dealing with the dough with your hands, so make sure they are clean.
OK, put your 2 measured cups of flour into the mixing bowl (1 cup pasta flour, 1 cup regular flour, if you go for the pasta flour, which really does add to the flavor. But after this step, only use regular flour). Add the tsp of salt (no need to measure, just add a little bit to it. A little more than a pinch, a little less than a tblsp). If you used the pasta flour, mix it up so the flours are combined.
Now form a "crater" (or "volcano") with the flour in the middle of the bowl. Crack and add two eggs into the crater. Now, hopefully you cracked one egg well, because you can add a half-eggshell worth of water into the crater (I have been told its a tblsp, but I've always used a half eggshell. Most of my 'family' recipies don't have "exact" measurements, most of them are done to taste. But don't taste the dough or pasta until its done! There's raw eggs in there!).
Using the fork, draw the flour into the eggs, and begin to mix the batter. Once it becomes less "sticky" wipe off the fork and begin working with it with your hands. Getting all the flour into the dough is a long process, and requires a lot of work. Don't get frustrated!
Once you get all the flour in the dough, begin kneading the dough until its a slick dough (there isn't "pieces of flour" thats visible).
Ok, now 'flour' your countertop and your rolling pin.
Break off a small piece of the dough (you'll be breaking the dough into about 4-6 pieces. Its best to go with smaller pieces your first few times).
Place the piece of dough on your countertop, knead it flat with your hands a bit. Now LIGHTLY flour the top of your piece (you'll be constantly flouring the dough. Eventually, you want it floured enough not to stick, but overflouring causes the pasta to be too thick) and begin rolling it with the rolling pin. After a few (like 5-8) rolls on one side, flip it, lightly flour the new side, then roll that side. After a few rolls, flip it, and only lightly flour the new side if it begins to stick to your rolling pin (you don't want the dough stick at all in the end, so once it gets really flat, begin lightly flouring it again), roll, etc...
The pasta thickens when you cook it, so you want to roll the dough as flat as humanly possible. I try to make my dough almost transparently thin. If it isn't flat enough and you can't get it any flatter, you've overfloured the dough (it happens). Just don't use that much flour next time, but don't throw out the pasta. It'll be thick, but still edible.
Once you flatten it as much as possible, flour the top side (not lightly, you aren't "pushing" more flour into the dough this time), and roll the dough up like a jelly roll.
Cut off the ends (and throw the ends away) of your dough-jelly-roll, and begin cutting off pieces to about the thickness of linguine (or just a little smaller). After you've finished cutting your jelly-roll, unwrap all the pieces and put them in a dry spot. If your pasta is sticking and you can't unwrap it, there isn't enough flour in your dough, or you didn't flour it enough when you rolled it. Now, it should resemble pasta that's got flour on it.
Now you go back and rip another piece off your main dough. If you took a while to make your first piece of pasta, your main dough will be a bit dry. Simple knead it for a minute or so, and it should return to its original consistancy.
Repeat the rolling process with this piece, until you created pasta out of the entire main dough.
Option 1: You can let your pasta dry for a day or so, and have it another day (I haven't left pasta to dry over 3 days, so I can't tell you how long it can sit). Cooking dry pasta is the same as cooking boxed pasta. Takes about 8-12 minutes.
Option 2:You can cook your pasta as soon as you finish. Because it isn't dried, it only takes about 3-5 minutes for the pasta to cook (unless its really thick, then it takes longer).
Tips:Al dente (literally, "to the teeth") means your pasta should still be slightly firm in the center, yet cooked throughout. Al dente is a lot harder to determine on fresh, undried pasta. Remember, you have raw eggs in the pasta, so make sure you cook it well. Pasta flour really adds to the flavor if you can find it, but only use it in one of your first two cups. Pasta flour is a lot drier (well, less absorbent) than regular flour, and shouldn't be used when you "flour" the dough/countertop/rolling pin after the dough has been kneaded.
I can make pictures for those of you that need extra help (and I'll even try to answer questions if you have them). If you do try and make pasta, tell me about the experience (good or bad). It took me 3 times before I made a really good pasta, so don't give up too quickly!
Maybe if everyone (tries and) enjoys this recipe, I'll give out the infamous Marotti spaghetti sauce recipe...