Advertisement

How to Make Pasta


Try It!

Here are some Italian recipes from our collection:

The possible combinations of pasta and sauce -- there are more than 150 shapes of dried pasta alone -- are limitless and may even be a little intimidating. Long or short, smooth or ridged, thick or thin, with or without curves and crevices, different shapes of pasta capture and absorb sauce differently. Matched correctly, the right shape can make a good sauce great. Use the wrong shape and the dish may still taste good, but it just won't come together as well. The basic rules are simple: The flatter and longer shapes combine well with olive oil and cream sauces; sturdier shapes work well with chunkier and more assertively flavored sauces. Classic marinara and simple cream and butter sauces go well with basically all pasta.

How to cook each type of pasta in order to create that al dente texture can be a bit tricky. Take a look at the next section for tips.

Want more information? Try these:

  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.

Advertisement

Advertisement

The cooking guidelines for pasta vary depending on the type of pasta you're using. Following are some basic tips for both dry and fresh pasta.

Dry Pasta: For every pound of dry pasta, bring 4 to 6 quarts of water to a full, rolling boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt, if desired. Gradually add pasta, allowing water to return to a boil. The water helps circulate the pasta so that it cooks evenly. Stir frequently to prevent the pasta from sticking.

Begin testing for doneness at the minimum recommended time given on the package directions. Pasta should be "al dente" -- tender, yet firm, and not mushy. Immediately drain pasta to prevent overcooking. For best results, toss the pasta with sauce immediately after draining. If the sauce is not ready, toss the pasta with some butter or oil to prevent it from sticking. Store uncooked dry pasta in a cool dry place.

Fresh Pasta: Homemade pasta cooks in less time than dry pasta. Cook fresh pasta the same way as dry, except begin testing for doneness after 2 minutes. Fresh pasta will last several weeks in the refrigerator or can be frozen up to 1 month.

Ready to attempt to make your own fresh pasta? Check out the next page for tips.

Want more information? Try these:

  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.
  • Italian Cooking: Italian cuisine is not just spaghetti and meatballs. Learn all about Italian cooking in this article.
  • Italian Recipes: You're sure to work up an appetite when you take a look at the Italian recipes featured here.
  • Pasta Recipes: Our collection of pasta recipes offer excellent ideas for an authentic Italian pasta meal.

Advertisement

Advertisement

It is very simple to make your own fresh pasta at home, even without a pasta machine. Just follow these basic steps and discover the delicious taste and satisfaction of eating your very own pasta.
  1. Combine 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt on pastry board, culling board, or countertop; make well in center. Whisk 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon milk, and1 teaspoon olive oil in small bowl until well blended; gradually pour into well in flour mixture while mixing with fork or fingertips to form ball of dough.

    Gradually add the mixture to the flour to make a ball of dough.
    Gradually add the mixture to the
     flour to make a ball of dough.

  2. Place dough on lightly floured surface; flatten slightly. To knead dough, fold dough in half toward you and press dough away from you with heels of hands. Give dough a quarter turn and continue folding, pushing, and turning. Continue kneading 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding more flour to prevent sticking if necessary. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; let stand 15 minutes.

    Knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic.
    Knead the dough until it becomes
    smooth and elastic.

  3. Unwrap dough and knead briefly (as described in step 2) on lightly floured surface. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to 1/8-inch-thick circle on lightly floured surface. Gently pick up dough circle with both hands. Hold it up to the light to check for places where dough is too thick. Return to board; even out any thick spots. Let rest until dough is slightly dry but can be handled without breaking.

  4. Lightly flour dough circle; roll loosely on rolling pin.

    Loosely roll the dough on a rolling pin.
    Loosely roll the dough on a rolling pin.
  5. Slide rolling pin out; press dough roll gently with hand and cut into strips of desired width with sharp knife. Carefully unfold strips.

    Cut the dough into strips of desired width.
    Cut the dough into strips of desired width.
  6. Pasta can be dried and stored at this point. Hang strips over pasta rack or clean broom handle covered with plastic wrap and propped between two chairs. Dry at least 3 hours; store in airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days. To serve, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water 3 to 4 minutes just until al dente. Drain well.

    Dry the pasta using a drying rack.
    Dry the pasta using a drying rack.
You can also make homemade pasta with the help of a machine. See the next page for details.

Want more information? Try these:

  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.
  • Italian Cooking: Italian cuisine is not just spaghetti and meatballs. Learn all about Italian cooking in this article.
  • Italian Recipes: You're sure to work up an appetite when you take a look at the Italian recipes featured here.
  • Pasta Recipes: Our collection of pasta recipes offer excellent ideas for an authentic Italian pasta meal.

Advertisement

Advertisement

You don't have to make pasta by hand to make it from scratch. Follow are tips on using a pasta machine.
  1. Combine 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 3 eggs, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in food processor. Process until dough forms; shape into a ball.

    Combine pasta mixture in the food processor and run until the dough forms a ball.
    Combine pasta mixture in a food
    processor and run until
     the dough forms a ball.

  2. Place dough on lightly floured surface; flatten slightly. Cut dough into 4 pieces. Wrap 3 dough pieces in plastic wrap; set aside.

  3. Knead dough with pasta machine. Set rollers of pasta machine at widest setting (position 1). Feed unwrapped dough piece through flat rollers by turning handle. (Dough may crumble slightly at first but will hold together after two to three rollings.)

    Knead the dough through the pasta machine at the widest setting.
    Knead the dough through the pasta
    machine at the widest setting.

  4. Lightly flour dough strip; fold strip into thirds. Feed through rollers again. Continue process 7 to 10 times until dough is smooth and elastic.

    Fold the pasta dough into thirds.
    Fold the pasta dough into thirds.
  5. Roll out dough with machine. Reduce setting to position 3. Feed dough strip through rollers. Without folding strip into thirds, repeat on positions 5 and 6. Let dough stand 5 to 10 minutes until slightly dry.

  6. Attach desired shape and size of pasta roller and feed dough through, catching finished pasta with free hand as it emerges. Repeat kneading and rolling with reserved dough pieces.

    Using the desired attachment, feed the dough through the pasta machine.
    Using the desired attachment, feed the
     dough through the pasta machine.

  7. Pasta can be dried and stored at this point. Hang pasta strips over pasta rack or clean broom handle covered with plastic wrap and propped between two chairs. (Or, twirl pasta into nests and place on clean kitchen towels.) Dry at least 3 hours; store in airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.
Introduce the Italian tradition of making pasta into your home by following the easy steps outlined in this article. Your stomach will thank you!

Want more information? Try these:

  • Cooking: Learn the ins and outs of some basic cooking techniques in this helpful article.
  • Italian Cooking: Italian cuisine is not just spaghetti and meatballs. Learn all about Italian cooking in this article.
  • Italian Recipes: You're sure to work up an appetite when you take a look at the Italian recipes featured here.
  • Pasta Recipes: Our collection of pasta recipes offer excellent ideas for an authentic Italian pasta meal.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement