Fresh Pasta

You can make pasta dough on the kitchen counter top, but it’s easier in a bowl. To make 4 generous servings or 6 smaller servings, measure into a bowl 2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour.

In a separate bowl, beat 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks with a fork to just blemd the whites and yolks.

Make a “well” in the flour with a spoon or your hands and pour in the eggs. Mix with a fork, as though you were scrambling the eggs, to gradually incorporate the flour.

At a certain point the dough will become too stiff to mix with a fork. Continue mixing with your hand. Turn the dough out onto a lightly gloured surface and knead lightly.

If you want to use a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Place the flour in the bowl of the mixer and pour in the eggs while mixing at slow speed, just until the dough comes together. Then turn out and knead briefly.

With either method, add sprinkles of water while mixing if the dough is dry and crumbly. When the dough has been kneaded, shape into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic. Let the dough rest for an hour at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.

If you are rolling by hand, a slightly wetter dough will be easier to roll. If you are using a hand crank dough machine or a rolling attachment on your stand mixer, a slightly drier dough works best. This is best judged by experience.

If you are rolling by hand, use a French-style rolling pin (without handles) that is relatively small in diameter. Divide the dough ball into 4 pieces and keep the pieces you are not working with tightly wrapped. Roll the dough as thin as you can and let it dry on towels for 10 minutes or so before cutting.

Lightly roll up the dough sheet and use a sharp knife to cut into noodles of the width you prefer. Keep in mind that the dough will expand quite a bit when it is cooked

Using the pasta roller, divide the dough ball into four pieces. Flatten a piece of dough, flour lightly and roll pasta through the machine at the widest setting. Fold into thirds and pass through the machine again. Repeat two more times. Do this with each of the pieces of dough

Then roll each piece of dough, decreasing the setting on the machine one notch at a time, letting the strips of dough rest on towels as you work with the others.

Continue until all the the pasta sheets are at the desired thickness. Cut the dough sheet in half if it is getting unmanageable as you are rolling. Cut the finished sheets into 14-inch lengths.

If the dough starts to shred as you roll, you will have reached the limit fo thinness for that dough. If you want it a little thinner, pass it through the same setting twice.

Let the dough dry for 10 minutes before cutting, either by hand for wide noodles, or on the cutter attached to the machine.

As the noodles are cut, toss with flour and lay out on sheet pans. If you are not cooking right away, cover with a towel and refrigerate.

When cooking fresh pasta, be aware that it will cook much faster than dried pasta. Use a large pot with plenty of rapidly boiling, salted water. Add the pasta and swirl around with a spider strainer to make sure it doesn’t stick together.

Have your sauce ready in a large sauté pan on the stove next to the pasta pot.

Cook pasta until al dente, so it still has some texture. Fresh pasta will generally cook in 3 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness. Fish the noodles out with the spider and add to the pan of sauce. Toss to finish and serve immediately.