I freaking love making pasta from scratch and am so happy you are here! The flavor and texture of homemade pasta is beyond comparison to anything mass produced. I’ll show you how to make it by hand with or without equipment. You can find special recipes by diet within this post.
Your Basic Homemade Pasta Guide
There are hundreds of shapes, sizes, thicknesses, and colors of pasta. Today, I will explore the basic ways to get started with making egg-based pasta using your Kitchenaid with pasta attachments or by hand, if you don’t own one.
You will find a basic fresh egg pasta recipe (at the bottom) but I will include my favorite gluten-free and vegan pasta recipes, too, for those of you with dietary restrictions.
Over the years, I’ve made pasta probably a hundred times every which way. You can make this recipe in the food processor, with a pasta maker, with a Kitchenaid, with a rolling pin, and even with a wine bottle and a knife.
It’s such a simple process.
How to Make Fresh Egg Pasta Dough
Step-by-Step (by Hand):
Step 1: Sift flour onto a clean counter and gather into a mound. With your fingers in the center of the mound, make a hollow nest. Crack the eggs into the hollow. With a fork, start to mix in the flour from the edge.
Step 2: Gradually incorporate the flour (it’s ok if it’s not all of it) to form a viscous paste. Put fork to the side and use both hands to heap the flour from the outside edges into the paste in the middle. Work pasta paste to form a dough. If dry flour remains, you can sprinkle with a bit of water.
Step 3: Work in water with both thumbs, then press dough into a ball and work in remaining flour. Knead by pressing the dough with the heels of your hands, then form into a ball again. Repeat this kneading action until the dough has a firm but slightly elastic consistency and no longer changes shape when you remove your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest a minimum of 15-minutes or up to 2-hours to relax.
Handling Pasta Dough With Pasta Attachment
Here’s the procedure for Shaping Your Pasta Dough:
After your dough has rested for at least 15 minutes, pinch off a piece of dough and flatten with your hand. Dust with flour and feed into the pasta attachment (set to the largest opening). Set your speed to low and feed the flattened dough through.
Repeat this step a second time.
Adjust the opening to the next size down. Dust again with flour and feed the flat dough through. Fold in half and feed through a second time.
Adjust the opening to the next size down. Dust again with flour and feed through using the other hand to catch the dough as it goes through. Fold in half and repeat. If it sticks or tears at all. Simply fold in half and repeat.
Continue this process of running the pasta through the machine 1x on each level, folding 1x at each level until you get to the absolute thinnest possible setting.
You can use the fresh pasta sheets for lasagna or you can cut into noodles with a knife. I like to use the fettucine attachment that comes with your pasta attachment set for dishes like fettucine alfredo. These noodles can be dusted with a tiny amount of flour until you are ready to cook them.
If you want to shape your pasta by hand, you can use an over-turned measuring cup to make circle cut outs for ravioli. I like to use a light hand when filling fresh pasta and brush the outer edges with water before crimping with a fork.
You can even make spaghetti-shaped noodles if you want to just place your pasta dough into a pasta extruder.
There are so many types of noodles, if you want to see an exhaustive list, you can get started here.
Egg Free (Vegan) Fresh Pasta Variation
If you have an egg allergy, you can create an equally pliable fresh pasta by using silken tofu. This pasta won’t taste quite as rich without the egg, so I like to add a generous amount of black pepper for a bold flavor. Serves 6
Vegan Pasta Ingredients
- 1/4 pound silken tofu
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- pinch sea salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
Vegan Pasta Dough Procedure
- Blend tofu, olive oil, water, and salt in the blender until smooth.
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add flour and pulse to aerate. Add black pepper and tofu mixture and process for 30 seconds. Remove dough and shape into a ball. On a floured work surface, knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Wrap in plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes before rolling and shaping into noodles.
Gluten-Free Fresh Pasta Recipe Variation
I’ve made this gluten-free pasta many times. You can mix it in a stand mixer or by hand and use to make ravioli, lasagna noodles, or fettucine. Yield: 1 pound
Gluten-Free Pasta Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup super fine brown rice flour
- 1/3 cup arrowroot
- 1/2 cup tapioca starch (flour)
- 1/2 cup organic cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour, plus more for dusting the counter
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons guar gum-xanthan gum blend
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
How to Mix Gluten-Free Pasta:
- Put the dry ingredients in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid (or do these steps by hand). Blend using the paddle.
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the eggs and olive oil.
- While the mixer is on, slowly add the eggs and oil mixture. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. The dough should have the consistency of play dough. If too firm, add a tablespoon of water at a time.
- Lightly dust a counter with sweet rice flour. Cut into 8 pieces to roll the pasta out.
Using the Pasta Machine:
- Start by flattening the piece of pasta dough.
- Begin on the widest opening of the machine. Fold the dough up in thirds.
- Lightly dust with cornstarch if the dough is tacky.
- Flatten with the rolling pin and roll through the same width. Fold into thirds and repeat the process another 6 times.
- Now decrease the thickness and roll through each thickness twice until desired thickness.
Cooking Gluten-Free Pasta:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add two pinches of salt.
- Drop the pasta in the boiling water. Cook until al dente.
- When the pasta is done, drain (save some of the cooking water to thin sauce if it is too thick) and then rinse under hot water. Toss with a little extra virgin olive oil. Use immediately or cool and refrigerate for later use.
Drying Before Storage:
Fresh pasta can be dried completely and then stored at room temperature. Shaped pasta should be laid out on a floured surface and lightly dusted with flour. The shapes should not be touching each other and they should be turned periodically to allow proper air exposure to all sides. This will allow the shapes to dry evenly.
To Dry (use either option):
- Lay noodles on a floured surface, lightly dust with flour, leave uncovered and allow to remain there until completely dried. The strands should be separated so they are not touching, allowing proper air exposure. Wide noodles should also be turned over to allow the under-side to dry properly. The thin noodles should dry sufficiently without turning.
- Hang noodles over the back of a chair on a floured dish towel, over a broom handle, or on a drying rack. Allow the noodles to sit in a warm dry location while drying. Long pasta noodles, such as angel hair, tagliatelle and fettuccine, are sometimes wrapped into a nest and allowed to dry.
Frayed Apron Tip: Pasta nests mush be turned over often to aid in drying thoroughly and to prevent it from molding on the bottom side. Of course, there’s no need to dry the pasta at all if you plan to use it right away.
Drying Time for Pasta
Drying times are affected by the size, shape and thickness of the pasta. The drying method and the temperature and humidity of the area in which it is dried will greatly affect drying time. Once the pasta is completely dry, it can be stored in an airtight container, in a cool dry area, at room temperature, for several months.
Gourmet Vegetable Colored Pasta Flavors
Once you get the hang of making the basic egg pasta recipe, there are tons of flavorful variations. These are just some of my favorites:
Saffron Pasta – crumble a small pinch of saffron threads into eggs and stir to dissolve. Follow fresh egg pasta recipe procedure.
Tomato Pasta – stir 2 tablespoons tomato paste into the eggs. Follow the fresh egg pasta recipe procedure.
Black Pepper Pasta – stir 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper into the egg. Follow fresh egg pasta recipe procedure.
Fresh Herb Pasta – Add up to 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh herbs (parsley, basil, mint, cilantro, sage, thyme, oregano, or marjoram) to the egg and proceed with fresh egg pasta recipe procedure.
Fresh Pasta Sauce Serving Tips
- You don’t want to treat fresh pasta like dried. Do not dump it into a colander. It will stick together and possibly break.
- It’s delicate and should be lifted out of the water with a pair of tongs.
- It’s really important to the flavor and texture to toss the noodles with the sauce they will be served in right away.
- Do not rinse with water and do not wait to make your sauce. Have your sauce ready before you make your pasta; that way everything comes together at the last moment.
Serve with 1 cup Olive Tapenade:
In a food processor, combine 1 cup pitted black olives, preferably Kalamata with 1 tablespoon capers, 1 garlic clove, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest. Process until smooth.
Fresh Red Sauce:
Use my pumpkin seed pesto proportions with whatever nuts you have on hand (walnuts taste great).
Heat 6 tablespoons butter with 1/4 cup ground poppy seeds until fragrant, about 1 minute. Spoon over freshly plated pasta and sprinkle with grated parmesan.
Butter and Sage Sauce:
Heat 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter with a handful of sage leaves until lightly browned. Serve pasta with crisped sage leaves and infused butter.
What flour is best for homemade pasta?
Semolina flour is my top choice, followed by 00, then all-purpose flour (which is widely available and what I usually have in my pantry). I actually don’t like the texture of whole-wheat pasta but if you really want to work with whole grains, I’d suggest a ratio of 2 parts all-purpose: 1 part whole wheat flour.
Does homemade pasta need to dry before boiling?
What’s your favorite way to mix pasta dough?
I prefer to feel the dough so I like to do it by hand on the counter. I know plenty of chefs though you prefer a food processor so have included instructions for your convenience.
Sides to Serve with Your Fresh Pasta
- Super Quick Arugula Salad with Lemon and Romano
- Crunchy Cabbage Fennel Salad
- Tomato Braised Pork Ragu with Egg Noodles
- How to Cook Collard Greens
I know I threw a lot of information at you so I hope you’ll try it and come back here if you get stuck. I’m here if you have any questions, as always. Thanks for being here!
Fresh Egg Pasta
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- a little water if necessary
By Hand Method:
- Sift flour onto a clean counter and gather into a mound. With your fingers in the center of the mound, make a hollow nest. Crack the eggs into the hollow. With a fork, start to mix in the flour from the edge.
- Gradually incorporate the flour (it's ok if it's not all of it) to form a viscous paste. Put fork to the side and use both hands to heap the flour from the outside edges into the paste in the middle. Work pasta paste to form a dough. If dry flour remains, you can sprinkle with a bit of water.
- Work in water with both thumbs, then press dough into a ball and work in remaining flour. Knead by pressing the dough with the heels of your hands, then form into a ball again. Repeat this kneading action until the dough has a firm but slightly elastic consistency and no longer changes shape when you remove your hands. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest a minimum of 15-minutes or up to 2-hours to relax.
Food Processor Method:
- Pulse the flour in a food processor fitted with a metal blade to aerate. Add the eggs and process until dough forms a rough ball, about 30 seconds. If the dough resembles small pebbles, add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time; if the dough sticks to the sides of the bowl, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and process until the dough forms a rough ball.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface; knead until the dough is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 15 minutes or up to 2 hours to relax.
- When cooking fresh pasta, the more water the better (pasta cooks more evenly). It's important to allow your water to come to a rolling boil and "salt like the sea." Here are some guidelines:1/4 pound pasta — use 2 quarts boiling water (1 tablespoon sea salt per 2 quarts of water)1/2 pound pasta — use 2 1/2 quarts boiling water1 pound pasta — 5 to 6 quarts boiling water
Serving Fresh Pasta
- Remove cooked pasta when it is pleasantly firm or al dente ("to the tooth" or "to the bite"). This may only take 2-minutes. Use tongs to lift the noodles and plate immediately tossing with warm sauce right away for the best texture and flavor. Serve immediately.