07 Jun Fresh Egg Pasta
I LOVE making home-made fresh egg pasta. There truly is nothing better than brushing the dust off the old pasta roller sitting idly in the cupboard, pouring a glass of pinot and hanging out with my husband for an hour in the kitchen and (quite literally) rolling the time away.
Making fresh egg pasta at home really is quite simple, and quite frankly, is something I don’t think anybody does enough of. So here’s my favourite, three ingredient recipe for a basic egg pasta, that works perfectly every time.
This fresh egg pasta goes perfectly with any topping or filling you could possibly dream of (like my favourite, Pasta alla Puttanesca), just use the 30 minute resting time to pull together your sauce ingredients. I truly hope this basic egg pasta recipe inspires you to get in the kitchen this weekend and create something beautiful with someone you love.
Enjoy with gusto,
Fresh Egg Pasta
2 cups plain Italian (00) flour (see note)
½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
3 large eggs
Extra plain flour, for rolling
Pasta rolling machine
In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
Create a deep well in the centre of the flour and salt mixture, then crack the eggs, one at a time, into the well. Using a fork or small whisk, whisk the eggs gently to combine.
Next, start bringing in the flour from the sides of the bowl. Continue to mix until you have a very soft dough. At this point, you don’t need to have combined all the flour completely.
Next, turn the dough and any remaining flour out onto a clean counter. Knead the dough by hand until it becomes silky smooth and pliable instead of rough and grainy (you can add a sprinkle of flour to the surface as necessary to prevent sticking – see note).
Once the dough is smooth, cut it into quarters, dust with flour and cover with a clean, damp dish towel to prevent drying out. Allow the pasta dough to rest for at least 30 minutes.
After the fresh egg pasta dough has rested, it’s time to roll it out. Set your pasta machine to the thickest setting. Pasta machines are usually numbered 1-10, with ’1’ being the thickest. Using your hands or a rolling pin, flatten one of the portions of dough into a thick disk, and pass it through the pasta machine. Fold the egg pasta dough in half and run it through the pasta roller another 2-3 times until the dough becomes a smooth sheet.
Next, turn the pasta roller thickness setting down a notch (depending on the machine, it should now be ‘2’) and sprinkle with a small amount of flour to prevent any sticking. Pass the egg pasta dough through another 2-3 times. Continue this process until you’ve gotten down to the setting that gives you your desired thickness, continuing to sprinkle both sides of the pasta dough with a little flour each time you pass it through. For fettuccine, tagliatelle or lasagne, you are looking for a similar thickness to a beer coaster (this was setting 7 for me), but for stuffed pastas (like tortellini), you will need to go one or two settings thinner.
Once your fresh egg pasta dough is at the desired thickness, you will need to cut it straight away, as it will dry out quickly. Cut the long stretches of dough into manageable pieces. If you’re making lasagne or filled pasta, go ahead and shape the dough. If you are cutting your pasta into noodles, assemble the cutter mechanism on your pasta machine and run the pasta through. Toss the cut pasta with a little flour and gather into a nest, and set aside under a damp dish cloth while you cut the rest to prevent drying and sticking.
To cook the pasta, bring a large, salted pot of water to the boil, add the pasta and cook until el dente, which should only take about 4 minutes (see note). Serve immediately with your chosen pasta sauce or dressing.
You can substitute 00 flour with plain flour if you wish. The difference between the two is truly in the detail. 00 flour is more finely milled, making it perfect for pasta and pizza dough. Seriously though, only purists will ever call you out on it. So if you only have access to plain all-purpose flour, then use it – you’ll still furnish a decent result.
When it comes to fresh egg pasta, the more flour that is added, the tougher the cooked product, and it’s noticeable during eating. That said, use as little additional flour (for dusting and kneading) as possible.
You can cook your pasta right away, dry it by hanging it on coat hangers or a drying rack, or freeze it for later. Just remember when you cook it that fresh egg pasta cooks much faster than its store-bought counterpart, so only 4-5 minutes is all you need to get that perfect ‘al dente’ bite.
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