Basic Fresh Pasta

Basic Fresh Pasta

Sure, it’s easy to grab a box of dried pasta from the store shelves. But, there’s something oddly satisfying about bringing two simple ingredients together to make an amazing carrier for your favorite sauce or melted herbed butter.

In my case, I rolled the dough slightly thicker than I originally intended. So when the strands were cooked, they puffed into a thick dumpling-like texture. It was a happy accident, indeed. I ended up freezing about half of the batch of pasta, and plan to use it the next time I make chicken noodle soup.

Basic Fresh Pasta

3 ½ cups (plus more for dusting) all-purpose flour

4 eggs

Mound the flour in the center of a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. Using a fork beat together the eggs. Slowly incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate the eggs, keep pushing the flour up to retain the well shape (do not worry if it looks messy). The dough will come together in a shaggy mass when about half of the flour is incorporated.

Once the dough has formed a roughly shaped ball, turn it out onto a floured cutting board. Start kneading the dough with both hands, primarily using the palms of your hands. Add more flour, in 1/4-cup increments, if the dough is too sticky. Once the dough is a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up any left over dry bits. Lightly flour the board and continue kneading for 3 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. If the dough is too dry, you can add a tiny splash of water. But, only do this as a last resort.

Continue to knead for another 3 minutes, remembering to dust your board with flour when necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 20 minutes at room temperature. Do not skip the kneading or resting portion of this recipe; they are essential for light, tender pasta.

Roll as thin as possible and slice into long, thin strands. Create small piles of the strands and let them rest on an elevated rack as you work on the remaining dough.

To cook the pasta: In a large pot of boiling water, add a tablespoon of salt and a splash of olive oil. Slowly add your fresh pasta to the water. The pasta should sink to the bottom of the pot. As the strands begin to float, they are nearly cooked. The cooking time depends on how thick the pasta is. Cook until al dente.

Top the pasta with your favorite sauce or simply serve with melted herbed butter.

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