Entrees, How To Tuesdays

How to Make Pasta

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Last updated on October 12th, 2021 at 03:06 pm

I made a lot of pasta for this post. Like, so much that there are no more eggs available in my house. And I started off with one of the huge Costco egg cartons. But I did it because making that many batches really forces you to learn how to make pasta.

For the longest time I never really thought about the pasta itself being good or bad. It was just kind of the blank vessel that was there for other food to taste good. The first dish I remember having that made me double-take the cooked noodles was the chicken noodle soup at Sweet Tomatoes.

Colored pasta drying on a rack

The noodles were thick and had some bite to them. And it had soaked up a ton of flavor from the soup itself. Those noodles were the reason to eat that soup, rather than just being a bland background ingredient. I remember going to ladle out some of that soup and digging down to the bottom to pull up all noodles and chicken, with a little bit of broth.

Sorry to all the others who got soup after me.

Why Fresh Pasta

The ingredient list for fresh pasta is actually quite small: flour, eggs, and salt. Sometimes a little bit of water (we’ll get into that later…). For being so simple, there are still so many variations and varieties of recipes out there. It all has to do with the ratios. The recipe I provide below is the one that worked best for me.

Fresh-made pasta is much softer and springier than the dried variety. To me, it seems kind of lighter and less dense. It has a silkier texture and more flavor of its own. It is used mostly for dairy-based sauces and for making filled pasta like ravioli or tortellini. Think butter, milk, cheese, and cream.

A long, thin sheet of homemade pasta folded over itself

Dried, packaged noodles are still very much useful and what I use like 90% of the time. Both because it is easier to just store in the pantry, and because it does actually work better for certain recipes. Contrasting the delicate nature of fresh pasta, dried pasta is heartier. It works better with meats, oil-based sauces, and casseroles. It is also easier to get certain shapes from dried pasta that would take very specialized equipment to make.

So always think about the end-goal recipe and how it will work with the pasta.


There are two main resources that I used on my pasta making journey.

The first is a cookbook called, simply, Pasta by Antonio Carluccio. It is a mostly old-school look at traditional methods, dishes, and recipes. Written by a master Italian chef, it captures the essence of the process in an approachable manner. I highly recommend it if you are in to cookbooks and have a large collection of them like myself.

Spinach colored dough being cut into fettucine noodles

The second resource is the Serious Eats page called The Science of the Best Fresh Pasta. I love Serious Eats because they go in-depth on topics and give so much detail. On this page, the author, Niki Achitoff-Gray, gives step by steps and photos of the process used to get to an ideal pasta recipe. She discusses trying multiple methods for the various steps and what not to do.


Looking into pasta making gave me many thoughts on flour options. A lot of different recipes advise using a specific one, but it doesn’t seem to make enough of a difference to make it necessary to search out a specific one. Almost any flour will really work in the recipe. You may have to adjust by adding a little water or extra flour to make sure the hydration level is right.

“00” flour (or double zero flour) – Refers to very finely milled Italian flour and is usually deemed to be the gold standard for pasta (and pizza) dough. I have never personally used it. It just doesn’t seem like it is worth the effort of seeking out. But I’ll let you know whenever I try it.

Dough rolling out into long sheets

Bread flour – I only fairly recently got some bread flour. I’ve used it to make both pizza dough and pasta now. I like it. It has higher protein content than all-purpose flour. It is a little more widely available and could be worth adding to the cart if you plan on using it more than just this recipe.

All-purpose flour – The average flour someone would happen to have on hand. What I make most things with. Available everywhere (assuming pandemic buying hasn’t cleared the shelves). It is called all-purpose for a reason. It is generally great for most recipes, and it works wonderfully for this one.

So, use whatever flour you are comfortable with.

Pasta Making Methods

The goal for fresh pasta is to get it tender. And one of the main keys to that is getting proper hydration of your dough. Hydration is just the percentage of water in the dough. However, do not worry. I am not getting super exact. But luckily this is something we can easily adjust. If it is too dry after mixing, then add a little water – I recommend having a small spray bottle filled with water to easily add a few squirts. If it is too wet, then add a little flour.

This process involves two main steps: mixing the dough and then rolling and cutting it.

Mixing the Dough

For mixing the dough, we have three main methods: by hand, with a stand mixer, and using a food processor. Whichever method you select, you will have some work to do by hand when you knead the dough. And honestly, it doesn’t save a ton of time or effort to mix it by hand. Plus there are fewer dishes to do later. So my recommendation is to do this part by hand.

Step by step for how to make pasta dough

Measure out your flour and salt and put it on a clean work surface. Then make an indentation in the center of the flour (#1). Crack the eggs into the flour well (#2). Using a fork or your fingers, mix the eggs into the flour (#3 & #4). When it looks like photo 4 above, it will probably seem a little dry. But don’t worry, it likely isn’t.

Begin kneading the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes. You will be done when it is nice and elastic and it comes together in a clean ball (#5). Now take your disc of pasta dough and wrap it in plastic wrap (#6). After that is done, you have to wait for it to rest for at least 30 minutes. I tend to prefer an hour rest. It can sit out for up to 2 hours. Or let it rest in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Rolling and Cutting the Noodles

In my mind the real life-saver is using specific tools to roll the dough and cut your noodles. Yes, you certainly can use a rolling pin to roll it out and use a knife to cut it. But if you choose that method, then be aware that it will take longer.

Tools for cutting, shaping, drying and forming pasta

All of the tools in the image above are for rolling, cutting, or shaping pasta. Those shiny silver ones are the real MVPs. They are pasta roller and cutter attachments for a KitchenAid stand mixer. It is so much faster and easier to use these. However, they are expensive. So, my suggestion is to attempt pasta-making a few times without any fancy tools. And then if you think you will continue on in the journey, invest in the tools!

They also make a pasta extruding attachment that can give you different shape options for spaghetti, bucatini, fusilli, rigatoni, and macaroni. I really want to try it, but haven’t splurged on it yet. So I can’t give my stamp of approval on that one yet. I will update if (when…) I get it and test it out myself.

Note that there are also options to buy hand-cranked pasta rollers and cutters that are very similar to the KitchenAid attachments. But of course, you have to hand-crank them. I have also not tried these myself, so can’t speak directly from experience.

I also have a pasta drying rack. It is not really necessary, since you can just lay your pasta out to dry as I instruct below. The main advantage the drying rack is displaying your pasta beautifully. Also you don’t have to flip the pasta while it dries.

And finally, to make ravioli there are some useful tools. This ravioli maker lets you drape a sheet of rolled pasta over it. Then you can use the tool to make impressions for the filling. Fill it and then top it with another sheet of thin pasta to make ravioli.

Cooking Your Pasta

Your homemade noodles will cook lightning-quick. So be prepared to be on top of the pot. Have everything else for the meal mostly ready to go. The noodles will cook quickly – drain, sauce, and serve.

You’ll bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it is boiling, throw in your noodles. And then cook them for 60 to 180 seconds. Yes. You read that right. Unless you have made monstrously thick noodles, they will cook in that time. And you can just take one out and test it to see if it is done to your liking since exact timing will depend on a lot of local factors in your batch.

Color Your Pasta

Now that you know how to make pasta, or are going to learn, one of the fun things you can do is adding colors to the dough. I saw these options through both of the resources I mentioned above. To get some color, add one less egg to the mix and substitute the following:

Beet colored dough being rolled through the machine
  • Green – 2/3 cup pureed cooked spinach. I popped some spinach into boiling water and let it cook for a few minutes, drained most of the water, and blended it until smooth. The color on this batch was a bright and vibrant green.
  • Purple/Red – 1/2 cup beet juice. Found this in the juice aisle at my store. It may also be in the natural or healthy section. The color on this one is awesome as well. It is a deep magenta color.
  • Orange – 1/2 cup carrot juice. I made my own juice by putting some chopped carrot and some water in my Vitamix. The color was a little disappointing. It honestly looked similar to the color I achieved with the tomatoes below. Maybe store-bought carrot juice would have better results.
  • Red – 2/3 cup pureed tomatoes. I put some canned tomatoes into the blender and then into the pasta. Color not fantastic. Slightly changes the shade from the original dough to end up at what I actually thought was a good orange color.
  • Black – 1 tablespoon squid ink and keep all 5 eggs. From what I’ve seen, it looks good. The ink really colors the pasta.
  • Golden Yellow – About 1 teaspoon ground turmeric and keep all 5 eggs. Again, I did not try this one. So this amount is based on some internet research. Let me know if you try it.

If the dough is too wet after adding the color ingredient, then even it out by adding a little more flour.


You can make the dough ahead of time and let it rest in the fridge for up to 2 days. Do this at the stage where the dough has come together and would normally be set aside for 30 minutes. You will have to take the dough out an hour or so before you plan on proceeding with rolling it out. Because it would be a little difficult to roll out cold dough.

I have read that you can freeze the dough by wrapping it in plastic wrap and putting that inside a freezer bag, or by using a vacuum sealer to seal it in an airtight bag. I have attempted this part. Because I made so many batches, I tried freezing a few for later use. Once I have tested thawing, rolling, and cooking I will come back with an update.

To thaw the frozen dough, simply move it from the freezer to the fridge for 2 days before you plan to use it. Then remove it from the fridge for an hour to come to room temperature before rolling it out.

Noodles laid out to dry

To dry your own pasta for longer storage, roll it and cut it like you normally would. Then, air dry it by coating it in some flour so that it won’t stick to itself and laying it down flat on a large baking sheet. Turn it over a few times to give both sides the opportunity to dry. It’ll take 12 to 24 hours to fully dry. It is finished drying when it snaps in half – no bending or twisting, a straight snap. You can speed it up by pointing a fan at it on low speed.

Properly dried and stored pasta will be good for about 3 months when stored in an airtight container. When you are ready to cook the pasta, toss it into salted, boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes.

Recipes to Try

Now that you have a recipe to make your own homemade pasta, how can you try and use it? You can honestly try it in any of your favorite pasta dishes. But here are a few suggestions to get the juices flowing:

Mangia! Mangia!

On an unrelated note, do you know anyone who could use a lot of fresh pasta?…

How to Make Pasta

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: EntréeDifficulty: Moderate


Prep time


Cooking time


Resting Time


Total time





Fresh, delicate, and silky homemade pasta to pair with your favorite sauce


  • 3 cups flour

  • 5 large eggs

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • Method 1 – Hand Mix
  • Measure out your flour and salt and combine them on a clean work surface
  • Push your fist down into the center of the flour to make a depression, like a very large volcano
  • Crack your eggs into the center of the flour well
  • Using a fork or your fingers, whisk the eggs together in the center of the flour and slowly begin incorporating the flour into the egg mixture
  • Continue mixing the egg and flour until it comes together in a kind of flaky ball
  • Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is fully incorporated and comes together in a smooth ball – you can add a little flour if the dough is too wet (sticky), or a little water if it is too dry (crumbly)
  • Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes
  • Proceed to rolling and cutting steps
  • Method 2 – Stand Mixer or Food Processor
  • Put all of the ingredients into the mixing bowl
  • Using the dough hook for the stand mixer and the blade attachment for the food processor, mix it until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball
  • Dump everything from the mixing bowl onto a clean work surface
  • Knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, until it is fully incorporated and comes together in a smooth ball – you can add a little flour if the dough is too wet (sticky), or a little water if it is too dry (crumbly)
  • Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes
  • Proceed to rolling and cutting steps
  • Rolling and Cutting
  • Using a rolling pin, hand-crank, or KitchenAid attachment, roll your dough out to the desired thickness – on the KitchenAid attachments usually a #5 or #6
  • Using a knife, pastry lattice roller, or the cutting attachment for the hand-crank or KitchenAid, cut the pasta into long strips of the desired thickness
  • Or, use the rolled pasta sheets to form ravioli by placing one sheet down, spooning out your filling at the appropriate spacing, topping it with another sheet of rolled pasta, and then cutting and crimping the edges around your filling
  • Or, use a pasta extruder and the appropriate attachment to form and cut the shape you desire
  • Cooking the Pasta
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 60 seconds to 5 minutes depending on the pasta you have made – test for doneness every 30 seconds


  • Remember to keep a spray bottle on hand to help hydrate your dough as you work with it – it can dry out depending on conditions in your house

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