How to Make Pasta

 

In today’s hectic life handmade pasta is a forgotten art but with patience you can learn how to make it. It takes practice and the end result will be very rewarding for your ego and it will also give you a chance to eat something fresh, genuine, homemade and manufactured with your hand; but you can find pasta and pasta products of high quality in gourmet shops and specialty markets.   
Pasta is a mixture of flour and a liquid, kneaded to form a single mass. It is stretched thin and then cut to the desired size.  In the past, the Sicilian cucina popolare (the popular cuisine) made pasta using water as a liquid, the cucina baronale (the patrician cuisine) of the wealthy and nobles, used eggs. Today the eggs are very affordable and eggs or water are used in making homemade pasta.  

To make pasta for 4  

  • 18 oz. of semolina flour (or ½ all purpose & ½ semolina)- 2 ¼  cups   
  • 3 eggs   
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil   
  • 2 tablespoon of water   

Mound flour on a flat surface and form a well or use a bowl. Break the eggs into the well or bowl and add the water and the oil. With a fork beat eggs, and start to blend the flour from the inside of the well, keep incorporating the flour; add a little more water if needed, to moisten the flour.
Using your hands, bring all the flour together to form a ball with the dough. Fold and press with the palm of your hands; if dough is sticky, add some more flour. Set aside when dough forms into a single mass.
Clean your hands and working surface and discard scraps.
Dust working surface with flour and knead dough by pushing it down firmly to the center, turn dough 90 degrees and press down again: keep kneading until dough is elastic, and has a silky consistency. Kneading should be 10 minutes.
If you are making more than the above amount, for every additional 6 oz. of semolina flour add 1 egg, one teaspoon of oil, 1 tablespoon of water and knead 2 more minutes for each additional 6 oz. of semolina flour, usually in total no more than 15 minutes or until gluten develops.
Form a ball, cover with plastic and let the dough rest for 25 minutes, before rolling. 

 

To cut into pasta

 

Cut dough into 4 pieces, and roll one piece at a time, leaving unrolled pieces covered.
Dust working surface with flour and place dough in center, with a rolling pin, flatten the dough evenly to the desired thickness: 1/8 of an inch for lasagna, a little thinner for tagliarini (fettuccine noodles). 

Dry rolled out dough for a few minutes, than roll up each piece into a tube.
Using a sharp knife cut it into 3 inches wide for lasagna and 1/4 of an inch for noodles. To make bow ties cut the sheet of dough with fluted ravioli wheel into 1 inch by 2 inches rectangles and pinch each piece in the center to form a bow tie.
To make fresh pasta for minestra cut dough in small pieces in any shape you like.