{Old Skool DIY} Creating Fresh Pasta By Hand

I realized recently that From Scratch Club had never had a post about making fresh pasta and wondered why.  I then realized that I had never made fresh pasta and wondered why.

While making fresh pasta this weekend for the first time there were moments when I thought it was kind of a hassle and figured that was why.  During those moments I was planning to write a post about how it’s better to just buy fresh pasta from the grocery store.  In the end the fresh pasta I made was so good, however, that I decided it was worth it. So, I still don’t know why I never made my own pasta before.

Of course there are a ton of resources out there with instructions on making your own pasta, but I chose Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying & Start Making to guide me.  Her instructions are simple and made it sound fun.  In addition, I also asked for suggestions and advice from friends on Facebook and was surprised by how many people had already made their own pasta.

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If you are making fresh pasta for the first time I would encourage you to consider two factors before you start:

1) You can totally do it without a pasta roller, but make sure you have a large, clean counter surface and a nice, clean sponge handy to clean it again when you’re in the midst of dough rolling.

2) Consider where you will hang your pasta to dry.  We have a clothes drying rack that probably could have been used, but it’s kind of gross so I chose to hang a long piece of clean twine across my kitchen instead.

Other than that, it’s really not that tough to make pasta.  I became a little discouraged when my twine fell and about a third of the pasta I had just worked hard on fell to the floor (don’t tell my husband I followed the three second rule). Below is my interpretation of Chernila’s recipe.

Our homemade pasta w/ a little red sauce, some gorgonzola cheese and sauteed kale and chicken.

RECIPE: PASTA DOUGH
Alexis’ interpretation of Alana Chernila’s recipe in The Homemade Pantry

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 large eggs (room temperature)

METHODS
Chernila says to make a volcano out of your 2 cups of flour and to crack the three eggs directly in to the emptied out middle.  I did this and then realized that the emptied out middle of the flour needs to be pretty big, more like a crater, to hold all three eggs.  Now I know for next time.

Despite the mess in the photo above, I got the eggs beaten, with a fork, and mixed in to the flour evenly.  I kneaded the dough until it was smooth and divided it in to six balls.  I then covered the balls with plastic wrap and left them for a half hour, like Chernila says to.


I do not have a pasta roller, so I used a rolling pin to roll out each ball to about one sixteenth of an inch thick.  I thought I’d be able to make perfectly even strips of fettuccini, but that did not happen.  They were good enough though.


I hung them on the twine, which I thought made my kitchen look like contemporary installation art.  Chernila suggests letting the pasta dry for anywhere between 5 minutes to 2 hours.  Mine hung for an hour and then I tossed it in boiling water, with some olive oil.  She said it would need to cook for only a couple minutes, but mine needed more like 8-10 minutes.  Maybe it was a little thicker than it was supposed to be, or maybe I didn’t have enough water.  Anyway, my family and I really enjoyed the fresh pasta.  We ate it with a little red sauce, some gorgonzola cheese and sauteed kale and chicken.

Editor’s Note:
We will be hosting a giveaway for one signed copy of Alana’s book next week- keep a look out for it!

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16 Comments on “{Old Skool DIY} Creating Fresh Pasta By Hand”

  1. June 5, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Love this! Just did a cooking class with my daughter and one lesson was handmade pasta. She will love this. You make it look great! – Renee

    • Alexis
      June 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

      Thanks Renee!

  2. June 5, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    fresh pasta is the best.

  3. June 5, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    I admit to making my dough in a stand mixer or food processor. I can’t manage to do the egg in a well without making a mess. I wouldn’t say I’ve mastered the other steps either–sometimes it’s perfect, other times a tangled mess. But I should try again, it’s worth it. Plus I have the pasta rolling machine so no excuse.

    • Alexis
      June 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      Do it! Try again – even with tons of imperfections mine still tasted great.

  4. June 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    That looks delicious!

    I have always wanted to try making my own my own pasta.
    I definitely want to try gnocchi and ravioli though.

  5. Alexis
    June 5, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Oh, I’d love to try gnocchi. Ravioli is probably next on my list – I just need to remember to buy the ricotta ahead of time…

  6. Brenda
    June 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    My sister and I learned how to make pasta from our grandmother. This is the only way I have ever made it. Works wonderful for chicken and noodles. Also, a hand held pizza cutter works great to slice the dough.

    • Alexis
      June 6, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

      You know, I wondered if a pizza cutter would work – that’s good to know. I love that it’s a family tradition for a lot of people.

  7. Ona
    June 6, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    What a great post – thanks for bein honest about the process. Do you know how you can store the extra pasta? Fridge or dehydrator? I’ll have to look into it.

    • Alexis
      June 6, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

      Thanks Ona. I should have mentioned that you can store the pasta in the refrigerator, according to Chernila, for two days and in the freezer for up to three months. I don’t know about dehydrating, but let me know if you find out please.

  8. Barbara
    June 7, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    This is a performance piece ! And then you can eat it !

    • Alexis
      June 8, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      Thanks Mom.

  9. Maureen
    June 19, 2012 at 4:18 am #

    I learnt from an Italian “Nona” recently to make the dough in a bread machine set to dough. This is brilliant – no mess.

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