How-to-make-pasta instructions almost always include putting flour on your counter or board, forming a well and cracking your eggs into the well. I almost always wind up with egg white on my shoe when I do this. It only dawned on me while working on the pasta dough ratio for Ratio that this well method was completely unnecessary and that I would never have to wipe egg white off my shoe again. The dough is thoroughly mixed and kneaded till smooth so how you incorporate the eggs isn't critical. I imagine the original reason for the well method was that it saved on cleaning a bowl, but I would rather clean a bowl than my shoe and floor. The well method is romantic, encouraging a measure-by-eye attitude and evoking images of an Italian grandma in her apron making pasta just for you. But I always weigh everything because it's so much cleaner and easier and you need a bowl to measure in.
The pasta dough ratio is 3 parts flour, 2 parts egg. So I crack 1 egg per serving into a bowl, then multiply that weight by 1.5 and add that much flour. If you are math challenged or simply love the convenience (as I am and do), simply plug the weight into your Ratio smartphone application (Iphone Ratio App & Android Ratio App) it will give you the flour you need. Or use the Marcella Hazan-recommended ratio of 1 cup of flour and two eggs. It helps to have a pasta machine, but the last person I watched make pasta at home for ravioli used a rolling pin and it was just as fast.
There's something deeply satisfying about making your own pasta. It's a great transformation of flour and egg. The dough is a pleasure to touch as it becomes smoother and smoother. Like mayonnaise and stock you make at home, you can't buy homemade pasta at the store. Even pasta sold as fresh isn't like the noodles you make at home. If you want, you can do something cool, like an egg yolk ravioli. Or this lasagna bolongese from Three Squabbling Asians (notice they use the well method). In summer you can make a quick tomato water sauce. But simple is great too. Homemade pasta with butter and veal salt is a dream.
I cook a lot of dried pasta, but every now and then, I want the particular pleasure and comfort that only homemade pasta delivers. (I can't figure out how to make the below flickr slideshow go faster but you can click on the image to speed it up).
- 9 ounces/255 grams all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- Combine the flour and eggs in a bowl and mix them with your fingers to combine.
- When the dough comes together, knead it on a floured board or countertop, pressing it with the heel of your hand, folding it over, kneading, fold until it is velvety smooth. This will take 5-10 minutes.
- Form the dough into a disk. Put a towel or plastic wrap over the dough and let it rest on the counter for 20 to 60 minutes. The dough can also be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
- Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces, roll them into the desired thinness and cut as you wish. You can cut your noodles using a pasta machine or with a knife.
If you liked this post on pasta, check out these other links:
- Make a simple tomato sauce using my recipe.
- Aki & Alex of Ideas in Food share their one minute pasta method.
- Chef Taskashi's book on noodles shows an asian perspective on pastas.
- What Kate Ate shares great photos and two cannelloni & fettucini recipes
© 2011 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2011 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved