This homemade pasta recipe is simple to make and uses just 2 ingredients — Italian 00 Flour and eggs. If you’ve ever wanted to try making your own pasta, these noodles make great lasagna, ravioli, tortellini, or tagliatelle, even fettuccine, or cut a little wider to make chewy ribbons of pappardelle to twirl in your favorite sauce. And I‘ve included step-by-step recipe photos for anyone new to making pasta.
Earlier this spring, Mama A. asked us to help her make her homemade ricotta and spinach-filled mezzaluna ravioli for Easter lunch. It was a lot of fun making it all together and the process goes much faster when you have a few extra helping hands. Sure you can buy boxed pasta, but you’ll never get the memories (or the deliciousness) that come from making it from scratch for a family meal and then turning it into a tradition.
A Few Tips for Making Homemade Pasta Dough — (Pasta Fatta in Casa)
There are as many recipes online for “how to make the perfect pasta” as there are Vespas in Italy. Some say, “never add salt”, or “you must add olive oil”, or “never add olive oil” which can be really confusing (and annoying) especially if you’ve never made homemade pasta before. The truth is you only need flour and eggs to make homemade egg pasta, but if you add a little extra virgin olive oil, a splash of water when needed, it’ll be fine because pasta dough is very forgiving.
I’ve cut through some of the clutter to share a few of the most basic tips for how to make a springy, chewy, silky egg pasta at home from a few Italians including a Michelin-starred Italian chef and our very own family here in Italy (who’ve been making pasta for generations).
- Should I add salt to homemade pasta dough? Salt is not included in the list of ingredients on boxes of commercial pasta because it’s not a necessary ingredient. That doesn’t mean you can’t add a pinch of salt to the eggs when making your own at home, but I don’t recommend it. Plus, you add salt to the cooking water. Be warned that adding salt to homemade egg pasta when it will be used for making filled pasta like tortelli, ravioli, or tortellini, etc. can make it easier for the pasta to break open during cooking if the salt crystals haven’t completely dissolved into the pasta dough. I typically just stick to the way the Italians have been doing it for over 700 years — I don’t add salt.
- Should I add olive oil to homemade pasta dough? Adding a bit of high-quality extra virgin olive oil to homemade pasta dough (especially an all-semolina only dough) adds fat and extra flavor. I typically don’t add olive oil to pasta dough when I use 00 or all-purpose flour, but I do sometimes add a little when I’m making 100% semolina flour pasta dough.
- What kind of flour is best for making homemade pasta? In Italy, there are typically 4 types of flour typically used to make fresh pasta depending on the desired pasta type and shape, and the sauce you’ll be making to go with it:
- Italian 00 flour (farina di grano tenero tipo 00) a soft wheat flour with a very fine mill (texture) and is what I’ve used for this post.
- Semolina flour (farina semola di grano duro) is made from hard wheat, has a slight butter-yellow hue with a coarse grind similar to cornmeal, and a little more “bite” when chewing it.
- Twice-Milled Semolina flour (farina semola di grano duro rimacinato) has a finer grind than regular semolina because it has been milled twice.
- Whole wheat flour (farina integrale) produces a darker-colored, healthier pasta with more texture and unrefined carbs.
- How long do I knead pasta dough? It’s important to knead pasta dough in order to activate the gluten which builds a weblike network and strengthens the pasta dough giving it that pleasant chewy “bite” we all enjoy so much about pasta. There’s no exact science for how long this process takes because the absorption potential of the flour, the temperature of the room, and even how experienced you are at kneading, are all factors in how long the process can take. So, it’s important to get acquainted with how a well-kneaded pasta dough should look and feel (see photos). When the dough has been kneaded properly, you’ll notice that it becomes much softer, a lot smoother, and more pliable. If you have naturally warm hands like I do (and a lot of experience kneading), you’ll probably be finished kneading an 00 or all-purpose pasta dough in 10 to 15 minutes and for semolina flour, it may take you up to 20 minutes. If a recipe calls for only kneading pasta dough for 5 minutes, I’d say knead it instead for at least 10 minutes because the more robust the gluten network is, the stronger and better textured your pasta dough which gives you more of that pleasant “bite”. Plus, it’s almost impossible to accidentally over-knead pasta dough.
- How long do I rest pasta dough? It’s important to cover and rest pasta dough for at least 20 minutes after kneading, but the Michelin-starred Italian chef I mentioned earlier lets his dough rest for 30 minutes (so I do too). Mama A. only rests her dough for about 10 minutes, so again it’s up to you, but here’s something to consider — Much like pizza dough, when pasta dough rests after being kneaded it’s allowing the gluten network to relax, and reorient itself in order to be rolled out without pulling back onto itself. So, even if you’re using a pasta machine to roll out the pasta (and not just a rolling pin), I recommend resting the dough for 30 minutes because it enhances the smoothness, deepens the yellow hue, and makes it easier to roll out.
*BELOW in photos: the dough on the left has just been kneaded until nice and smooth, but it hasn’t yet rested. And although it’s soft enough, it still looks dry. Whereas the dough on the right has been rested and is both deeper yellow in color and has a slight sheen and richness to it that the unrested dough doesn’t have.
Homemade Italian Egg Pasta Ingredients (Using Italian 00 Flour)
Depending on the absorption potential of the flour and also how large your eggs are, you may need to add a splash or two of water to the dough if it’s too dry. Or if you’re pasta is too wet, you may need to add a little extra sprinkle of flour. On the backs of Italian flour bags, the ratio of flour to eggs needed for making pasta is 1 large egg (weighing between 45g-55g) to every 100g of flour. This is to be used as a starting point and guideline for the reasons I just mentioned. The more you make pasta dough, the easier it becomes to know if/when you need a splash of water or a little more flour.
- 300g 00 Italian flour
- 3 large pasta gialla eggs (or other eggs with rich-colored egg yolks) (150g)
- a splash of water if needed
Try to find the best flour and high-quality eggs for the task. In Italy, we use what’s called “pasta gialla” (pronounced: pasta joll-ah) eggs specifically for making egg pasta. The eggs have an intense yellow (“gialla” means “yellow” in Italian) yolk that’s actually a deep orange color because of the carotene-rich diet the chickens are fed (see below photos of regular eggs vs Italian “pasta gialla” eggs used for making egg pasta.
How to Make Homemade Pasta — Mix, Knead, Rest, and Roll
Making pasta at home is a fun project to tackle on the weekend, or when you have a little extra free time. It can get messy with flour dust so I suggest wearing an apron. I also suggest rolling the pasta to #6 on the pasta machine (mine is an Atlas Mercato brand) so that the noodles don’t end up being too thin. You may also use one small piece to test different thicknesses cooked in boiling water to see what you prefer before rolling out all of the dough.
- Make the dough. Add the flour to a countertop or large bread bowl and make a “well” in the middle. Add the cracked eggs to the center and begin agitating the eggs to combine them with the flour being sure to keep them in the center of the “well”. Work in a circular motion incorporating more flour into the center until the mixture is combined and forms a shaggy, stiff dough. *Alternatively, you may place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and knead them on medium speed for 5 minutes using the dough hook or into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the dough blade and pulse until the mixture is combined.
- Knead the dough. Form the dough into a ball and remove it to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough by turning it clockwise a quarter turn and repeating until the dough becomes soft and pliable, or about 15 minutes. It should be much smoother and somewhat elastic at this point.
- Rest the dough. Cover the dough with sustainable plastic wrap, or simply cover it with a small bowl turned upside down and allow the dough to rest for at least 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes. This step is essential for the dough (specifically the gluten network formed during the kneading process) to have time to relax making it easier to roll out and help create that springy “bite” we love about a good pasta.
- Roll out the dough. Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and work with one piece at a time covering the other pieces so they don’t dry out. Press down to form a disc just thin enough to be fed through the pasta machine’s widest setting (0 or 1 depending on your pasta machine). Feed the dough through the rollers while turning the crank. Lightly dust both sides of the pasta sheet with flour and fold it like a letter (bringing in the two ends to the middle) to form a more even rectangle. Feed the pasta sheet back through the rollers on (0 or 1) until it is long and rectangular in shape. Cut the pasta sheet in half and dust each piece lightly with flour. Set the adjustment knob to 1 and pass the pasta sheet through one time. Set the adjustment knob to 2 and pass the pasta sheet through one time. Set the adjustment knob to 3, pass the pasta sheet through one time, and continue on adjusting the knob setting and passing the dough through until you’ve reached the desired thickness (the recommended thickness setting is typically number 6 for fettuccine, tagliatelle, ravioli, lasagna, etc.
- Cut the desired pasta shapes. Attach the pasta cutter attachment and run the sheets of pasta through them, sprinkle them with semolina (or other flour) and shape them into a bird’s nest, or hang them on a pasta drying rack. Alternatively, you may roll up the rectangular sheets of pasta and cut them into the desired thickness for fettuccine or pappardelle, etc. If making lasagna, leave the sheets just as they are or trim them to the desired length. If using immediately, allow the noodles to dry for at least 10 minutes before boiling (or layering uncooked into lasagna). You may store the pasta in an airtight freezer-safe container but try to use them up within a month or so for best results. You may also allow the pasta to dry at room temperature loosely covered with a tea towel and then store in a jar at room temperature, but make sure they are completely dried out before using this method. If making filled pasta like ravioli, etc. follow the instructions according to the recipe you’re using and Enjoy!
Homemade Italian Egg Pasta step-by-step recipe photos
Below are A Few of Our Favorite Italian Ragùs to Eat with Fresh Homemade Pasta
How to Cook Homemade Fresh Pasta
Homemade noodles take just a few minutes to cook to “al dente” doneness, so be sure to check them after about 1 1/2 minutes to see how much longer they’ll need. They are easy to overcook, so keep that in mind. Also, I never cook homemade Italian egg pasta for more than 4 to 5 minutes total (even when cooking from frozen). Also, don’t salt pasta water to “taste like the sea”– if you do, you’re all but guaranteed overly salty pasta.
How to Store Homemade Fresh Egg Pasta
If you’re wondering how to store fresh egg pasta, it can safely be stored by freezing (my preferred method). And while you can dry it completely out and seal it in an airtight container and use it within 3 or 4 days, it’s not advised because the fresh eggs in the dough can allow for bacteria to grow if your environment hasn’t met near-perfect dry conditions. This makes freezing homemade egg pasta the best and easiest way to preserve all your hard (delicious) work. Frozen fresh egg pasta can be stored with great results for up to 3 months under the right conditions (although I suggest using it up within 1 month for the tastiest results). See below for more details on how to store and cook homemade frozen fresh egg pasta.
- To Freeze Homemade Egg Pasta like spaghetti, tagliatelle, pappardelle, chitarra, fettuccine, etc.: Portion pasta into 3 or 4-ounce portions, dust them with a little flour, twist them into a “nest”, and place them onto a parchment-lined (or flour dusted) baking pan without letting them touch. Place them into the freezer until completely frozen (about 30 minutes give or take) and then add the “nests” to a freezer bag or other airtight container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to cook the pasta, do not thaw the noodles first, simply add them to boiling salted water and cook until al dente doneness (or about 4 minutes).
- To Freeze Homemade Egg Pasta lasagna sheets: Lay a sheet of flour-dusted lasagna onto a parchment-lined baking tray or platter, add a sheet of parchment paper to fully cover, then add another sheet of lasagna and continue alternating with parchment paper. Cover the tray with sustainable cling film and freeze for up to 3 months until ready to use. Allow the lasagna to rest for 15 minutes or so at room temperature before layering into the lasagna or other pasta al forno dish. Bake as instructed.
- To Dry Homemade Egg Pasta like spaghetti, tagliatelle, pappardelle, chitarra, fettuccine, etc.): While I have dried out egg pasta at room temperature and then sealed it in glass jars or bags, it takes days depending on what time of year it is and how humid the environment is for the noodles to completely dry out and you have to agitate and turn them over periodically to allow for even drying. Or you need a huge pasta drying rack which for me and the amount of pasta I make, isn’t practical.
- To Dry Homemade Egg Pasta lasagna sheets: I do not recommend drying out lasagna sheets which will take forever because the surface area is large. Also, there are fresh eggs in this pasta which makes this scenario a no-no as far as food safety is concerned in the home kitchen.
- Can I refrigerate Homemade Egg Pasta? It’s not recommended to refrigerate homemade egg noodles (especially filled pasta like ravioli, tortellini, etc.) because the humidity can ruin the pasta and also the flavor can change. If you really need to refrigerate homemade egg pasta do it for not longer than 24 hours and it’s even better if you can use it within 18 hours.
Would You Like to Know How to Make Spinach Pasta?
If you have frozen or fresh spinach on hand, you can easily turn regular pasta into delicious spinach pasta. Check out the spinach pasta recipe over here.
Looking for a Few Delicious Pasta Recipes to Make?
Here are a few of our family’s favorite pasta recipes that we think you might also enjoy.
- Anniversary Pasta (Spicy Shrimp Tomato-Alfredo Sauce w/Rigatoni)
- Asparagus & Ham Lasagna (w/Asparagus Bechamel)
- Classic Lasagna Bolognese (authentic Italian recipe)
- Shrimp Fettuccini Alfredo Pasta Recipe (w/Parmigiano Cream Sauce)
- Baked Ziti with Ragù (from Scratch)
- 15-Minute Shrimp Pasta w/Garganelli (the Italian Way)
- Spaghetti alla Carbonara (Cook Pasta Like A Roman)
- Tagliatelle al Ragù (Northern Italian Beef Ragù w/Pasta)
- Cajun Style Royal Red Shrimp Pasta for One (or a crowd)
- Triple Shrimp Trighetto Pasta (Creamy Shrimp Pasta)
- The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Beef (Spaghetti con Ragù)
- Italian Prosciutto Cotto and Mozzarella Lasagna (Lasagne con Prosciutto Cotto e Mozzarella)
- How to Make Traditional Homemade Tortellini from Scratch (Tortellini in Brodo)
- Spaghetti all’Amatriciana (Spicy Tomato Pasta Sauce w/Cured Pork & Pecorino Romano)
Let’s get started!Print