Learn how to make homemade pasta with just three simple ingredients. Then, roll the dough into sheets and cut into your desired shape. Fresh pasta is a labor of love but worth the effort!
Table of Contents
- Key ingredients
- How to make homemade pasta
- Step 1: Make the pasta dough
- Step 2: Knead the dough
- Step 3: Rest the dough
- Step 4: Roll the pasta into sheets
- Step 5: Cut the pasta
- Step 6: Dry the pasta (optional)
- Step 7: Cook the pasta
- How to store fresh pasta
- Flavor variations
- Serving suggestions
- Frequently asked questions
- Using 00 and semolina flour to make fresh pasta
- How to Make Pasta From Scratch Recipe
I first learned to make pasta during a culinary excursion in Italy. But the lessons continued when I got home, thanks to my mother-in-law, Joan. She gave me my first pasta maker and shared the secret pasta-making techniques her Italian family had perfected over the years. Their recipes haven’t let me down. Let’s just say Grandma’s meatballs are world-famous.
The details were a little fuzzy, as with all Italian recipes passed down the generations. Thankfully, after testing several batches, I found the ideal measurements. This fresh egg pasta is tender and has a nice chew with a rich taste. Using a pasta roller and cutter speeds up the shaping process. However, you can use a rolling pin to make pasta sheets. It yields thicker noodles, but still delicious!
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour with a lower protein content (10-13%) for just the right amount of gluten development to hold its structure with a tender chew. Unbleached will give a more beige hue, and bleached will have a brighter white color.
- Eggs: Use large pasteurized eggs for the recipe. A combination of whole egg and yolks adds richness and tenderness. You must convert the amount added to the recipe if using a different egg size.
- Olive Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil adds the characteristic fruity flavor. It reduces some gluten formation for a more malleable dough and tender bite.
- Salt: Just a tiny amount prevents a bland-tasting pasta. Salt also helps to strengthen the gluten network, adding slightly more chewiness for an al dente texture. This is optional if you like softer sheets and strands.
How to make homemade pasta
Follow these basic steps for making fresh pasta from scratch. Note that it is essential to let the dough rest before rolling and shaping. Working with it too soon will cause the gluten network to resist, making it less pliable.
From there, use a rolling pin or pasta machine to make sheets. Use a knife, pizza cutter, or the pasta maker’s attachment to cut into your desired shape.
Step 1: Make the pasta dough
Traditionally, pasta dough is made directly on a clean work surface. However, to make the process easier and less messy, I use a bowl instead. Create the pasta dough by adding flour to a large bowl, making a well in the center.
Add the eggs, yolk, olive oil, and salt. Use a fork to beat the wet ingredients and gradually incorporate the flour until the dough comes together in a mass.
Step 2: Knead the dough
Use your hands to make a rough dough ball, then transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Using the palm of your hands, knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Rest the dough
Form the ball into a flattened disc, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and rest at room temperature for at least 60 minutes. I tested a 30-minute rest, but the dough wasn’t hydrated enough and was harder to work with.
Step 4: Roll the pasta into sheets
I prefer a pasta machine as it makes rolling and shaping quick and easy. It’s worth the small investment, but a rolling pin will work if you don’t mind thicker noodles. Portion the dough into four equal parts and work one piece at a time. Cover the other portions so that they don’t dry out. Flatten the pieces into thin rectangles to fit in the widest setting on the pasta machine.
Pass the dough through twice to get it thinner. Then, fold the piece in half so the two ends meet in the middle and feed it through. Repeat the fold and pass through one more time. The additional kneading by folding creates a little more chew and makes the pieces more rectangular. You can skip folding if you prefer a softer texture.
Now, pass the dough through two more times without folding. Continue to incrementally make the rollers tighter to yield thinner sheets. Each machine has different settings, so follow the manufacturer’s thickness guidelines based on the type of pasta you’re trying to make.
The process is complete when the dough is thin enough to see your hand through it. But make sure it’s not so thin that it can tear! The sheets become about 20 to 24 inches long and 4 to 6 inches wide. Slice the sheet in half lengthwise with a knife to make them easier to work with.
You can now use these pasta sheets to make lasagna, ravioli, ribbons, or farfalle.
Step 5: Cut the pasta
Attach the desired cutting roller to your pasta machine. Alternatively, use a chef’s knife or pizza cutter to slice the pasta into ribbons or various shapes, like farfalle, or make filled ravioli.
My pasta Atlas 150 machine can cut the dough into fettuccine (6.5 mm) or tagliolini (1.5 mm), similar to the width of spaghetti. Additional cutters can be purchased to make vermicelli, pappardelle, linguini, and even ravioli!
Step 6: Dry the pasta (optional)
Transfer the cut pasta to a baking sheet lightly dusted with flour or semolina flour to prevent sticking, or line it with parchment paper. Cover with a lightly dampened towel to keep it soft and flexible.
Alternatively, air dry the pasta on the pan or use a pasta hanging rack to dry. I like to use the rack to keep the ribbons separate. The dried pasta will become brittle, so carefully move it when ready to use or store.
Step 7: Cook the pasta
Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water to cook the pasta. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1 tablespoon of salt. The salted water will add a flavorful, savory taste to the pasta. The cooking time is dependent on the thickness and pasta type.
Fresh pasta tends to take less time than commercial-dried pasta. Aim for al dente with some chew. If you plan to continue to cook the pasta in a marinara or meat sauce, take it out of the boiling water a few minutes early.
Here are some general cooking guidelines based on this fresh homemade pasta recipe (add a few extra minutes for air-dried or frozen pasta):
- Tagliolini or Spaghetti (1.5 to 2 mm): About 3 to 5 minutes
- Fettucini (6.5 mm): About 6 to 8 minutes
- Pappardelle (50 mm): About 8 to 10 minutes
- Lasagna (150 mm): About 6 to 8 minutes (factoring in more time needed for casserole cooking)
- Farfalle: About 8 to 10 minutes
- Ravioli: 8 to 15 minutes (depending on size and thickness)
How to store fresh pasta
- Refrigerator: Store fresh dough or cut pasta in an airtight container for up to 24 hours. Any longer, the surface will oxidize in the humid environment, turning it slightly greyish-green. The fresh eggs will also cause them to spoil and start clumping together due to the outward release of moisture, which worsens when cooking.
- Freezer: Lightly toss strands of pasta with flour to prevent sticking. Place them in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. Alternatively, make portioned-out 4-ounce bundles. Freeze the pasta on the pan until hardened, about 1 hour. Then, transfer to a resealable freezer bag or airtight container for up to 1 month.
- Dried: Lightly dust with flour and spread in a single layer on a parchment paper lined sheet pan or hang the strands on a pasta drying rack. Dry at room temperature until they can be easily snapped, about 24 to 48 hours. A fan can help speed up the process. If using a baking sheet, turn the pasta over to dry the other side if needed. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Now that you have mastered creating homemade pasta, you can switch up the flavor on your next batch.
- Flour: Try using 00 flour (traditionally used in Italy) for its finer texture, yielding an incredible tenderness. Use gluten-free flour; I prefer Bob’s Redmill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour or King Arthur gluten-free all-purpose flour. Use whole wheat or white whole wheat flour for extra fiber.
- Oil: Add olive oil or flavored oil like truffle, tarragon, or hot chili oil.
- Herbs and Spices: Add dried herbs like Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, or rosemary. Add freshly chopped basil, parsley, oregano, or tarragon to the dough. Black pepper or red pepper flakes add a kick of heat. Add lemon zest for a citrusy flavor. Garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika can enhance the savory taste. Add truffle salt for dimension.
- Vegetables: Add a vibrant hue and healthy nutrients to the pasta with pureed spinach, roasted red pepper, carrots, beets, or sun-dried tomatoes.
- Color: The pasta can be colored naturally with vegetables, squid ink, or food dye.
- Marinara sauce
- Bolognese sauce
- Homemade meat sauce
- Pasta carbonara
- Alfredo sauce
- Cacio e pepe
- Pesto sauce or basil pesto
- Cajun pasta
Frequently asked questions
Yes! Add all of the dough ingredients to the food processor cup. Process until a rough ball forms, about 30 seconds. Add more water if dry, about ½ teaspoon at a time, or more flour if wet, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Knead on a clean work surface for 1 to 2 minutes until a smooth, elastic ball forms. Cover and rest for 1 hour before rolling and shaping.
Add the flour into the mixing bowl and make a well. Add the eggs, oil, and salt. Use the flat beater attachment to mix until a shaggy dough forms. Add the dough hook attachment and knead on low speed until a smooth, elastic ball forms, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and rest for 1 hour.
The greyish-green color change is due to the oxidation of iron in the egg yolks. It slightly impacts taste, but the appearance may make it unappealing to consume. It’s best to eat fresh, refrigerated pasta within 24 hours.
Toss fresh pasta with a little flour or semolina to prevent sticking. When drying, place it on a sheet pan in a single layer or separate the strands on a pasta drying rack.
Cool the pasta to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Alternatively, drain well and freeze for up to 1 month.
Using 00 and semolina flour to make fresh pasta
All-purpose flour is the most available and affordable choice in the United States, containing about 10 to 13% protein. However, in Europe, two other varieties are commonly used. 00 (double zero) flour is ground into a super-fine texture with a similar protein content to all-purpose. The finer grind makes for a silky pasta texture. For a heartier texture, semolina flour is used, which is made from hard durum wheat. Often, a combination of the two is used, typically in equal amounts, for tenderness and more texture when bitten.
How to Make Pasta From Scratch
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, 10 ounces
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Make the Pasta Dough – In a large bowl, add the flour and make a well in the center. Add the eggs, egg yolk, olive oil, and salt. Use a fork to beat the wet ingredients together. When the mixture is combined, gradually incorporate the flour with the fork. Once a sticky rough dough forms, use your hands to form it into a shaggy ball. It will feel slightly dry.
- Knead the Dough – Transfer the dough and any flour bits to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough, folding it in half, then using the heel of your hand to push down and forward. Repeat the process, rotating the dough a quarter turn until a smooth, elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes. It should feel like modeling clay.If the dough is sticky, lightly dust it with flour, gradually adding more as needed. Do not add too much, or the pasta will become tough. If it feels dry towards the end of kneading, sprinkle ½ teaspoon of water at a time.
- Rest the Dough – Form the dough into a flattened disc, about 1-inch thick. Tightly cover it with plastic wrap and rest it at room temperature for 1 hour. Refrigerate if not used within 2 hours.The dough can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, wrapped, and stored in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature before rolling and shaping.
- Roll into Sheets – Prepare the Pans: Lightly dust large baking sheets with flour or line with parchment paper, and set aside.Portion: Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Work one at a time, keeping the others tightly covered.First Roll: Roll the dough into a ½-inch thick rectangular shape, wide enough to fit into the pasta machine. If the dough is sticky, lightly dust it with flour. Set the pasta machine to the widest setting, then feed the dough through two times.Fold and Roll: Fold the dough in half and press to seal. Feed the dough through the machine with the open side first. Repeat the folding and feeding once more. Pass the dough through unfolded twice more until smooth.Tighten and Roll: Tighten the roller width one mark, then pass the dough through. Continue to pass through the machine, tightening the rollers one mark each time until the desired thickness is reached.Stop Rolling: The process is complete when the dough is thin enough to see your hand through but not so thin that it tears. The pasta sheet will be about 20 to 24 inches long and 4 to 6 inches wide.Cut into Sheets: Cut the sheets in half to make two shorter pieces, about 10 inches long. Transfer to the baking sheets. Tightly cover with a dampened towel or plastic wrap to keep them pliable. Use these sheets to make lasagna or ravioli, or continue shaping them further.Repeat the pasta rolling process with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Cutting Fresh Pasta – Use the pasta sheets and the desired cutter attachment on the pasta machine to make shapes like tagliolini, fettuccine, or pappardelle.
- Dry the Pasta (Optional) – Lay the pasta in a single layer onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet dusted with flour, keeping strands separate or in bundles. Alternatively, hang strands on a rack to dry. Dry at room temperature until they snap easily, about 24 to 48 hours. The pasta will be very brittle, so be careful moving them.
- Cook the Pasta – In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 3 to 10 minutes. Cook time is dependent on size and thickness. Increase the cooking time for refrigerated, dried, or frozen pasta by a few minutes.If desired, reserve some pasta water to thicken and season sauces. Drain and toss with any sauce if applicable.
- Recipe Yield: About 1 pound of pasta dough. Makes 8 lasagna sheets (about 10 inches long and 4 to 6 inches wide).
- Serving Size: 4 ounces of pasta
- Hand-Cut Pasta: Lightly dust the sheets with flour to prevent sticking. Starting at the short end, gently fold the pasta sheet, creating a 2-inch wide rectangle. Use a chef’s knife to cut the desired length and thickness. Repeat the process with the remaining pieces.
- Storing: If not cooking immediately, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. For longer storage, freeze on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray for 1 hour, then transfer to a freezer bag or container for up to 1 month. Dried pasta can be stored for up to 2 months.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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