Fresh Pasta Dough
Trisha ThompsonTrisha Thompson makes Pasta Dough in this installment of KitchenDaily's Family Chef series, in which home cooks make recipes from our database and tell you how it went -- what they changed, what they kept and who was in the kitchen helping.
Before I had children I thought nothing of making fresh pasta, homemade ice cream, things like that. Since having children, in my case teenagers now, it has been enough to cook more or less from scratch and not live on take-out meals and packaged foods. Store-bought dried pasta (which is delicious) must still be cooked, after all.
But one day last week Ellie, 14, was asking if we could make fresh pasta together. It seemed like an opportunity that might not come again soon, so I dusted off my old Pasta Queen machine (the hand-cranked kind, but mine has a little sidecar motor) and we got to work. To refresh my memory, I referred to two sources on the KitchenDaily site, Pasta Dough Without a Recipe (based on Michael Ruhlman's book Ratio) and this video from a chef at Barilla. Actually, we didn't watch the video until we were trying to mix the dough and getting a bit frustrated with how dry it was. This I blame on my elementary school problem with ratios.
According to the non-recipe recipe, the perfect pasta dough ratio is 3 parts flour to 2 parts egg. Although I really can't explain why, I took this to mean 3 cups of flour and 2 eggs. The non-recipe said the dough would be shaggy for a while, but this was obviously way too dry to ever come together as dough. (We hadn't watched the video yet so I didn't think of adding olive oil.) Ellie suggested we add more eggs to the flour and egg mixture, and we did, 2 or 3 or possibly 4 more eggs (I lost count).
She took over kneading the now shaggy dough, and when it was ready (we let it relax for 20 minutes), we cut it into quarters and I showed her how to roll it through the Pasta Queen, first on low settings and then going higher to get the dough thinner (this part I remembered). "It's just like the Play-Doh factory," she said. We cut what now looked like lasagna sheets into wide noodles by hand and hung them over a tea towel on a wire hanger, laid them on cutting boards and cookie sheets until we were ready to boil. The noodles cooked in about two minutes, and we ate them topped with a beef and onion stew I had made the day before.
So, this is a story with a happy ending. Even if you never understood ratios and you haven't made fresh pasta in 17 or 18 years and you do it wrong, it still comes out right.
Make the pasta dough.
Trisha Thompson is co-owner of Small Batch Books, a private publisher of memoirs, commemorative books, and other works. She also blogs about teens at The Faster Times. She lives and cooks (in small batches) with her husband, Fred, and her daughters Madeline (17) and Eleanor (14).
Related Articles• Browse all pasta recipes.
• Watch a video on what recipes Gail Simmons likes to make with dried pasta.
• Check out this video series with Gino Campagna teaching kids how to cook for themselves, homemade pasta among the options.