The most reliable recipe for a cozy and romantic evening: homemade pasta.
For me, pasta could be its own food group. There was a time when I had to consciously remove pasta from our weekly meal plan in exchange for “healthier” alternatives like greens and beans. Now, I’ve adapted the Michael Pollan concept, “Eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.” This quote jump-started my at home pasta-making back in 2017 and I haven’t stopped.
Dan also plays the song Lazy Mary every time he walks into the kitchen while I’m making pasta. It’s the song the Mets play during the 7th inning stretch, but it also makes me feel like an older Italian woman.
If you have a KitchenAid mixer, homemade pasta is incredibly easy to make using a dough hook and this wonderful attachment that can press your dough to the perfect thickness and cut into different-sized noodle shapes like spaghetti, fettuccini, and angel hair. But you don’t need any special equipment to make pasta by hand, just a non-porous work surface and a sharp knife.
To make by hand:
If preparing the pasta dough without a stand mixer (with paddle and dough hook attachments), place the flour on a large work surface and create a well in the middle. Add the remaining ingredients and use a fork to whisk the eggs and liquid ingredients together. Fold the ingredients together by hand until a soft dough forms then knead for 4 minutes by hand. Form the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick on a generously floured surface. Fold it over and then roll it out again to 1/4-1/8 inch thick. Repeat this one more time. Place the pasta sheets on a large cutting board, and cut strips to your desired thickness with a sharp knife.
Homemade pasta is best fresh just after being made, but you can also dry it for later use. There are two primary drying techniques. First is draping, by placing the long strands of pasta over a drying rack until completely dry, typically 8 hours. There are pasta drying racks designed specifically for this purpose, but I have used the back of a chair for this before, no judgment here.
You may also dry the pasta in nests. Place “nests” of pasta on a piece of parchment paper and dry fully on one side, about 5 hours. Flip the nests and dry on the other side, about 3 hours.
However you choose to dry your pasta, it can be stored in an airtight container for about a month.
This pasta is a blank canvas for your favorite type of sauce. My favorite is my hearty veggie-packed bolognese.
No matter what kind of sauce you use, I recommend tossing your pasta with the sauce and about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Placing the sauce on top looks pretty, but doesn’t help distribute the flavor of the sauce throughout the dish.
- KitchenAid Mixer
- KitchenAid Pasta Roller Attachment
- Dough Hook
- 3 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- Add the eggs, flour, olive oil, salt and water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together, about 3 minutes. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead until the dough is smooth and soft, about 5 minutes (see note).
- Form the dough into a disk and wrap it tightly in a piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Unwrap your dough and place it on a generously floured surface. Cut the disk into 4 equally-sized pieces and flatten each to about ¼ inch.
- With your pasta roller set to the widest setting (0 on KitchenAid), insert the dough through the top. Once it goes through, fold the dough in half. Flour your dough and run it through a second time.
- Increase the setting by one step and insert the sheet again, but don't fold it over this time. Repeat this step to your desired thickness. For most pasta varieties this is in the 4-6 range.
- Change the attachment to the appropriate cutter. Generously flour the dough, and insert the dough carefully through the top of the attachment. Once you have the pasta cut, toss with a little bit of flour to prevent it from sticking. Set aside, covered with a damp cloth until ready to cook or set out to dry (see drying instructions above).
- When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 2-4 minutes for fresh pasta and 6-8 minutes for dried.
- Serve with your favorite sauce.