Handmade Pasta

I spent a while looking for an egg pasta review with enough positive reviews to speak for its reliability, didn’t require strong flour (I’ve only been able to buy plain) and didn’t list a pasta machine as essential. I couldn’t find one covering all bases, so I stuck a few together to create a Frankenstein’s recipe that worked pretty well.

Having made pasta without a machine I’d advise against getting one unless you’re going to be making pasta on the reg. It’s super easy to roll the dough to an adequate thinness, so unless you’ve got cash and kitchen space to burn, it’s not really worth it.

The following recipe made more than enough pasta for two or three people, but you might need to scale up for four.

Ingredients

4 medium eggs
280 g plain flour

Method

  1. Sieve the flour onto a flat surface and make a well in the middle. All the guides say to use a flat surface, though I suspect a large mixing bowl would work equally well and mitigate Step 4. I’ll be trying this next time.
  2. Beat the eggs and pour into the well until it’s almost full.
  3. Use a fork to start mixing in the flour around the edge of the egg. Once the egg starts to mix in, and there’s more space in the well add more egg and keep mixing.
  4. If the egg starts to run out of the well, panic mildly. Do everything that you can to build a flour dam to stem the flow of the egg.
  5. When the very runny egg has mixed in, you’ll have a gooey mess. Now’s a good time to get in with your hands and roll the gooey mess in the remaining flour until you have something resembling dough.
  6. Continue until all the flour has been absorbed or the dough seems reluctant to absorb any more flour. It should be springy to the touch and not sticky. I had a reasonable amount of flour left over (25 grams, maybe?) but figure it’s best to start with too much. The dough will tell you when it’s had enough flour.
  7. Sprinkle a load of flour on the counter and knead the dough for 7 or 8 minutes. Kinda pull it a bit and then push it down with the heel of your hand.
  8. Wrap in cling film and stick in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The recipes I found on line were inconsistent in the maximum time that they said you could leave it for, some had an upper threshold of around three hours, others a day. I left it for three hours and it was perfectly fine, so suspect it would be okay to leave quite a bit longer.
  9. Flour your surface and roll the dough out super thin. You basically want it to be thin enough that if you hold it up to the light, you can see your hand behind it. This is probably about 2 mm and was a perfect thickness for pappardelle.
  10. When I cut strips of my pasta I hung it over a drying rack to dry out for about thirty minutes. It didn’t feel sticky, so I think this was a bit overkill, but it kept its shape really well when cooking, so maybe it helped.
  11. When you’re ready to cook, bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook it until it rises for the top for al-dente (about three or four minutes).

We served the pasta with Tom Kerridge’s beef ragu which I found a little bit bland, but nothing a handful of parmesan and a sprinkle of parsley couldn’t fix. The pasta was actually really tasty, far better than its store bought equivalent and easy to make if you don’t mind a bit of faff and clean up.