I’ve been wanting to make pasta from scratch for ages, but never got round to it because firstly, I figured you needed a pasta machine and LORD KNOWS our kitchen needs no more crap in it. And secondly, we always have dried pasta in the cupboard so I’ve just favoured the easy option ‘til now. With more time on my hands and a rekindled love with getting my hands a little dirtier in the kitchen, I figured I’d give pasta a go. And OKAY. IT’S SO EASY. Super super easy and you definitely don’t need a pasta machine. I mean, you will do if you want to make different shapes and become a pasta-making-pro but for now, all you need is some flour, a set of scales, and a rolling pin. And actually, I don’t even have one of those, mine’s a roti pin but same-same.
So there are different types of pasta, some use eggs and others just use water, and there are different flours you can use too. I’ve been getting all my pasta-making intel from pasta extraordinaire, MATEO ZIELONKA (check his Insta, his pastas are wowww) and to summarise a few of his teachings… You can use water or eggs: neither is wrong, they’re just different styles of pasta. Using eggs will make a smoother and softer more yellow and flavourful pasta, and water will give a slightly chewier pasta, which is perfect for serving with pesto or ragu. When it comes to flour, there are options. Plain flour does work, but semolina flour or 00 flour is best. And if you’re got any coarse semolina, that’s what you want for rolling the dough in to stop it sticking. (Because it will stick together, I learnt the hard way a few times!) And as for shapes, well you can do some experimenting, but good easy ones to start with are pappardelle, taglierini, cavatelli or capunti.
In efforts to be thrifty and consume less dairy, I tend to use the water method, and I promise you, it’s as tasty as the pasta you’re used to having. I’m yet to finesse my shapes, but pasta is pasta, and I’m telling you, make this recipe, slather it in sauce, and you’re good. So delicious and so satisfying to make it yourself. Let’s get stuck in:
300g semolina flour (or 00 flour, or a mix of semolina/plain/00 flour)
Pinch of salt
Coarse semolina (or flour) for dusting
Weigh out your flour, add your salt, and make a little well in the middle of the bowl. Pour in the water and olive oil and mix well until you have a smooth dough. Wrap your dough in a beeswax wrap (or cling film) and pop in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
Now’s when you can start making your shapes. The most straight-forward and satisfying pasta shape is pappardelle in my opinion. So flour your surface and get rolling! You want to try and roll your dough as thin as a 20p piece, so put some elbow grease into it — and try keep it as rectangular as possible.
When you’ve got your thin, large rectangle (or maybe two large thin rectangles if you’ve cut your dough in half), dust the surface of the dough well with semolina or flour and very loosely roll it in to a loose(!) roly-poly.
When you’ve got your loose roly-poly, slice it across into 2cm strips, and when you’ve done the lot, loosely shake the sections in your hands and they will roll out into pappardelle strips. Clever, huh?
Now you don’t want to put these in a bowl as they’ll all squish together (I did that the first time and it’s impossible to separate them afterwards). Instead, leave them laid out on your surface, and boil a big pan of salty water.
The pasta will take just a few minutes to cook once the water is boiling. Dunk it in, swirl it round to stop it from sticking, cook for a couple of minutes ’til chewy (just do a taste test to see if it’s ready) then drain before serving. I put mine in a colander and rinse under cold water just to drain off the starchy flour, then you’re ready to serve it as you please. And voila, you just made pasta from scratch!!
NEED SAUCE? HERE’S MY GO-TO TOMATO PASTA SAUCE. EASY AND DELICIOUS!