How to Make Fresh Pasta
Making your own fresh pasta is one of those things that seems super complicated—until you learn that there’s only two ingredients and you don’t need any tools other than a bowl and your hands. Just ask Doug Psaltis, chef and partner at RPM Italian in Chicago, where his team churns out shareable bowls of handmade bucatini, cavatelli, pappardelle, and more on the daily. “While you can find decent dry store-bought pasta, you can’t beat fresh pasta,” Psaltis says. “It has a silky texture, golden color and full flavor.” Here’s how to whip up your own in the same time it takes to pick up the phone and order takeout. Allora!
Seriously, all you need is two ingredients: double-zero (“OO”) flour and farm-fresh eggs. “Don’t skip on these quality ingredients,” Psaltis says. “Be sure to buy pasture-raised eggs for their golden yolks and rich flavor.” Sure, you could use all-purpose flour in a pinch, but fresh pasta is about using standout ingredients, he says. Double-zero flour is special because it’s grains are milled to “00,”, which makes it a fine flour that provides silky smooth texture.
Add 2-4 cups of “00” flour to a mixing bowl and arrange it into a mound. Make a well in the center of the mound, and crack 4 eggs into it. Then use your four fingers to gently stir from the middle outwards, gradually adding more flour into the eggs bit by bit. “You want to incorporate a little flour at a time to the dough to avoid getting big clumps,” Psaltis says. When all of the flour is incorporated, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it until it’s smooth and shiny.
Beware of adding too much moisture when mixing the dough or too much flour when rolling it out. The dough should be smooth and supple, not tacky, Psaltis says.
Then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough into one big, thin, rectangle. From there, whatever shape you make is up to you, but if it’s your first time, Psaltis says that pappardelle, those long flat noodles, is easiest. All you have to do is just fold the dough rectangle in half twice and cut ¾”-wide strips. Another easy pasta? Ravioli. Just place dollops of filling a few inches apart on the rolled-out dough, fold over, and use a pizza cutter or knife to make a square shape around the filling.
How to Cook It
Ideally, you don’t want to store fresh pasta in your fridge for more than a day—the idea is to either hang noodles to let them dry overnight, or cook them right away. Just keep in mind that fresh pasta has a shorter boiling time than store-bought pasta, so stay by the pot while it’s boiling.