I always thought you needed a fancy pasta maker to make pasta from scratch. It was too bad too, because making pasta is really simple, and only requires 2 ingredients. I thought about rolling out the dough and cutting it up, but could not imagine cutting out all those little spaghetti noodles.
Why Make Pasta
Then I had a craving for lasagna one day, but had no way to make any. Without an oven, making lasagna with properly cooked noodles just doesn’t work. Turns out that if you combine eggs and flour, make dough, then roll it out, you get lasagna noodles! You don’t need to precook the noodles, and the lasagna cooks nicely in a shallow dutch oven on the stove top. It was amazing!
We made bread last time we talked about saving money by making your meals from scratch. You can make many versions of bread that can be quite simple and tasty, even if you don’t have the means to make gourmet breads.
Now it is time for us to explore the simple way to make pasta, from scratch, without a pasta machine.
Combine flour and eggs, I like to use a dough whisk. I use 3-4 cups of flour to make a batch of pasta for four of us. It took a good dozen eggs to make the flour into dough. Due to the climate we live in, we always end up using more liquids than recipes call for. I would suggest starting with half of that, and adding more if you need too. The most recent time we made the pasta, we used only eggs yolks and the pasta tasted much better. Many recipes also call for olive oil, which I will be trying out next time, but it was good without it.
Here is the ball of dough, all ready to be rolled out. It is just dry enough to not stick to our hands when we knead it. Don’t knead too much, just enough to form a nice dough ball.
Once the dough is formed, let it rest, covered, for about an hour.
Prepare a floured work surface and get out your rolling pin. We were making ravioli here, and the kids wanted to stuff their own. I had them divide the ball into four pieces, one for each of us. Then, you want the pasta rolled out as thin as you can get it without it tearing when you move it around.
Each piece of dough made 6 ravioli. They were big ravioli, stuffed to the brim with ricotta and wilted spinach. If you wanted more ravioli, you could easily stuff them less.
The 2 pieces of rolled out dough on the right made 6 ravioli. You can see the first piece has the stuffing in place. The dough is then folded in half over the stuffing and the edges are pushed together. Then, using a floured fork, push the edges together so that they are completely sealed. You don’t want your stuffing to end up in the water!
Get a pan of boiling water ready while you prepare the ravioli, or other type of pasta you choose to make. Add the pasta to the boiling water and watch for it to float. Once it floats, I let it cook another 5 minutes. This is usually because the water on the wood stove doesn’t always boil consistently, unless we want the house to be really warm.
Topping it off
This batch of ravioli came out the best looking (they all tasted amazing). A few of them broke when they weren’t cooked quite enough, but once I got the timing down, it was very easy to do.
We made a big batch of sauce to top the ravioli off. I always try to make way too much sauce so that we get at least a couple meals out of it. This sauce has vegetable chunks and ground beef in it, everything you add makes a bigger batch. Just don’t get carried away and make too much sauce for your pan!
The Finished Product
Giallo Zafferano Homemade Pasta Sheets