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Jul 17, 2008 09:22 PM

How to stop fresh pasta from sticking?

I love making fresh pasta for recipes. What I don't love is how it all clumps together. No matter how much flour I dust surfaces with they end up sticking together. Is there a way to stop this?

For completeness' sake, I roll each piece thin, then cut it, put it on cookie sheets dusted with flour, then layer it with waxed paper, lather rinse repeat. Is there a better way?

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  1. I was just gifted an Atlas 150 a few weeks ago - it's awesome (too bad no motor!). I've found that dusting it with semolina flour before storing it or putting in the frig will eliminate the sticking.

    1. My local pasta shop uses fine corn meal. I have used this at home for raviolis, but not for cut pasta. Maybe it work for cut? Worth a shot in any event.

      I dust off the corn meal before boiling.

      1. if you can find a contraption to hang the cut pasta to dry a little (clean hangers, or arrange alongside a large mixing bowl place on a high place with room for the pasta to hang down), you might not need that much flour for dusting.

        A preventive measure would be to use less liquid in the initial mixing of the dough. A hard dough will relax to just the right strength, whereas an initially "perfect" dough might after resting get too soft to ever have the al dente potential.

        7 Replies
        1. re: HLing

          does fresh pasta get al dente, or is it always softer than a hard pasta's "al dente"?

          1. re: alkapal

            If you make it with hard wheat and water it should be the same. If you make it with soft wheat and egg, the firmness comes from the egg so it should still resist your tooth, but it does so more gently.

            1. re: tmso

              don't people just use durum semolina? they use hard and soft wheats?

              1. re: alkapal

                Yes, soft wheat is definitely used when making pasta at home. Ever tried to roll out semolina dough by hand? No fun. Soft wheat plus eggs or hard wheat plus water. Egg pasta is the only way to go for filled pasta. Semolina (di grano duro, ie, hard wheat) is the only way to go for gnocchi (the wheat ones, not the potato ones).

          2. re: HLing

            Yes hanging the pasta to dry helps. Perhaps a wooden clothes drier. Made lasagna noodles once that way, the noodles were better than the one I bought but it was really a lot of work.

            1. re: classylady

              Cheap wooden dowels (broom handles in the "olden days") propped between chairs gives good circulation. Plus a minimum of handling. Our hands are hot! You will get a rhythm going with practice.

              1. re: torty

                they sell little wooden pasta dryers that look like the old wooden clothes drying rack....i think i got mine at tjmaxx.

          3. Sounds like your pasta is too wet and/or you're not letting it rest long enough before rolling it out.

            1. It sounds like you are making nests to dry and store, rather than making the noodles to dump straight into the water. When I have made dried nests, I don't stack or layer them until after they are dry. I dust with flour, make very small piles/nests, and let them dry uncovered for 24 hours, flipping the piles once. I don't overlap them until dry. The dried result is very brittle and fragile, so stack carefully.

              You might try dusting the pasta sheets before cutting them, if you plan on making nests. I never dust the sheets if I am going to dump them straight into water or if I am going to form ravioli. Oh, I also dry the sheets briefly before cutting them, by leaving them there on the counter, flipping once or twice (do not do this for ravioli!). You can't leave them long, or the cutting will crumble them. I just tell by feel. You could also dry the cut pasta over a broom handle (cover the handle with something though, or flour it well) for 10 or so minutes before making the nests. This will help with the sticking problem. Just don't wait too long, or they won't coil up right, I imagine.

              If you need flour to run your pasta through the rollers, your dough has too much liquid in it. It should be supple, but not sticky in any way.