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Experienced pasta makers - I need your advice

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stockholm28 Nov 16, 2013 02:07 PM

I’m thinking about learning to make pasta. In particular, I’d love to be able to make homemade ravioli with great fillings. However, before I go down the path of spending some $ on equipment, I’d like to get some input from those of you with experience so I can decide if it is worth the investment.

I’ve only made pasta once; it was in a cooking class and it didn’t turn out to be particularly good. It was doughy rather than delicate. I’m sure it is an endeavor that requires practice. If you’ve become good at making pasta, I’d appreciate your advice.

1) How long did it take before you became good at making pasta?

2) When you make it, is it something that you can now do quickly or is it a several hour event?

3) What kind of equipment do you use (e.g. Kitchenaid attachment or crank machine or roll by hand)?

4) Any books that you think are particularly good for learning how to make pasta?

5) When you make pasta, do you need to cook it that day or will it keep (e.g. in the freezer)?

6) Any other tips?

Thanks for your help.

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  1. biondanonima RE: stockholm28 Nov 16, 2013 03:24 PM

    I have been making pasta (infrequently, but regularly) for years and I'm still learning. I can now put it together fairly quickly, especially if I make a small amount (2 eggs worth) and/or use the food processor rather than kneading by hand. I usually use my KA attachment for rolling, but I have rolled by hand before - the KA gives more perfect results and is easier if you want REALLY thin sheets, but hand rolling can be faster if you're making something more rustic.

    I've never used a book other than general Italian cookbooks/internet articles by Italian chefs.

    You can freeze fresh pasta but IMO it is best cooked the day it was made.

    1. e
      escondido123 RE: stockholm28 Nov 16, 2013 03:27 PM

      I've made fresh egg pasta for many years -- mainly for ravioli -- using a food processor and a crank machine. If you use a food processor there is really no trick to making good dough -- it should hold together in a ball but just barely and then let rest for half an hour wrapped in plastic. If I didn't have a crank machine already -- and couldn't find one on sale/second hand -- I would start by rolling out my own pasta. But not in sheets but just little balls of dough that I'd roll thin, fill, fold and cut. Of course this is only if you're cooking for 2 people, after that I'd go for the crank.

      1 Reply
      1. re: escondido123
        c oliver RE: escondido123 Nov 16, 2013 03:45 PM

        I use a tortilla press for Asian dumpling dough. I wonder if that would work for ravioli.

      2. bobabear RE: stockholm28 Nov 16, 2013 04:05 PM

        I have made pasta 3 times in the past 10 years. When I was 16, my parents got a hand crank pasta maker and I made pasta... I remember it being a lot of work, a lot of mess and some okay pasta. Then 9 years went by and my parents cleaned out the shed and gave the hand crank pasta roller to me.

        So I've tried it twice since I got it about 6 months ago.

        First time: I used a food processor to make an easy flour + egg dough. No mess there. Let it rest, then rolled it out multiple times to get it shiny and thin enough for some nice cut (by the hand crank machine) egg noodles. Great stroganoff! It took 3 hours to make enough for 1 meal.

        Second time: I decided to be adventurous and make ravioli. Got a cheap ravioli press from some kitchen outlet store, made the dough (again, food processor), let it rest. Lots of rolling out and then put it on a cutting board and filled it with some goat cheese and mushroom mixture. Put top layer on and pressed. I think I need to add some egg wash or something because lots of raviolis popped open during cooking :(

        Both times I used the pasta the same day. I'm sure you can freeze it, but seems like it'd probably negatively affect the "fresh" quality and texture of the pasta.

        As for books, I'm a huge fan of Cooks Illustrated. My local library branch didn't have the book I wanted, but I was able to request it from another branch and it arrived at my local library within a week. Cooks Illustrated's The Complete Book of Pasta and Noodles is a good starter. Or if you subscribe to them online, that's where I got my basic egg noodle and ravioli recipes. They also have some "no machine" pasta making recipes that you should try first without buying the machine...

        Worth noting that hand crank machine = lots more time. I have a Kitchen Aide mixer, but since I got the hand crank pasta machine from my parents, I didn't want to spend the money on the electric version...

        3 Replies
        1. re: bobabear
          ChristinaMason RE: bobabear Dec 31, 2013 04:49 AM

          Just an idea--ravioli and fresh pasta in general are pretty delicate. A rolling boil can cause them to burst or fall apart. Maybe a gentler simmer would help?

          1. re: ChristinaMason
            coll RE: ChristinaMason Dec 31, 2013 05:22 AM

            In the biz, they call that "blow outs"! Common with cheaper factory ravioli.

            I think there's some kind of final slight twist the machine gives the unfinished product to keep it together, which you could try to replicate by hand, plus they advise to take each ravioli out of the water as soon as it floats to the top. They are fresh so it should only take a couple of minutes for that to happen.

            1. re: ChristinaMason
              j
              jimn01 RE: ChristinaMason Jan 2, 2014 02:35 AM

              Raviloli just need to be simmered not boiled hard. In answer to the original question, it took me a few tries to get the consistency right. I use a food processor to make the dough and a hand crank machine to roll the sheets and cut noodles. I have the raviloli attachment . I have used it but a find easier to layout the sheets add the filling and manually cutting the raviloli .

          2. s
            stockholm28 RE: stockholm28 Nov 17, 2013 10:24 AM

            Thank you everyone! This is extremely helpful.

            It hadn't occurred to me that I could make the dough in the food processor; I always see those professional chefs cracking an egg into a mound of flour and just had that in my mind.

            It sounds like the kitchenaid roller is the way to go, but I'm not sure I'm ready to make that investment. I like excondido123's idea of just starting with rolling out some by hand.

            23 Replies
            1. re: stockholm28
              c oliver RE: stockholm28 Nov 17, 2013 11:41 AM

              If you can borrow a tortilla press, you may want to see if that would work for ravioli. Sure makes my dumpling making easier.

              1. re: stockholm28
                w
                walker RE: stockholm28 Nov 17, 2013 12:51 PM

                I really like the kitchenaid pasta attachment part; makes it a lot easier.

                I would not use a food processor to mix up dough .. all those parts to clean!! Instead of mixing on a counter, I do it in a shallow bowl so there's no escaping streams.

                I use Marcella Hazan's recipe, no oil, no water. Be sure to wrap it (after 10 minutes of kneading) in plastic wrap and leave on the counter about an hour before rolling.

                1. re: walker
                  c oliver RE: walker Nov 17, 2013 01:27 PM

                  My FP is just the bowl, the blade, the lid and the feed tube thingie. Couldn't be more straightforward. BTW, the Hazan recipe I use from Essentials doesn't have you rest the dough. Just go straight to rolling it out which is what I always do.

                  1. re: c oliver
                    w
                    walker RE: c oliver Nov 17, 2013 02:36 PM

                    I know in Essentials she does not mention the resting but I learned that elsewhere and, for me, it makes a very big difference.

                    1. re: walker
                      c oliver RE: walker Nov 17, 2013 02:50 PM

                      What difference does it make please? What I make is super easy to handle (I roll out to the 7th setting on the KA) and tastes great. What am I missing?

                      1. re: c oliver
                        JetLaggedChef RE: c oliver Dec 31, 2013 10:13 AM

                        The first resting (prior to kneading) allows the liquid to fully and evenly be absorbed into the dough. It makes it easier to knead.

                        The second resting (after kneading) allows the gluten formed during kneading to relax so it's much easier to roll. (The second kneading is essential if you're going to roll it by hand with a rolling pin.)

                        The first rest really needs about 20 minutes.

                        The second one needs at least 20 minutes but is better after an hour. You can even leave it for several days in the fridge if you want to roll it later. (Don't put salt in the dough as the iodine will cause it to turn a grayish hue.)

                        1. re: JetLaggedChef
                          c oliver RE: JetLaggedChef Dec 31, 2013 02:11 PM

                          The only recipe I've ever made is Hazan's which has no rest at all and is just wonderful. So I think I'll stick with that.

                          1. re: c oliver
                            d
                            DGresh RE: c oliver Dec 31, 2013 02:36 PM

                            Me too!

                            1. re: c oliver
                              sunshine842 RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 06:38 AM

                              The grandmas didn't rest the dough after mixing -- but a rest after kneading.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                hambone RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 10:39 AM

                                I'm a Hazan devote BUT since learning about it, I rest it.

                                It makes the dough easier to work.

                                1. re: hambone
                                  c oliver RE: hambone Jan 1, 2014 10:50 AM

                                  I don't find it at all a problem to work with. Can't imagine it being any easier in fact. Just sayin'.

                                  1. re: hambone
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                                    walker RE: hambone Jan 1, 2014 03:00 PM

                                    That's the one thing I do differently, too, with Hazan's pasta recipe. I think it's much easier to roll out if you let it rest.

                                    1. re: walker
                                      c oliver RE: walker Jan 1, 2014 03:04 PM

                                      I wonder why some have a problem with rolling it and I don't Heaven knows I'm no pro at this but from the very first time it's been easy. Time consuming but always easy.

                                      1. re: c oliver
                                        hambone RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 04:12 PM

                                        It doesn't snap back after rolling as much if you let it rest.

                                        It is like rolling Silly Putty versus Play Doh.

                                        1. re: hambone
                                          c oliver RE: hambone Jan 1, 2014 04:19 PM

                                          I just don't have that problem. And I'm glad :)

                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            hambone RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 04:25 PM

                                            Do you use AP flour or one of the lower protein varieties?

                                            1. re: hambone
                                              c oliver RE: hambone Jan 1, 2014 04:27 PM

                                              AP

                                            2. re: c oliver
                                              sunshine842 RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 04:26 PM

                                              I've tried it both ways -- skipped the post-knead rest when I was pressed for time, and ended up feeling like I was wrestling the dough, and afraid it was going to win..

                                              shoulda let it rest -- it made a huge difference.

                                              1. re: sunshine842
                                                c oliver RE: sunshine842 Jan 1, 2014 04:28 PM

                                                I believe you and others, I just don't have the problem. Just did it "her" way the very first time, it turned out great and I never looked back. I really don't even knead other than just what the FP does. "She" would have a hissy over THAT :)

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  JetLaggedChef RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 04:30 PM

                                                  That explains why you have to use eggs then

                                                  1. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                    sunshine842 RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 04:32 PM

                                                    really? how so?

                                                  2. re: c oliver
                                                    w
                                                    walker RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 06:28 PM

                                                    Oh, I never do it in the food processor. Maybe that's why yours doesn't need a rest.

                          2. re: stockholm28
                            coll RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 05:10 AM

                            Just about the time you wrote this I sold my 1970s version of the Kitchenaid "noodle attachment" which I only used once or twice. Never liked it, the dough always stuck inside too much for me, I thought the Atlas to be more dependable; but if you check out eBay or Craigslist you might just find yourself another like-new, used device to fool around with.

                          3. a
                            AlexRast RE: stockholm28 Nov 17, 2013 12:36 PM

                            1) How long? Instantaneously! By some miracle of luck and possibly careful reading, I got it right first go. However I can see years later how the potential for errors was stupidly big; I was VERY lucky indeed.

                            2) It does take a while,- about 1-2 hours depending upon quantity, but that's because I do everything *entirely* by hand, and use a very strong semolina flour that requires intensive kneading.

                            3) I mix, knead, and roll by hand. Hand-rolling is perhaps the most valuable, by doing so you're stretching the dough rather than compressing it; the result develops the gluten structure better (no, it doesn't lead to tough pasta, if that's what you're thinking) and you almost always can achieve much thinner sheets, if that's your aim (with ravioli I find thinner is better). If you do choose to hand-roll, a LARGE rolling pin is essential. The amount of pressure you'll apply to it is considerable too, so although handled pins will work, if you choose one of these instead of a plain unhandled one, get one that has good ball bearings.

                            5) I always cook the same day; I've never actually tried keeping it but the problem would certainly be drying: good fresh pasta dries out incredibly fast. In addition freezing it would likely destroy the protein structure, and the result I suspect would be gummy.

                            6) The first few steps of pasta-making are just like making bread; it helps to have had experience in bread-making before making pasta. It should also be noted that a fairly high protein content in the flour is desirable; without it gluten development would be too meagre to form truly thin sheets. Thinness is the most important factor by far in getting delicate pasta: very thick sheets (where "very thick" in this context is something like 1 mm) are always going to be either doughy or tough. I roll my sheets until the texture of my rolling board is literally visible through the sheets of pasta. Roll out all your sheets before cutting any of them; stack them on top of each other interleaved with parchment. Make sure the parchment thoroughly covers each sheet or the pasta will dry out rapidly. However some crumbling at the very edges is normal and nothing to be concerned about. Constant flouring of the work surface is critical. At no point can you allow the developing sheet to stick even slightly to your board or pin, or a tear is almost inevitable.

                            1. JetLaggedChef RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 12:11 AM

                              The first or second time you'll have it down. (Since your post is from a few weeks ago, you've probably already got it perfect!:)

                              If your dough is a good recipe, it should work either way. I find that the eggless recipe produces a better texture and taste (definitely more authentic to Italian pasta), but it requires you to knead the dough well for gluten. The egg pasta is fast to make as the egg holds it together so you don't have to knead it, but it's very sticky so it's much more difficult to work with when making the pasta... also, it has to be rolled very very thin or it will be rubbery.

                              I did a video and blog post on this yesterday about all of it - maybe it'll have some info you can use:

                              http://christophercooks.blogspot.com/...

                              I've been making pasta for ages and have traveled extensively in Italy, but am only venturing into making ravioli this week.

                              Have you made the ravioli yet? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

                              1. mrsfury RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 03:19 AM

                                I love making pasta. My hubby loves me making pasta. ;) When I first got my hand-crank pasta machine there was flour everywhere and a lot of cursing. Now I can make pasta within an hour with little mess. I use only my kitchen counter and the pasta machine. For ravioli I do the egg wash and press together with a fork or my fingers. It only took a few times for me to get good at it. Don't be discouraged.

                                1. sunshine842 RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 03:45 AM

                                  you can pick up a hand-cranked pasta roller for somewhere in the neighborhood of $20.

                                  I make egg noodles by hand, and they're definitely thin enough to pass as pasta -- I learned at the elbows of my grandmother and great-grandmother, so I learned a little at a time.

                                  My noodles for Christmas took abut 3 hours start to finish -- from getting out the ingredients to putting the dried noodles in the freezer

                                  You can absolutely freeze your pasta -- dry it, cut it into shapes, then freeze scattered on a cookie sheet before storing in freezer bags.

                                  I use the "standard" recipe as most people -- but I dry the rolled-out sheets until they feel like leather, then I roll them up and cut them into smaller-than-fettucine noodles.

                                  1. c
                                    Cittafarina RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 04:17 AM

                                    I am a professional pasta maker by trade and have been making pasta for about the last 15 years.

                                    For a good book to learn I would suggest Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green. In addition, there are numerous pasta making videos on youtube.

                                    It is possible for virtually anyone to make reasonably good pasta. The first thing to consider is flour. In general, flours range in protein level from around 7% to 13%. Cake and pastry flours are at the lower level with bread and pizza flours being at the top of the range. The higher the protein level will essentially result in the development of greater gluten bonds and hence, more of a "tooth" to the finished product. Many artisanal bakers and pasta makers create their own flour blends to achieve desired textures. You can make acceptable pasta dough from all purpose flour which usually has a protein level of around 10.5%. As you make more pasta you'll want to experiment with different flours like harder wheat semolina at around 12% or softer flours like pastry at around 8%.

                                    I think one of the reasons a lot of people stop making pasta shortly after beginning is the crank pasta machine. Replacing the crank with a motor or using a stand mixer attachment makes the process a lot less cumbersome. As far as making the pasta the most important initial step is making sure that your flour is fully hydrated as you add it. We make all of our dough in a large stand mixer and flour is added slowly so that each increment is fully hydrated before more is added.

                                    The notion of making fresh pasta whenever you plan on eating it is a nice thought but impractical. If you take that approach, you're likely to not make very much pasta. Making pasta has ethereal and enjoyable tactile qualities that as you experience them will make your pasta making better. Set aside time and make a bunch of pasta and freeze it. The freezing will not result in any discernible change in the texture of the pasta.

                                    If you're looking for any more information just reply in your thread and I'll try to answer.

                                    1. coll RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 04:43 AM

                                      In the beginning, many years ago, I used the Atlas hand crank machine my MIL gave me when we first got married. I'm lucky I had her for advice back then. The first bunch of times, my husband had to help by catching the pasta as it came out, it's like you need three hands, but after a few times I was able to do it all by myself. It requires lots of dusting with flour so a big mess but always, from the first, unbelievable pasta. I use 4 eggs and semolina, so that helps. I don't know if it's possible to roll it as thin by hand.

                                      Just recently, inspired by a friends video, I got myself a big long rolling pin and made cannelloni pasta using just that. So easy, not much mess, and although it came out a bit thicker than the machine, the results were wonderful too. I have a different recipe for that, just flour. The machine will take longer, especially if you include clean up time. The rolling pin maybe an hour at the most.

                                      For ravioli, I have a hand stamp that cuts out the round shape with ruffles on the edges. Like a cookie cutter with a wooden handle. You roll out sheets just like making cookies, put a blob of cheese every few inches, cover with another sheet and start stamping them out. So easy!

                                      I always start my dough in the Kitchenaid mixer with the hook attachment, as I do with most of my breads too, just long enough to mix it together. Then I knead by hand the rest of the way. The best of both worlds.

                                      I almost always spread my cut pasta out overnight to dry on a plastic tablecloth, first because I usually make it for company so I have plenty of other things to do before the meal; and second because I find it boils better when semi dried, without sticking together.

                                      1. d
                                        DGresh RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 05:41 AM

                                        I make the dough in the food processor using marcella hazan's ratios. When done, it doesn't like it's possible that it will be dough (looks like wet sand) but it presses together beautifully. I use a hand crank machine. From start to finish, I have fettucine for 4 in about half an hour, maybe less. I love the texture of fresh pasta. I also have one of those little "molds" for ravioli, which makes them "pretty" (I used to just fold and cut by hand). Important to dust the "bowls" with flour, not overfill. Also the dough has to be thin (i usually do it to level 6, but 7 would probably work better); otherwise the "ridge cutters" have a hard time separating the ravioli. Other than that, it's a simple process. I just wish I felt comfortable attaching the machine to my granite counter-top; I do it instead on the wooden table and bending over hurts my back a bit. I often freeze the ravioli (they are a favorite of my college kid) and they come out great; I don't bother with the fresh pasta.

                                        1. d
                                          djquinnc RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 10:40 AM

                                          1) How long did it take before you became good at making pasta?
                                          It took a few months of diligence. The secret for me was finding good dough recipes that worked right for me. The wrong ratio of ingredients has been my downfall in this adventure.
                                          2) When you make it, is it something that you can now do quickly or is it a several hour event?
                                          I like to make it a weekend project. Early start early in the day or start the dough on Saturday in preparation for a Sunday supper. I initially blend all of my ingredients in the food processor rather than the well. It does take a substantial period of kneading by hand for me to get my dough to the smoothness and elasticity that I like. I usually get my board and plot it down in front of the TV for the task. It also needs resting time in the fridge before rolling out as well. I also prefer to make filled pasta rather than cut shapes, so the prep of the filling and cutting take time as well. I find it very therapeutic and somewhat meditative.
                                          3) What kind of equipment do you use (e.g. Kitchenaid attachment or crank machine or roll by hand)?
                                          Kitchenaid attachment is my best pasta friend. I took a pasta class and was enthralled with how the chef played his dough through it like a violin. It has been well worth the investment.
                                          4) Any books that you think are particularly good for learning how to make pasta?
                                          “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” by Marcella Hazan for great sauce recipes; “The Babbo Cookbook” by Mario Batali for good inspiration (although following the recipes has not yielded me that best results); and “The Mozza Cookbook” by Nancy Silverton for impeccable technique.
                                          5) When you make pasta, do you need to cook it that day or will it keep (e.g. in the freezer)?
                                          I will freeze up to one day. Not any longer. It tends to get frost burn easily and the integrity of the pasta dissipates. Nothing is better than cooking and consuming it on the same day it was made though.

                                          6) Any other tips?
                                          Have fun. There is a bit of science, but it is also a great way to use your senses and your instincts well in the kitchen. Don’t forget to salt your water, dress your precious pasta in your sauce rather than drench it, and that pasta water is your sauce’s best friend.

                                          1. Novelli RE: stockholm28 Dec 31, 2013 11:27 AM

                                            Took me a few tries, but I paid close attention to the senses (feel, sight, and a little instinct), and it turned out fine.

                                            I make fresh pasta at least 4 times a week. In fact, the only dried pasta I have in the pantry now is spaghetti and bucatini for when I'm feeling lazy. Otherwise, I can whip up a small batch in 15-20 mins, and prep everything else while it rests.

                                            When I do have time to kill on the weekends I'll pull out the matarello and roll out by hand, but more times than any I'll use the hand crank. Although, I have also been eyeballing a cool little manual extruder that I'd like to get.

                                            Depending on the type of pasta, I'll use a fine milled 00 with eggs and just water when using durhum wheat or semolina.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Novelli
                                              coll RE: Novelli Dec 31, 2013 12:56 PM

                                              Semolina fina for me, I can buy it by the pound at my local pasta store.

                                              1. re: Novelli
                                                c oliver RE: Novelli Dec 31, 2013 02:15 PM

                                                The Hazan pasta I make takes QUITE a bit of time. Each piece gets folded and then rolled three times. And then as each piece gets longer it's cut in pieces and folded and rolled three times. I start with setting one and go to setting seven. Basically the entire peninsula counter is filled with pasta.

                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                  Novelli RE: c oliver Dec 31, 2013 03:14 PM

                                                  Perhaps the reason it takes quite a bit of time is because of the continuous folding over and 3-time run through, which, to me, seems to be the actual kneading process done in a different way...especially if using the food processor method, which provides no real kneading at all.

                                                  1. re: Novelli
                                                    c oliver RE: Novelli Dec 31, 2013 03:33 PM

                                                    Well, Hazan has you do that regardless of how you make the dough.

                                                    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/01/...

                                              2. s
                                                Siegal RE: stockholm28 Jan 1, 2014 07:45 AM

                                                I made pasta for tortellini before (came out thick and not so good because I rolled it by hand). My in-laws bought me the kitchenaid pasta roller attachment with spaghetti and fettucini attachment in October. I made pasta 3 times with it (just AP flour, egg, oil) and each time it was no problem - it went through the machine easy had delicious pasta.

                                                However, it takes a while! and is messy. just all the rolling - thinner and thinner - takes a while. Its not hard though. I cut the recipes to have no leftovers if I am in a "rush."

                                                I also put extras in the freezer and boiled it and it came out fine.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Siegal
                                                  c oliver RE: Siegal Jan 1, 2014 08:21 AM

                                                  I have Bob, my sous chef and all-round great SO as my partner when making pasta. As the pieces get thinner and longer, I pass them off to him. He puts them on the towels that cover the counter and hands me another. Makes a big job a lot easier.

                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                    JetLaggedChef RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 08:41 AM

                                                    That would definitely help! :)

                                                    Have you tried the belt method?

                                                    After the first press, you pass it back through then pinch the ends together to form a belt, pass it through one more time then it's a one hand operation as you adjust the numbers.

                                                    It only works with egg dough though but it makes it go *a lot* faster.

                                                2. z
                                                  zackly RE: stockholm28 Jan 1, 2014 09:00 AM

                                                  This is good pasta flour:
                                                  http://brickovenbaker.com/ingredients...

                                                  1. JoanN RE: stockholm28 Jan 1, 2014 09:26 AM

                                                    Been making pasta for quite a few years now, but a couple of days ago I made the best batch yet. I used Marcella’s ratios, two eggs to one cup AP flour. Didn’t rest the dough. I kneaded it by hand for a full ten minutes. Didn’t rest the dough a second time, either. Used the Batali instructions from “Molto Italiano” for putting it through the rollers. (Unlike Marcella, he has you do the folding and putting through the same roller width many more times, but in the first three stages only.) The combination of hand kneading and additional kneading with the rollers allowed me to take the pasta to notch 7, something I hadn’t been able to do before without the dough tearing somewhat. The cooked pasta was ethereally thin, but with some “chew” to it. I won’t be bothering to use either my KA or FP for kneading dough again.

                                                    And I don’t understand the need to freeze the pasta once it’s made, unless you’re freezing filled pasta for cooking later. After cutting the pasta into strands, I just roll it into nests and let it air dry. Sometimes I just dry it partially for use later in the day, but I’ve also let the nests dry completely and then just stored them in a ZipLock in the cupboard.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                      sunshine842 RE: JoanN Jan 1, 2014 10:32 AM

                                                      you freeze them if you're making more noodles than you'll need today. I've no interest in keeping raw eggs in a prepared product at room temperature for any extended period of time.

                                                      (I'll happily keep my fresh eggs at room temperature, depending on where I bought them....but once broken, no way)

                                                    2. JuniorBalloon RE: stockholm28 Jan 1, 2014 11:23 AM

                                                      I've been making pasta for several years, I guess around 10 times a year. Always with egg, just my preference, and usually for ravioli, lasagna or tagliatelle. For me the secret has been the flour I use and a good ratio. My flour of choice is Semolina from Vero Lucano. If I can't get that Bob's Redmill makes a good substitute. I now weigh my ingredients and use Paul Bertolli's ratio of 10 oz flour to 8 1/2 oz of egg with a 1/2 oz of water. This makes quite a lot of pasta and you may want to cut it in half. Just like the resting period you can make perfectly good pasta without weighing, but I think both methods, weighing and resting, make the pasta easier to work with, especially for a beginner.

                                                      I sometimes start in a food processor and sometimes, when making a small amount, in a well on the counter. Either way makes good pasta. As pasta is about the feel of the dough. After doing it a bit you get a feel for when it's been worked enough, if it needs a bit more moisture or a bit more flour.

                                                      I have a hand crank Atlas machine. I cut a piece of dough about 1 1/2 inches square, flatten it, dust it with flour and roll at the widest setting. Fold and repeat until it feels right. Then crank it down and roll through each setting twice and dusting with flour in between as needed.

                                                      After the pasta is rolled out what happens next depends on what kind of pasta I'm making. If it's ravioli I start making them as soon as it's all been rolled. If it's lasagna or tagliatelle I leave it laid out on the counter for an hour or two, flipping them every 10 minutes or so for even drying. Once it takes on a supple, almost cloth like texture I know it's ready for the next step. For tagliatelle I know it's old school to flour the sheets, roll them into a tube and cut with a knife, but I find it easier to use a pizza cutter. For lasagna I learned a trick from Marcella Hazan where you quickly cook the sheets for 30 seconds or so, hit them with a ice bath and lay them out on a cloth for a bit before you build the layers. I know lots of people who skip this step and it works for them, but in my experience the leftover lasagna turned into a gummy mess the next day.

                                                      Very curious what other people do for drying and cutting a prepping.

                                                      I find making pasta to be a fun and satisfying experience. Start with something simple and give yourself plenty of time.

                                                      Buon appetito.
                                                      jb

                                                      20 Replies
                                                      1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                        c oliver RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 1, 2014 11:29 AM

                                                        I also do the quick boil, but only a very few seconds, and then into the ice bath. I make Hazan's green lasagna and while it's a lot of work (I make the Bolognese sauce in large batches and freeze so that saves a BIG step) it's definitely worth it. To the point that I don't eat any lasagna except this one.

                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                          d
                                                          DGresh RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 11:42 AM

                                                          I love the green lasagne, but find the spinach pasta a PITA to roll out. Any suggestions? Maybe I'm not squeezing enough water out?

                                                          1. re: DGresh
                                                            JetLaggedChef RE: DGresh Jan 1, 2014 11:50 AM

                                                            Purée the spinach. Then use a recipe w water (no eggs). Use spinach and juice to come up to 1 cup total plus 1 cup King Arthur flour and 2 cups semolina.

                                                            It'll hold together great.

                                                            1. re: DGresh
                                                              c oliver RE: DGresh Jan 1, 2014 01:18 PM

                                                              http://www.crumblycookie.net/2008/01/...

                                                              Scroll down to the pasta recipe (which DOES include eggs). After draining and pressing as much water out as possible, I wrap in a towel, twist it tight as I can and squeeze the dickens out of it. Then I put on a cutting board and blot some more. Finally I rough chop it. Also when rolling out, I keep adding small amounts of flour to my board so each strip continues to pick up just a bit of flour. I think that last may be kind of key. It rolls out perfectly every time. Good luck.

                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                JetLaggedChef RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 01:44 PM

                                                                Meh. I've tried it that way but felt like a lot of unnecessary extra work when it tasted exactly the same. And I just don't like the poor quality "noodle" texture that using an egg based dough produces. Doesn't taste like the delicious pasta I've had during any of my travels through Italy.

                                                                I agree with you that there is no lasagna like bolognese lasagna. I was recently immersed in all things Bolognese when I spent a month in Bologna (and surround region) for work this Fall. I'll never eat another style again. :)

                                                                One thing though - I'm surprised it takes your recipe an hour to simmer out the milk. It only takes me about 15 minutes to simmer out the milk then another 15 minutes to simmer out the wine. Otherwise, our recipes seem very similar.

                                                                Here's my posting about learning to make bologenese sauce like I was taught in Bologna:

                                                                http://christophercooks.blogspot.com/...

                                                                1. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                  sunshine842 RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 01:54 PM

                                                                  and if C is happy with her results and doesn't mind the effort, the issue is?

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                                                    JetLaggedChef RE: sunshine842 Jan 1, 2014 02:02 PM

                                                                    No issue at all. :) But I think the purpose of posting to forums is to share information so others can decide what works for them.

                                                                    If I was new to making something, I'd be very interested to know whether a step that takes an extra 30 minutes is necessary or not. ;)

                                                                  2. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                    JuniorBalloon RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 02:25 PM

                                                                    If you had pasta in Bologna odds are it was an egg pasta.

                                                                    jb

                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                      c oliver RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 1, 2014 02:43 PM

                                                                      That does seem to be the case, doesn't it? But to each his/her own. I love the Hazan recipe and it's one of those things I just don't tinker with, feeling it's perfect. Others mileage can and does vary.

                                                                    2. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                      c oliver RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 02:39 PM

                                                                      Not sure where the hour comes from. I didn't notice that in the recipe. When I make the sauce I make a 5X portion and it takes hours and hours to cook.

                                                                      You think the spinach method I use is more work than pureeing it. All I do is squeeze dry and chop. Easy peasy and I don't have anything else to clean :)

                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                        d
                                                                        DGresh RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 02:55 PM

                                                                        yeah, I do 4x the hazan recipe and it takes at least an hour each for the milk and the wine to cook off. i haven't checked but it looks like your recipe uses 1/3 of a 10 oz spinach rather than the 1/2 that the hazan (book) calls for; I'm sure that will help. Will try that next time, and also be more diligent about adding flour as I go along (I use an atlas hand crank machine). I have just found it gets all gluey and gummy and tears apart as I roll it thinner.

                                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                                          JetLaggedChef RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 03:50 PM

                                                                          True. But honestly, I'm a purist when it comes to food. There's not enough spinach in that method to alter the nutritional value.

                                                                          What I really do is use the water to alter the color. I just don't bother with filtering out any spinach that gets in.

                                                                          1. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                            c oliver RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 04:13 PM

                                                                            From what I understand, there are many, many totally correct variations of lasagna, including the addition of spinach so not sure where a "purist" stance come from.

                                                                            I wouldn't say anyone eats lasagna for its nutritional value. That got a little chuckle out of me.

                                                                            And attached are a couple of pix of my VERY green lasagna. I suppose I could just use green food coloring!

                                                                            I noticed that you're brand new to CH so you may not have figured out yet that, for us, there's never, ever just a single way to do anything. What I do has little or no bearing on what, say, walker does. We enjoy the dialogue but try not to get too pedantic about it. It IS after all "just" food :)

                                                                             
                                                                             
                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                              JetLaggedChef RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 04:25 PM

                                                                              You misread my comment. :) I was talking about adding spinach to pasta in general.

                                                                              Can we just say you're right about everything so I can stop getting notifications? :P

                                                                              1. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                                sunshine842 RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 04:27 PM

                                                                                apparently not -- http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/929815

                                                                                1. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                                  c oliver RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 04:31 PM

                                                                                  Oh, I was talking about adding spinach to the pasta also. That's why I included the photo. I know plenty make spinach a layer in their lasagna but I never have. I'm just noodles, Bolognese sauce, bechamel and grated cheese.

                                                                          2. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                            w
                                                                            walker RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 02:59 PM

                                                                            I feel exactly the way you do about making the spinach pasta .. a lot of work and I cannot tell any difference in taste. I think the s[omach pasta sheets are a bit slimy so I prefer the plain egg dough.

                                                                            1. re: JetLaggedChef
                                                                              w
                                                                              walker RE: JetLaggedChef Jan 1, 2014 03:05 PM

                                                                              Hazan wants you to simmer at a really low level; I've decided the next level up is not so bad. It does take me forever if I do it exactly her way. If I go to the store to buy the meat, come home and start cooking, I have to go to bed and keep setting the alarm to get up to tend to the sauce.
                                                                              (If I got up EARLY to go to the store, guess it would not be so bad .. I like to use fresh, not frozen, meat. Now, it's better if I buy one day and cook the next. I always quadruple the recipe, just as easy to have two pots going, good job for a rainy day.)

                                                                              1. re: walker
                                                                                c oliver RE: walker Jan 1, 2014 03:25 PM

                                                                                I have a huge pot so can do 4x or 5x in one. I grind my meat. I can do it in a full day, getting done by dinnertime. And I love having those little packets of glorious-ness in the freezer. Two years ago when our SF daughter had her baby and we were going down for a visit, I asked if there was anything she'd like me to bring her. She said "I wouldn't say no to some Bolognese sauce." :)

                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                  d
                                                                                  DGresh RE: c oliver Jan 1, 2014 04:31 PM

                                                                                  I have a full size freezer in the garage, filled with all sorts of things, including containers of bolgonese. When Hurricane Irene hit in late summer 2011, we were about to leave for a week at the Jersey shore. Ironically, our rental at the shore had power, but our suburban NY home did not. The bolognese was the first thing put in the cooler to be "saved" by the freezer at the shore!

                                                                    3. a
                                                                      acssss RE: stockholm28 Jan 1, 2014 02:56 PM

                                                                      1) Immediately (I learned in Italy from an Italian woman in Tuscany and she was a great teacher)
                                                                      2) 15 minutes kneading, 30 minutes resting, 15 minutes rolling the dough out
                                                                      3) Sometimes my hands, sometimes a kitchen-aid attachment, depending on the type of pasta
                                                                      4) no
                                                                      5) I cook mine right away.
                                                                      6) Don't knead near drafts - it will dry out the dough; While you are not kneading, cover the dough with a damp towel so it doesn't dry out; Knead at least 10 minutes - if not, the dough will roll back when you roll it out and won't be elastic enough (depending on the weather, you may need to knead more); Flour any surface so dough doesn't stick - it will tear.

                                                                      Good luck

                                                                      1. c
                                                                        Connery2grant RE: stockholm28 Jan 15, 2014 10:57 PM

                                                                        I have a KA, and it took me a while to learn tricks like laying the pasta to dry a bit, etc. I have a tip for cleaning the rollers if needed. Use a cheap vodka and wipe carefully. Also, a super breakfast pasta..make a 6 inch blanket of fresh dough, brown pine nuts in evoo, poach an egg for each bowl, and micro fine slices of Parma ham. Boil pasta. Place egg, then ham in bowl. Cover with blanket. Add nuts, then a bit of brown butter and a dash of balsamic . Heaven!

                                                                        1. h
                                                                          hyperbowler RE: stockholm28 Jan 23, 2014 05:18 PM

                                                                          With a food processor and a pasta rolling machine, you can become good, or at least consistent, on your first few tries.

                                                                          It takes me fewer than 10 minute to make dough. I let it rest for 1-2 hours, and then roll out the dough with a manual crank machine (for basic flat pasta, takes less than 20 minutes). Whether that produces as good a pasta as hand made, I have no idea, but it's a consistent product that keeps me encouraged.

                                                                          I use a variation of Cook's Illustrated's recipe for dough made with a food processor and a pasta rolling machine. They tell you to pulse 2 cups of all-purpose flour for 1 minute, and then to pour in 3 eggs, adding some extra water if it's dry, until it forms a ball. I wound up always adding water and that fussing could eat precious minutes-- I get better first try results by weighing out 10oz of flour and measuring exactly 6 fluid oz. of egg-stuff (roughly 3 whole large eggs. depending on the prep, I might aim for more yolk and throw 3-8 whole large eggs into the measuring cup and pour off egg white until I reach 6 oz). You have to hand knead it for about a minute after it comes out of the food processor.

                                                                          Tips: (1) If you have lousy ventilation, don't have any water boiling when you're rolling out your pasta. Steam from that, or a dishwasher running underneath your rolling surface, will make your dough stick to the rollers. (2) For stuffed pastas, stuff each portion of dough within seconds of them coming out of the rollers. If you need to use water as a sealant, your dough is not hydrated enough or you're not going fast enough.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: hyperbowler
                                                                            c oliver RE: hyperbowler Jan 23, 2014 05:34 PM

                                                                            Except for the very first time, I've used my FP for making the dough. And I think it's perfect!

                                                                          2. d
                                                                            DGresh RE: stockholm28 Feb 13, 2014 07:58 AM

                                                                            I thought of this discussion today. I've been making home made pasta using a hand-crank Atlas for years now, using Hazan's recipe (2.25 cup AP flour + 3 eggs). I've got it down pretty well, and don't usually have any serious trouble, but sometimes I have to work it a bit at the widest setting, and sometimes it starts to tear at level 6 (which is where I always stop). A little while ago I bought a bag of semolina, and today used 1 cup of semolina + 1.25 cups of AP flour. What a difference! The dough went through all the settings like silk, with no issues whatsoever. I was able to roll out all the noodles in about half the time. We'll see later today what the texture is like, but the rolling was certainly a pleasure.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: DGresh
                                                                              c oliver RE: DGresh Feb 13, 2014 08:06 AM

                                                                              Please report back. Many of us will be interested to know about the texture. I've only used semolina the one time I made ravioli and they were very good.

                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                d
                                                                                DGresh RE: c oliver Feb 14, 2014 04:04 AM

                                                                                So I cooked it last night. It was great! I wouldn't, however, say that it was significantly different or better than any previous batches I've made entirely with AP flour. But the rolling process was definitely easier with half semolina.

                                                                              2. re: DGresh
                                                                                iL Divo RE: DGresh Feb 13, 2014 08:36 AM

                                                                                when I delve into the semolina flour I bought it the 20 lb bag for the purpose of making pasta, my thoughts are it works well. not tried mixing it with ap but will now, thanks
                                                                                DGresh

                                                                              3. NonnieMuss RE: stockholm28 Feb 13, 2014 08:28 AM

                                                                                1. It took me about two tries to get to edible - three or four more tries and it was great.
                                                                                2. I can make some fresh for dinner in half an hour (including 10 and 5 minute resting times) - when I'm making in bulk for gifts, or coloring it, maybe two hours?
                                                                                3. I have the Kitchenaid extruder, but only use it once a year or so for fun. I knead by hand and hand-crank to roll and cut.
                                                                                4. There's so much good information online, you probably don't need a book.
                                                                                5. I usually cook within a day or two. I'll keep it in the fridge for up to five days, but never freeze it.
                                                                                6. Everybody's recipe is different - experiment and find one that works for you. I like either 100% semolina, or half semolina, half 00. I'm going to try a yolks-only Roman recipe next. A third hand or arm is helpful when using the hand crank. If it's something you think you want to do regularly, a collapsible drying rack is a good investment. I made do with dowell rods and hangers for awhile, but I love that rack. (That's what he said.)

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                  c oliver RE: NonnieMuss Feb 13, 2014 09:06 AM

                                                                                  The only time I refrigerated overnight, it turned grey :(

                                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                                    NonnieMuss RE: c oliver Feb 13, 2014 09:55 AM

                                                                                    The dough or the pasta? I've put the pasta in tupperware or ziplocks and it's been just fine.

                                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                      c oliver RE: NonnieMuss Feb 13, 2014 10:23 AM

                                                                                      The dough. And IIRC it was the only time I've used a mix of AP and semolina.

                                                                                    2. re: c oliver
                                                                                      daislander RE: c oliver Feb 13, 2014 09:59 AM

                                                                                      that was interesting I didn't get a good read but on here somewhere someone was talking about that last week. It had to do with the type of flour I think...

                                                                                      Happened to me once but it was grey/brown flecks. Looks like something was going bad in the dough. It did look like a reaction but I wasn't sure. So I tossed it.

                                                                                  2. daislander RE: stockholm28 Feb 13, 2014 09:55 AM

                                                                                    I love a fresh egg pasta. I modified my recipe yesterday I used 1 1/4 c. ap, 1c. semolina, 1/2 tsp salt, pulse in food processor to mix. while running drizzle in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil. Mix 4 eggs in a cup and drizzle in while running. After all eggs are in pulse until it comes together in a ball about 10 pulses. Take out. Knead for 5 mins. Wrap in cellophane. Rest 30 mins room temp. Slice off chunks flatten to disk run threw 1 setting fold and run threw 1st setting about 6 times. Run threw until you get the thickness you want. Rememeber it does swell up a bit when it cooks. I folding cloths rack works well as a hanging rack. If you are going to store your pasta or dry it in bundles you will need extra flour on the outside to keep the noodle from sticking together as they wait to be dryer or cooked. I find if I don't have a rack is I flour my counter. I run threw I piece and get to the thickness I want. Then do a few others so I have 6 pieces of the right thickness sitting there. Then I switch my rollers and cut those. Put them aside maybe on cookie sheets fluffing them up every few minutes and dusting with a bit of extra flour.Put the flat roller back on, do one more piece which turns into 6. Set aside... The best is just cutting and cooking right away. The recipe can be played with my regular recipe has 2 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks. I was in hurry and the whole eggs made a easily to handle dough. I think I prefer the 2 yolk one tho. I hope that makes sense! I also use a kitchen aid attachment. Amazon puts them on sale now and then. With hand crank you almost need to people. KA is fast with one person.

                                                                                    1. eLizard RE: stockholm28 Feb 13, 2014 09:57 AM

                                                                                      my first batch was perfect. kitchenaid roller and cutter. made the dough in the fp.

                                                                                      it's pretty quick now.

                                                                                      you can definitely freeze ravioli. i make extra and freeze it.

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