Home Cooking

How to Make Homemade Pasta

December 05 2013 - 9:00 AM

It’s all about Italian food right now as locals and tourists alike flood the new Eataly. There are fresh cheeses, gelato, cured meats and above all pasta.

Handmade pasta has a certain reputation at restaurants. It’s always the standout dish for me, and it’s the one that I tend to gravitate towards. I love the al dente texture most have and the unique shapes they come in. What I didn’t know until recently is how easy pasta is to make. I took a pasta making class at Cooking Fools in Wicker Park, and I took away some really helpful tips. Here are just some of them:

  • Start off with a combination  of all-purpose and semolina flour. Semolina flour isn’t always the easiest to find at the store, but it makes all the difference in giving your pasta that chewy texture.
  • Make sure you have the right tools. It really isn’t going to be possible to hand roll your dough out as thin as it needs to be. Investing in a basic pasta machine like this one is crucial to getting your dough the right thickness.
  • When making your dough, make sure to leave out a bit of the flour initially. Your dough can dry out, and you’ll be able to tell if you need more flour when you’re rolling it out. If your dough still feels sticky once you’re rolling it, add a bit of flour in. If it springs back to the touch and feels dry, you don’t need any more flour.
  • When rolling out the dough in the machine, if your dough is too narrow after it is on #2 or #3, fold the corners in so you have a square again and put the dough back in, face down, on #1 again.
  • Lightly flour your dough at least once while it’s going through the machine if it starts looking too yellow. You don’t want it to start sticking.
  • Once you’ve cut your pasta dough – and especially if you put it through the machine to make spaghetti or fettucini – make sure to lay out each pasta strand separately. They stick together far more than you’d expect. Either use a pasta drying rack, flour a sheet pan and lay out the noodles, or cook them immediately by preparing your boiling water.