Homemade Pasta
Homemade pasta is great stuff, and a game that the whole family can play. Particularly if you decide to add some food colouring.
I've been making my own for quite a while now (thanks Susan Conte) and I've settled on using semolina, rather than ordinary (fine) flour, for most purposes where I really prefer the slightly grainier texture and the nuttier flavour, but it might not be ideal for some dishes (like ravioli or tortellini) where a smoother more elastic dough would to be called for. So be prepared to adapt as necessary.
Though you definitely need some egg white to hold the pasta together, you can increase the proportion of egg yolk for a richer (maybe tastier) pasta.
Again, adapt your recipe to the use you intend to put it.

I read about Italy's Gualtiero Marchesi's idea for pasta with leaves in it to use for making large raviolis. Sounds like fun:
Make pasta as normal and roll it out with your pasta machine.
Next, take well washed sprigs of parsley or other leafy herbs and pinch away the stems so only the leafy crowns remain. Cut the pasta into strips about twice as wide as the leaves, brush one side of a strip with a little cold water, and lay down a row of leaves, separating them by about a half an inch. Cover with a second strip and run the sandwich back through the pasta machine.

Egg Pasta
staple veg pasta
Basic homemade egg and semolina pasta recipe
The proportion is about 1 large egg to slightly less than 4 oz of semolina. 1 egg makes a surprisingly large amount of pasta, enough for 2 ordinary people, or one fat bastard.
Substitute hard durum wheat (Farina 00) flour if you want a smoother dough.
Add relatively more egg yolk if you want a richer dough.

If you're going to add colourings or flavourings (as suggested below), particularly wet ones, then you might need more flour, and you should probably add proportionally more egg yolks. Try and get any additional ingredients as dry as possible.

Serves 2


Put slightly less semolina than you will need in bowl, make a well in the centre and break in your egg with a dribble of olive oil and a generous dose of salt.
Use a fork to beat the egg, gradually incorporating the flour and any flavourings you fancy, then work the dough with your hands until you have a soft dough and all the semolina has been incorporated. Add more semolina as necessary.
Knead the dough on a working surface for 10 minutes or so using the heel of your palms until the dough feels slightly elastic, then leave it to rest for 5 minutes in a covered bowl.
Or for longer. I've seen recommendations of 30 minutes though that might be excessive. You can refrigerate the pasta at this stage too if you need to.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it's thin enough to pass through your pasta machine. My Imperia pasta machine does a great job rolling and cutting the dough for linguine/fettucine on its next-to-thinnest setting.
If you aren't rich enough to own a pasta machine then you'll have to roll the dough out by hand until it is paper thin and translucent. Then you can slice it into strips with a knife.
Be generous with flouring down your surfaces, pasta machine, and rolled pasta as you go. It will help enormously to prevent the pasta sticking to the worktop, itself, you...
Hang the pasta over a clothes drying rack for 30 minutes or until you are ready to use it. I don't think the pasta actually needs to dry out but it doesn't do it any harm and it probably helps to stop it sticking together during cooking.

When you cook the pasta, you want to try and avoid letting it bunch up and stick together - drop it carefully into a large pan of salted, rapidly boiling water, and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until it is firm but not soggy.
Unlike dried pasta, fresh pasta firms up as it cooks.
Experts recommend fast boiling for only 60-90 seconds, and definitely no longer than 2 minutes.
It will cook much more quickly than dried pasta - don't overdo it, the pasta will continue to cook after it has been drained.
There's a whole discussion to be had here -
  • Does the salt actually penetrate the pasta?
    Maybe. You will certainly need a lot of salt though - a couple of tablespoons at least.
  • Does adding oil to the water stop the pasta sticking together?
    It seems probably not, just tends to make the pasta oily when you eventually drain it which might stop the sauce from adhering to the strands.
    Having said that - I do toss oil through the cooked, drained pasta if it is going to be sitting around for a long time before being eaten. Otherwise you'll be eating a ball of wool.
  • So how do you stop the pasta sticking together?
    This is a particular issue for fresh pasta: you really need to carefully separate out the strands during cooking, especially at the start using a couple of wooden spoons or chopsticks. And you need to be particularly careful when draining the pasta - lift it out of the pan into the colander, don't pour it out.
    Letting the pasta dry out before cooking might help to stop the sticking too.
Lift the cooked pasta out of the water with a spaghetti spoon (yep, this is your chance to use your spaghetti spoon!) or a pair of wooden spoons, into a colander to drain. You can sit the colander back over the pot and cover it with the pot's lid, but serve as soon as possible.
You can keep pasta for reheating the next day - make sure you stir some oil through it before it cools to stop it sticking together, then reheat by steaming it in a colander over boiling water.