Taken from The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. While these directions look long-winded and possibly overwhelming, I promise you it is a very simple process – once you have done it twice, you won’t need to look at the recipe.
115g Plain Flour
2 Large eggs
This amount will produce approximately 3 portions of pasta. I always double or triple the recipe so I can freeze the leftovers.
Please note the ratio above is approximate and may need to be adjusted depending on the size of the eggs and sometimes even the humidity. You will develop a feel for the ideal dough consistency the more times you make the recipe.
1. Pour the flour on to a work surface, shape it into a mound and scoop out a deep hollow in its centre.
2. Break the eggs into the hollow and beat them lightly with a fork for about 1 minute.
3. Draw some of the flour over the eggs, mixing it with the fork a little at a time until the eggs are no longer runny.
4. Draw the sides of the mound together with your hands, but push some of the flour to one side, keeping it out of the way until you find you absolutely need it.
5. Work the eggs and flour together, using your fingers and the palms of your hands, until you have a smoothly integrated mixture.
6. When the dough feels ‘good’ and like it doesn’t require any more flour, wash your hands, dry them and press your thumb deep into the centre of the mass – if it comes out clean, no extra flour is required. The dough will still look a little unfinished and lumpy – and that is where the kneading comes in.
7. Knead the dough until it is smooth – for approximately 8 minutes. If you are finding it difficult – cut into 2 or 4 and knead separately.
8. At this stage – or at any stage I feel the dough is not ‘behaving’ I like to rest it for 10 minutes or so under a clean, dry, tea towel. Sort of like a time out. I don’t know how or why but it is amazing the difference this can make.
Thinning in the machine
11. If you haven’t already, cut the dough into manageable sized pieces.
12. Set the rollers of the machine to the widest setting (mine is a 7). Press one of the balls of dough into a rough rectangle and run it through the machine.
13. Fold piece to half its length and roll through again. Repeat 7 times. You will notice how silky and stretchy the pasta becomes.
14. Next, run it through the next setting down (mine is 6). Don’t fold it this time.
15. Continue to run the dough through each of the lower settings until it remains at the narrowest opening (mind is a 1)
*Please note – for filled pasta like tortellini or ravioli only thin to the second last opening.
Cutting into pasta
16. Depending on what pasta you are wanting to make, you are now ready to cut it into shape.
17. Your pasta machine should have a double set of cutters – one for fettuccine or tagliolini. Otherwise you can cut by hand into pappardelle or tagliatelle.
18. Or leave as is for lasagne sheets or ready to fill for tortellini or ravioli.
19. I’ve had no issues with freezing the pasta at this stage and cooking from frozen. For cut pastas, spread out on a baking tray and freeze until just hard. Then transfer into a snap lock bag.
20. To reheat, make sure you have a large pot of boiling salted water ready before removing pasta from the freezer and plunging straight into the water.