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Basic Pasta Dough

makes 1 pound

"This yields enough fresh pasta to serve four as a first course pasta dish or two as a main course. Divided into 4 portions and rolled to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine, it can be used to make ravioli and other stuffed pastas. Rolled slightly thicker the sheets can be cut into varying widths, as follows: Tagliolini: 1/4 inch, Fettucine: 1/2 inch, Tagliatelle: 3/4 inch, Pappardelle: 1 1/2 inches"
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Mound 3 1/2 cups of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs and olive oil. (Trust me on this one, use a large bowl and make the well in there) Using a fork, beat together the eggs and oil and begin to incorporate the flour starting with the inner rim of the well.

As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape. Do not worry that this initial phase looks messy. The dough will come together when half the flour is incorporated.

Start out by kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. (you can probably knead this in a food processor but I prefer doing it by hand. Kneading dough by hand, is a satisfying taskthat I really enjoy doing) Once you have a cohesive e mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up and discard any leftover crusty bits. Lightly re-flour the board and continue kneading for 6 more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. Roll or shape as desired.

Note: Do not skip the kneading or resting portions for the dough. They are essential for light pasta.