Learning to Make Homemade Pasta from my Jewish Boyfriend’s Father
by Young Victorians
I’ve long been obsessed with homemade pasta. The texture and taste of a fresh pasta just can’t be matched by a dry pasta, no matter how much you spend. I assumed since I don’t have a charming Italian grandmother to pass down a family recipe, I’d never be able to make homemade pasta myself. That was until I was served homemade pasta at a non-Italian friend’s house. From then on, it was game-on.
Last Hanukkah, I gifted my parents the Marcato Atlas pasta maker. My sister and I spent the next few days in Spokane attempting to make pasta. We struggled with the pasta dough and found cranking and feeding the pasta maker to be a rigorous, two person job. While we ended up with delicious pasta, it was an all day affair.
I recently gifted myself the Kitchen Aid Pasta Excellence set–essentially a pasta maker where a stand mixer does all the manual work 🙂 Some may call it cheating, but I like to save arm exercises for the gym. While I no longer struggled manipulating the pasta maker, I stilled needed help with my pasta dough. It was either crumbling apart (too dry) or sticking to everything (too wet). My boyfriend suggested I consult his father, Lee, who had been experimenting with pasta for years. After all, who needs an Italian grandmother when your Jewish boyfriend’s father has mastered the art of pasta making?
Lee is a purist and only uses eggs and flour in his dough. His trick is to begin with the eggs rather than building a flour well. It is much easier to calibrate how much flour is required for the eggs rather than vice versa. In general, you will need one egg per person. After lightly beating the eggs, you then add the flour. Beginning with 3/4 cups of flour per egg, gradually stir in more flour and knead until the dough is no longer sticky to touch. When you reach this desired consistency, knead for 2-3 minutes, and then let the pasta dough rest in a ball for 20 minutes. From this point on, follow your pasta maker’s directions for rolling and cutting the dough. My only advise is don’t be afraid to add more flour throughout the process if your dough is still the least bit sticky; otherwise, when you cut the pasta, it will curl up.
Lee taught me so well that I was able to serve homemade pasta at our last dinner party and our guests were impressed. Who wouldn’t appreciate homemade pasta at a dinner party? The sauces were also winners, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for those recipes.
Thanks again Lee (and Cynthia) for sharing with me the secret to hassle free, delicious homemade pasta. I have a feeling this is a recipe I’ll be making on a weekly basis for many years to come.
(photos by juliette and my handsome boyfriend)