CASA GRANDE — Few things are as deliciously satisfying as a serving of homemade pasta. Soft, versatile and delicious, homemade pasta is easy to make and inexpensive.
For little more than the cost of a few cups of flour and a few eggs, homemade pasta can be made easily at home without any specialty equipment, although a stand mixer and pasta roller make the job a lot easier.
I began making homemade pasta years ago for fun because I wanted to add a nice, dense noodle to a homemade chicken noodle soup. For years, I made the noodles by hand, using a rolling pin to roll the dough until it was the right thickness.
Now I use a stand mixer and pasta roller, which makes the job easier.
But whether making it by hand or using a stand mixer, homemade pasta involves plenty of hands-on work, including several minutes of kneading and hand rolling, which makes the job fun, relaxing and rewarding.
And while it’s inexpensive, making homemade pasta is a bit like making homemade bread. The benefit isn’t in the cost savings, it’s in the quality and the love of homemade goodness or the love of pasta.
Pasta, like bread, has existed for centuries in one form or another.
Historians believe that the origins of pasta date back to 1700 BC, when it was made in China with wheat and rice flour.
Just about any type of flour can be used to make homemade pasta, although the key is to use a variety with some gluten to hold the dough together.
Serious pasta makers tend to use semolina durum wheat flour or specialty blends designed specifically for pasta making. They tend to be high in proteins and gluten, which helps to make a dough that is easy to work with.
But a regular all-purpose flour works nicely for a great batch of pasta as well — and it’s easy to find and inexpensive to buy.
Types of flour that don’t work too well in pasta making are cake flour and bread flour, because their gluten levels can make the flour a bit too sticky to work with.
And while eggs help to give homemade pasta its color and texture as well as its puffiness when it cooks, a really good vegan pasta can be made without eggs.
Vegan or egg-free pasta cooks up a bit more quickly and can be lighter and fluffier than egg-based pasta.
Whether it’s the vegan version or the egg-based version, homemade pasta can be paired with a favorite sauce, added to a soup or used in a variety of ways. Dense, egg-based noodles are a great base for a homemade beef stroganoff.
One of my family’s favorite uses for homemade pasta is to mix the noodles with a bit of homemade peanut sauce and top it with a bit of chicken for a delicious peanut chicken and noodles dish.
Homemade pasta noodles are great on their own too, with just a bit of butter, Tuscan herb seasoned-salt and a sprinkle of fresh Parmesan cheese — yum.
Simple homemade pasta
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt, preferably a homemade Tuscan herb-seasoned salt
1 teapsoon olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and mix on low until ingredients are thoroughly mixed. If mixing by hand, place flour on a plate and make a well in the center of the flour. Add eggs, olive oil and salt to the well and use a fork to break the eggs and incorporate the wet mixture into the flour. After a while, it’s easier to use your hands to bring the dough together into a ball.
Knead the dough for about seven minutes until it’s smooth. Form the dough into a log shape and cut into four even pieces.
Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a thin oval or rectangular shape and run through the pasta roller three or four times, then cut to desired size. If doing by hand, roll the dough until it’s long and thin, turning the dough over several times and lightly dusting the work surface with flour if necessary.
When the dough is the desired thinness use a knife or pizza cutter to slice into individual noodles.
Pasta can be dried by laying on a baking sheet or on a cookie cooling rack.
To cook, place in salted boiling water and boil for a few minutes until soft and tender. Cooking time will depend on how thick or thin the pasta is.
Vegan homemade pasta
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
¾ cup water
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
Mix ingredients either in a stand mixer or by hand, ensuring the wet ingredients are thoroughly incorporated with the flour.
Once the dough comes together, knead it by hand for about seven minutes.
Allow to sit, covered, at room temperatures for about 30 minutes.
Roll and cut into desired shape.
When ready to cook, boil in salted water for about two minutes. Cooking time will depend on how thick or thin the pasta is.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.