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The base of any shape of course is a good recipe for fresh egg pasta. Here is an easy base recipe for gorgeous pasta noodles you can make at home and some classic shapes and sauces you can use for your culinary explorations. This egg pasta recipe works by hand, in a stand mixer, or with a food processor. See the directions below and become a pasta master!
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups semolina flour (or all-purpose flour, or "00" flour, or a combination)
- 1 tablespoon Nudo extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fine salt (sea salt)
- The method in a food processor Put all the pasta ingredients in your food processor using the normal blade attachment. Pulse for 10 seconds or till the mixture becomes crumbly.
- Remove the dough, forming it into a ball using your hands, and then place it on a countertop or a cutting board dusted with flour. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes, or till it's smooth and elastic. If the dough looks to be too dry, add a tablespoon of water. If it looks too wet or sticky, add in some extra flour. Overall, you do want your dough to be drier rather than moist.
- Make the dough into a ball again and wrap it in plastic wrap. Let the ball of dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes, then either use it or pop it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Roll out the dough into the shapes you want, either with your hands or using an Uno Casa or another pasta maker.
- Cook your pasta till al dente in salted water (about 1 to 5 minutes, depending on your pasta's thickness). Drain and serve with your favourite sauce.
- The method in a stand mixer Add all the pasta ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer using the dough hook. Next, knead the dough for 8 to 10 minutes at low speed till it is smooth and elastic. Adjust the texture of the dough with a bit more flour or water, if needed (see above).
- Continue as in step 3 above.
- The method by hand Make a mountain out of the flour on a cutting board, with a well in the middle. Add eggs, salt, and olive oil (in that order).
- With a fork, whisk the middle till combined. Gradually incorporate the flour into the centre till the mixture is nice and thick.
- Using your hands, form a ball with the dough, kneading it for 10 minutes or till smooth and elastic. Sprinkle in a bit of extra water or flour to adjust the consistency, if needed.
- Continue with step 3 as above.
Now that you've got a great recipe for fresh egg pasta, let's look at some of the different shapes you can try your hand at making. Among the very numerous different types of pasta shapes, there are a few main categories. Types of shaped or short pasta include macaroni, fusilli, orecchiette, penne, rigatoni, rotini, and many more. This pasta is excellent for catching the sauce and each shape has a specific use or recipe.
While in Italy each pasta has a specific recipe and use and it is blasphemy to mix and match, a rule of thumb for us mere mortals is to serve short pasta with thick and chunky sauces that have lots of veggies or meat. Long pasta types include pastas such as bucatini, fettucine, pappardelle, spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle, angel's hair and vermicelli. Thick long pasta like fettuccini works well with thick and chunky sauces, whereas thinner pasta is best with lighter sauces. Any long pasta goes well with a cream-based sauce. Sheet pasta comes in long, thin sheets and is perfect for lasagna and casseroles. Any sauce works with sheet pasta. The moisture from the cheese and sauce is usually enough to rehydrate the noodles without cooking them separately beforehand. Examples of filled pasta are ravioli, tortellini, manicotti, cannelloni, and jumbo shells. Filled pasta is perfect for any filling to your taste: cheese, vegetable, meat or other protein-based filling (think tofu or soy). Any sauce that complements your filling works with filled pasta, but drizzling with extra virgin olive oil or complementary flavoured olive oil is a delicious way to serve to focus on the rich filling and the art of handmade shapes.