How to make pasta couldn’t be any simpler: ground wheat and water mixed.
Fresh homemade pasta can be made from soft wheat flour or durum wheat semolina. Occasionally they could be mixed. When mentioning homemade fresh pasta, it’s mostly referred to flour mixed with eggs. It’s the pasta cut into ribbons or with filling shaped into tortellini, cappelletti, ravioli, agnolotti and others.
Fresh egg pasta, is much more popular in the north of Italy. It’s roughly one egg for every 100 grams of flour, 3 and a 1/ 2 ounces. Seldom addition of water is needed to mix the dough. The process is simple.
How to make pasta in 3 simple steps
1 – In the middle of the flour hill, you open a well, which you make large enough to accommodate the eggs.
2 – Using a fork, you beat the eggs in the center of the well and incorporate the flour from the rims little by little. By doing so, the circle of flour eventually collapses.
3 -Then you can start using your hands and knead.
That’s how to make pasta.
The pasta dough is then worked on a flat surface or board (spianatoia in Italian) using a roller pin. This method is still alive, but the convenience of a pasta machine is taking over. With the roller pin, the dough is worked gradually to a very thin sheet (sfoglia in Italian). The sheet of pasta can then be rolled and cut in thin strips to make fettuccine or tagliatelle. For the wider cut of pappardelle and lasagne, it’s open flat.
Using a modern pasta machine, with various attachments, you can make several types of ribbon pasta.
For stuffed pasta, most common shapes are square and round. The filling is deposited on the shape chosen and either covered and sealed by hand or better with a stamp.
Tortelini are made with circles of dough about 3 inches wide. Filling is placed in the center, dough folded over, pressed down so it seals. To shape into tortellini, the folded piece is wrapped around a finger, index generally; the two corners are pressed together and sealed. Last, the top edge sticking up is pressed down.
When making your own tortellini, to make seals stick, use one egg (or more) mixed with a little water and apply on the edges either using your finger or a brush. Of course, commercially the process is made by industrial machines.
In the south they prefer fresh pasta made with semolina from durum wheat. The process is the same as in the fresh pasta of the north. Only in place of eggs, semolina is mixed with just water.
Many shapes can be made quickly by hand. Most popular are orecchiette and cavatelli, but your imagination is the limit. Both the homemade fresh pastas the one made from flour and the one from semolina can be found in stores. But you won’t find too many choices of shapes and brands.
The big difference is in the freshness of the product and in the satisfaction of the homemaker in creating her own; not counting the best property: taste. Fresh homemade egg pasta is generally done and eaten the same day. Because of the eggs, shelf life is short. Even when dried, it shouldn’t be kept longer than a few days.
Industrial egg pasta has a longer shelf life. But you can imagine for that to happen pasta has to be subject to some treatment. It certainly doesn’t have the same number of eggs of homemade pasta either. If pasta if stuffed like in tortellini, ravioli, shelf life is even shorter. In fact, stuffed fresh pasta is kept refrigerated and even frozen.
In the south they prefer fresh pasta made with semolina from durum wheat. The process is the same as in the fresh pasta of the north. Only in place of eggs, semolina is mixed with water. Many shapes can be made quickly by hand. Most popular are orecchiette and cavatelli, but your imagination is the limit.
Watch how to make pasta easily with the simple techniques shown in this video below, no pasta machine needed. No need to understand Italian. Just look.
When you make your own pasta, you’ll have a better understanding why for Italians the everyday pasta comes from packages of dried pasta. They are practical, they can be stored almost indefinitely, they come in more shapes, they are from durum wheat, richer in proteins, they are even cheaper and the quality is great.
Home made fresh pasta in Italy is for a change or a treat. It can be especially a laborious process for stuffed pasta. How to make pasta itself is not difficult, but for the time that it takes, it’s an out of the ordinary occurrence, reserved for special or festive occasions.