When we were young men, we turned to boxed pasta and jarred sauce as a crutch. It was cheap, it was filling, it was hard to screw up, and, it was good enough.
But it's time to liberate pasta from the fallback of the less mature. To take back covering the starch in piles of flavors that cover its lackluster...uh, ness. In Italy, pasta courses are about the noodle, not the sauce. In fact, they refer to whatever get's mixed into the pasta as "a condiment" - just a little some extra to highlight the excellence of what's already there.
Done right, a good pasta dish doesn't need to be drowning in sauce. Done right - pasta stands on its on. If you've never made a flour volcano and dropped a bunch of eggs...now, my friends, is the time.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 whole eggs
- 5 egg yolks
- 2 tsp salt
1. Prepare the Surface
I used my wooden countertop for a wide open space to get a bit messy. Use a bowl if you're limited on space. If adventurous is more your speed, pile up the flour in a circle on parchment paper or a floured surface and create a small opening in the center. Sprinkle the salt over the top of the mound.
2. Add Eggs
Add all eggs and additional yolks into the center of the mound and start to slowly mix in the flour with a fork. Be sure to keep the edges high enough to avoid spilling the eggs outside of the mound. Incorporate the egg mix until the dough can be kneaded by hand. An alternative method is a a mixer with a dough hook, but there's something fun about kneading by hand that makes the process enjoyable.
3. Knead the Dough
Knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic. The consistency should feel similar to play-dough. If the mix is too sticky, add a bit of flour, if it's too dry, wet your hands to incorporate a bit of moisture.
4. Let it Rest
Once the dough feels right, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes to let the dough relax. It's an important step that makes the dough great to work with when rolling it out later.
5. Roll Out
Section the dough into 6 equal pieces with a sharp knife and on parchment paper or a floured surface, roll out the dough with a pin, flipping often to keep the thickness consistent. You can also use a pasta roller, but by hand is not difficult and requires no special equipment.
6. Roll and Slice
Once the dough is thin and almost translucent, flour both sides evenly and loosely roll lengthwise. slice the roll in 1/8" slices then unroll each slice for a long pasta noodle. Lay them flat and with a bit more flour circle into piles. You want them thicker? Cut them thicker. Boom. Customized.
7. Cook and Enjoy
At this point, toss the fresh pasta into a pot of boiling water and cook for about 1-2 minutes until the noodles are a perfect al dente. Alternatively, you can put the floured piles into a plastic bag and freeze or refrigerate to enjoy another day.
Switch it up with different sauces or meats for endless meals that will always leave you satisfied.