Making fresh pasta is worth the effort. When done right, the taste and texture is full bodied and satisfying in a way that can only be outdone by the addition of a sauce to compliment it.
These days my grocery list is pasta flour (00 and semolina) and eggs over store bought pasta, always.
Getting a feel for the perfect dough and perfect noodle is a process of trial and error to be sure, but the investment of time pays off. The time you spend trouble shooting is the time you spend getting better at understanding the why behind the exercise: the nuances behind each step. Once you get a feel for it, I promise you these steps becomes muscle memory and routine over toil of time and energy.
At its most basic level, pasta dough is simply flour and egg.
For 2-4 people, a general rule of thumb is
- 2 cups (or 200g) pasta flour
- 2 eggs
TIP 1: I use both 00 and semolina flour for noodles, and in roughly a 3:1 ratio ( 1 1/2 cup 00, 1/2 cup semolina)
Tip 2: The size of the egg dictates how much flour you will need, and grocery store eggs are small. Meaning I never can get away with 2 full cups of flour per two grocery store eggs. Start with 1 1/2 cups of flour and incorporate in more as you go.
Tip 3: The dough should not be sticky. It should incorporate as much flour as possible while still remaining homogeneously smooth. This is also why its better to start with less flour and work your way up.
Tip 4: Invest in a pasta maker. It doesnt have to be a fancy kitchen aid attachment. I have an Imperia hand crank one and I see them at thrift stores all the time.
Tip 5: Let the dough sit for 30min – 1 hour, (covered in saran wrap), before passing through the pasta maker.
Tip 6: flatten dough ball out before passing it through the pasta maker to make your life easier. Pass the dough through the first setting a couple of times, folding it back on itself in between. This acts to smooth out any rough spots.
Tip 6: My pasta maker goes from 1-6 in thinning out the noodle sheet. I stop at 4 for a perfectly thick, full bodied noodle. (anything past 4 gets into thinner, egg noddle texture territory)
These are general tips, but let the repetition and the process be your real teacher.