When you visit an Italian restaurant that makes its own pasta, it's hard not to fall in love. Fresh pasta is so tender, so flavorful, and so satisfying that you may never want to eat dried pasta at home again. And you don't have to. Follow these tips to make restaurant-quality pasta at home.
1. Use a recipe that calls for plenty of yolks.
Before you make your own pasta, you need to find a recipe. You'll notice, when browsing the internet, that there is a wide range of recipes available and a lot of variety in those recipes. The best ones are going to be those that call for more egg yolks rather than whole eggs. For instance, a recipe that calls for two whole eggs and three yolks is going to be better than one that calls for four whole eggs. The yolk is the part of the egg that contains the fat — and the fat is essential for good pasta.
2. Mix your flours.
Most pasta recipes will tell you that you can use all-purpose flour only, or you can blend and combine semolina flour and all-purpose. It's worth taking a trip to the store for the semolina flour. It gives the pasta a better texture and a deeper, more earthy flavor.
3. Don't let the dough become sticky.
Most recipes will call for a range of flour amounts. For instance, yours may specify to use between 2 and 2 1/2 cups flour. The goal here is to add as much of that flour as is needed to make the dough non-sticky. If the dough is still sticky after you knead in the flour, you need more flour. Keep kneading it in a tablespoon at a time until the dough no longer sticks to your hands.
4. Make sure you knead enough.
Kneading pasta dough does take some energy and effort since the dough is so firm. But don't skimp on the kneading, or your pasta may fall apart in the water. If you get tired partway through, have a friend step in to help you or just take a break. Letting the dough sit for 30 seconds while your wrists recover won't hurt anything.
With the tips above, you can make your own pasta. Make sure you top the pasta with your favorite sauces and plenty of Parmesan cheese. And if you ever don't have time to make the dough, or find it to be a little more difficult than you had anticipated, you can always go to one of the local Italian restaurants.