It's true: Homemade noodles take more time to prepare than store-bought. But they reward cooks (and their lucky guests) with fresher, richer, better-tasting noodles to serve with all kinds of dishes -- pot roast, beef stroganoff, chicken and noodles, Swedish meatballs, braised meats, casseroles, and more.
Homemade American Noodles vs. Other Pastas
From the cellophane noodles of China to soba noodles in Japan to the scores of pasta shapes available in Italy, noodles come to the table in many countries around the world. What makes North American noodles (found in or served with classic comfort foods like chicken and noodles) different is that they are often enriched with egg or egg yolks. They can be cut long or short, thick or thin, but -- thanks to the egg quotient -- they're among the richest noodles around.
Rolling Pin or Pasta Machine?
The easiest way to get homemade noodles to the desired thickness (which is pretty thin!) is by passing the dough through a pasta machine. If you are nuts about homemade noodles, you might want to invest in a pasta machine. However, you can use a rolling pin instead. It just takes a little more work.
How to Make Noodles From Scratch
This recipe will make enough noodles for five servings.
1. Gather the Ingredients
- 2 to 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 egg yolks and 1 whole egg, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or olive oil
- All-purpose flour
2. Mix the Dough
- In a large bowl stir together 1-3/4 cups of the flour and the salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
- In a small bowl combine egg yolks and whole egg, the water, and oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring to combine.
Tip: The dough will be sticky at this point. That's OK; it will become smooth as you knead it.
3. Knead the Dough
- Sprinkle a clean kneading surface with the remaining flour. Turn dough out onto floured surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (8 to 10 minutes total).
Tip: To knead dough, fold the dough and then push it with the heel of your hand. Turn the dough and repeat folding and pushing until the dough reaches a smooth and elastic consistency.
- Cover the dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
Tip: You can make the dough in advance to this point. Transfer the dough to an airtight container; freeze up to 3 months. Thaw completely in the refrigerator, then continue with the next step.
4. Roll the Dough
- Divide the dough into four equal portions.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a 12x9-inch rectangle. (Or pass it through a pasta machine until 1/16 inch thick.)
- Dust both sides of the dough portions with additional flour.
- Let the dough stand, uncovered, about 20 minutes.
5. Cut the Noodles
- Loosely roll the dough into a spiral.
- Cut the spiral crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
- Unroll the strips to separate.
- Cut the strips into 2- to 3-inch lengths.
- At this point you can cook the noodles immediately, or dry and store them (see next steps).
6. To Store Cut Noodles
- Spread the noodles on a wire cooling rack.
- To store in the refrigerator: Let the noodles dry for 2 hours. Place in an airtight container and chill for up to 3 days.
- To freeze: Dry the noodles for at least 1 hour; place them in a freezer bag or freezer container and freeze for up to 8 months.
How to Cook Homemade Noodles
You can use homemade noodles whenever hot cooked noodles are called for. Here's how to cook them for serving and for adding to recipes:
- Fill a large pot with 3 quarts water. Bring the water to boiling; if desired, add 1 teaspoon salt.
- Add noodles a few at a time so the water does not stop boiling. (This also prevents the noodles from sticking together).
- Reduce the heat slightly and boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente (flexible but still slightly firm at the center).
Tip: Be sure to test often for doneness near the end of cooking time -- fresh noodles can go from stiff to perfect to overly soft in a matter of seconds.
- Drain the noodles in a colander, giving them a good shake to remove all the water.