Handmade Pasta

Really want to impress your guests? Roll out your own noodles for a super-special pasta dinner.


+ enlarge image Don't worry about imperfect noodles -- it's part of the homemade charm.

This is one of those recipes whose joy is as much in the mixing, kneading, and rolling as it is in the delight you and your family share when you finally sit down to eat it.

These noodles -- enriched by egg yolks -- taste great with extra virgin olive oil, a shower of herbs, Parmesan cheese, and a quick tomato sauce. Make vinaigrette with shallots, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, basil oil, salt, and pepper, and toss in whatever's in season: zucchini, roasted peppers, or vine-ripe tomatoes.

Handmade Pasta

+ enlarge image Step 1.

1. Mix. Make a large well or the ingredients will run out over the counter. Stop mixing as soon as the ingredients come together into a ball, or the dough will be tough. If the dough seems wet, add flour at the next stage as you knead.

+ enlarge image Step 2.

2. Kneading. Push dough down with the heels of your hands, give it a quarter turn, fold, and do it again, for about 10 minutes.

+ enlarge image Step 3.

3. Rolling. Patience is the key to successful rolling -- steady work will get the dough to about the thickness of a penny. To help the dough relax and soften, roll each time in a different direction. If the dough shrinks back when you roll, cover with plastic wrap and let rest about 10 minutes. To prevent noodles from getting too thin on the edges, ease up on the pin as you reach the edge of the dough.

+ enlarge image Step 4.

4. Slicing. After you roll up the dough, use a sharp, thin knife to cut noodles.

+ enlarge image Step 5.

5. Drying. Allow the noodles to dry slightly before cooking. Part of the charm is their irregularity.

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