Basic Pasta Dough
- about 1 pound or 4 portions
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 3 eggs
On a clean dry work surface, make a mound of the flour and, using your fingers, make a well in the center of the mound. Using a fork, break the shell of the eggs one by one and drop the eggs into the center of the well you made of the flour. With the fork, beat the eggs together. Again using the fork, slowly begin to fold the flour in towards the center of the well to incorporate the flour into the beaten eggs. As you mix the flour with the beaten eggs, it will begin to form a doughy mass. Work this mass using your fingers until it begins to lose its moist and sticky character.
When the mass begins to feel uniformly dry, begin to work the dough using both hands: kneading with the palms of both hands, pushing from the center of the ball of dough outwards and folding the near edge inwards to begin the kneading cycle again. The kneading stage should take about 10 minutes by hand.
After the dough has been fully kneaded, it is time to thin the dough into sheets suitable for cutting. A manual pasta machine works wonders at this stage. Cut the ball of dough into three equal pieces. Form these pieces, by hand, into equal rectangular shape to be passed through the rollers of the pasta machine. Set the cylindrical rollers at their widest opening, put a piece of dough in the space between rollers and crank the handle to pass the dough through. As the sheet of pasta comes out the bottom of the rollers it should be set on a dry cotton towel to rest while you begin on the next piece. Repeat the thinning process with the remaining pieces of pasta, thinning and then setting aside, consecutively so that each piece of pasta is equally rolled out. When all the pasta has passed through the first rolling stage, set the machine to the next setting to begin rolling the pasta thinner. Start the rolling process again, beginning with the first piece of dough and continue with the remaining pieces. As each is rolled thinner set it aside and continue onto the next.
As you return to the first piece of dough, set the cylinders one setting closer. Continue in this fashion until the pasta dough has been rolled out as thinly as possible.
As the sheets of dough rest, keep them on a cotton towel, to prevent sticking to the work surface. When they are all rolled out you are ready to cut the pasta into the desired shape. They can be cut using the cutting wheels of the rolling machine or by hand using a knife.
Copyright Michael Lomonaco 1997