The Complete List of Everything You Need to Make Pasta at Home
Making homemade pasta is easy — as long as you have the right tools!
Recently, my brother decided he wanted to learn how to make fresh pasta for his wife. After a quick FaceTime call from his kitchen, we realized he was in need of a few tools for his new project. Because, while making pasta at home is much more simple than you think, it does require specific tools to get the job done. Whether you're looking to make long strands of pasta like spaghetti or linguini or short noodles like rigatoni or penne, you're going to need the right gadgets to get the job done. We've compiled a comprehensive list of the basics needed to become a pasta pro.
First, Here's What You Need to Make Pasta Dough
Once you get the hang of making pasta dough from scratch, you will no longer need to measure. Until then, it is helpful to measure your flour by weight as many pasta recipes will list egg quantity in relation to every 100 grams of flour.
Pasta dough can be made by hand using nothing more than a fork. However, if you want to save time or make larger batches of dough at a time, the food processor will be your new best friend.
If you don’t want to use a rolling pin, a pasta machine is another easy way to roll pasta dough into thin, workable sheets. These hand crank models allow you to move the dough through the machine at a speed you are comfortable with. They also give your dough an even thickness, every time.
This is the option for those of us with limited kitchen storage or counter space. If you have an electric stand mixer, this small attachment will allow you to roll and cut fresh pasta in a snap.
This tool is small but powerful! First, you can use a bench scraper when making fresh pasta by hand to fold the flour and eggs together. Next, you can use this tool to lift, portion and cut your pasta dough. Finally, you can use it to clean any remaining bits of flour off your countertop.
Next, You'll Need to Shape the Pasta Dough
If your favorite pasta is a short noodle like penne, rigatoni, or ditalini then an extruder is the tool for you! These tools squeeze pasta dough through small molds that create different shapes. Whether manual or electric, they work like a cookie press to craft consistent pieces of perfectly shaped pasta.
If long strands of pasta are your favorite, a drying rack will help you make the most of pasta night. Fresh pasta strands often stick together once cut. This tool prevents that by allowing pasta to dry comfortably without being stacked upon itself. Once dried, the pasta can be stored in an airtight container to be boiled in the future.
The level of hydration in fresh pasta dough is very important, especially because pasta hardens as it dries. To prevent the dough from drying out while you are working with it, keep it covered with a cotton towel or plastic wrap.
Everything You Need to Cook Pasta
Pasta is cooked in boiling, salted water. The heat from the water cooks the dough while the salt amplifies its flavor. To properly cook pasta, it must all be fully submerged in the cooking water. A pasta pot with insert makes it easy to quickly submerge all of the pasta and remove/strain it from the cooking water once al dente. Because the cooking water is left in the pot when the pasta is strained, it also makes it easy to reserve starchy pasta water to tighten your sauces.
Think of this tool like a mini colander. It shines when scooping shorter noodles (like rigatoni) out of cooking water and into a pot of sauce. You will also find it handy when you want to taste one small noodle to check for doneness.