Mixing, Rolling, and Cutting Pasta Dough
Making fresh homemade pasta is not at all difficult once you get the feel for it. You probably have all the ingredients and equipment already in your kitchen to mix a basic egg pasta dough and then roll it out and cut it by hand. More advanced equipment, such as a food processor, electric mixer dough hook, and a pasta machine (manual or electric) will make your work easier and more professional-looking but are not absolutely necessary to get started.
The mixing, rolling, and cutting instructions provided here are meant to be a guide to the various methods available to you depending on the type of equipment and recipe you are using. Pasta dough can be mixed and kneaded, and then refrigerated in a covered bowl overnight. Proceed by removing the dough from the
refrigerator about 1 hour before rolling it out. Pasta dough can also be frozen. Transfer the dough from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before and then bring it to room temperature before you roll it out.
MIXING THE DOUGH
Place the flour in a mound on a large flat surface.
Make a well in the center. Add any liquid ingredients and seasonings to the well. Beat liquid ingredients with a fork, and then gently work the flour into the liquid. Continue until most of the flour is incorporated. The mixture will become sticky and difficult to work with the fork. Use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Let the dough rest 10 minutes. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 balls, cover, and let rest 30 minutes.
Mixing the Dough by Hand
Mixing the Dough with a Food Processor
Insert the metal blade of the food processor. Place all of the ingredients in the bowl. Pulse until the mixture begins to come together and form a ball. Remove the dough and knead lightly until is smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 balls, cover, and let rest 30 minutes.
Mixing the Dough with an Electric Mixer Dough Hook
Place all the ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Beat about 5 minutes on medium speed. Occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl to release the dough. When the dough forms a ball around the dough hook, remove it from the bowl. Divide the dough into 3 or 4 balls, cover, and let rest 30 minutes.
ROLLING OUT THE DOUGH
Rolling Out the Dough by Hand
Dust a clean surface lightly with flour. Put 1 ball of dough on the surface, keep the other dough covered. With a rolling pin, begin to flatten the ball out from the center to the outer edge.
With each roll, rotate the dough one-quarter turn to keep it in an even circle. Flip the dough over once or twice and dust it with flour to prevent sticking. Roll out the dough to about 1/16 inch thick or desired thickness, depending on the type of pasta you are making. Place the sheets of dough on a lightly floured surface.
Rolling Out the Dough with a Pasta Machine
Work with one baseball-size piece of dough at a time; keep the others covered. Slightly flatten the dough by hand.
Put it through the rollers of the pasta machine on the widest setting. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed.
Reduce the space between the rollers by 1 or 2 settings.
It is not necessary to put the rolled out dough through each setting. Skip every other one. The sheets will become thinner and longer. Cut them in half crosswise for easier handling. Roll the dough until it is the desired thickness for your recipe. Place the sheets of dough on a lightly floured surface or pasta drying rack.
CUTTING THE DOUGH SHEETS INTO STRANDS
Cutting the Dough by Hand
Roll each sheet of pasta into a flat jellyroll shape. Use a sharp knife to cut through the roll into the desired width of your strands. Shake the strands out and place the cut pieces over a wooden dowel, pasta drying rack, or on a floured towel. Let them stand uncovered 15-30 minutes before cooking or 3 to 4 hours to dry completely before storing.
Cutting the Dough with a Pasta Machine
Put the sheets of dough through the desired cutting rollers. Shake out the strands and place the cut pieces over a wooden dowel, pasta drying rack, or on a floured towel. Let stand as directed above.
STORING THE PREPARED PASTA
If you do not cook the fresh pasta within a few hours, dry it well and store it tightly in a covered container in a cool, dry place.
PASTA RECIPES > PASTA BASICS > MIXING, ROLLING, AND CUTTING PASTA DOUGH
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