Basic Pasta Dough

Fresh pasta is not the sort of thing that you make for two people. It is something definitely designed for a gathering – think the stereotypical Italian setting with three generations present. Try making this when you have an afternoon spare, and many spare hands around to help you out. 

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: Around 40 minutes, but dough can spend longer in the fridge


Ingredients

+ 400 g strong white bread flour
+ 4 eggs
+ pinch of salt
NOTE: These quantities are approximate, a good rule of thumb is to use 1 egg for every 100 g flour, and allow 100 g of flour per person.

Method

Shake the flour through a sieve to form a mound on a large clean board, or benchtop. Make a well in the centre, but not so deep as to expose the work surface. Break the eggs into the well and, using a fork, beat the eggs together until combined. Then, still with the fork, start incorporating some flour into the eggs, a little at a time, until the eggs aren’t runny any more. Do this using a whipping, or beating action – you are aiming to incorporate some air into the mixture. Unless you are superhuman, or an Italian Nonna, you will need to take turns doing this as it is a touch painful in the forearm.

Put the fork aside and get ready to use your hands. Push some of the flour to one side – the aim is to add just enough to stop the dough being too moist or sticky. Using your fingers, draw the mound in towards you and work the mixture with the palms of your hands, pushing it out again,. Continue in this way until the dough is well mixed. When you feel the dough is reaching the right consistency – that is, not too dry, nor too crumbly or sticky – form it into a ball and put it aside and scrape the work surface and your hands clean. Note – if the dough seems too dry, you may add a little warm water.

After washing your hands, dry them well. Now it is time to start kneading. Sprinkle some extra flour on the work surface, then place the ball of dough on it. Using the heel of one hand, press down and away from you, giving the dough an oval shape. Fold the oval in half with the other hand, and give it a half turn. Repeat the pressing away and folding process, and you will be kneading. When you have strongly kneaded the dough in this manner for about 8 minutes and you are starting to feel a pleasant warmth in your shoulders, the dough should be smooth and elastic. To check if it is ready, press it with the tip of your finger – if it springs back, it has reached the desired texture.

Wrap the pasta dough in cling wrap and let it rest for a minimum of 20 minutes at room temperature away from draughts – or for a maximum of 24 hours in the fridge.

Now the dough is ready to be rolled in a pasta machine, or shaped.

Original recipe from The Art of Pasta.

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