The Seven Rules of House-Made Pasta
Long considered the holy grail of Italian cooking, house-made pasta adds nuance and layers of flavor that will bring your dishes to a whole new level. It’s also fast, taking only 2-4 minutes to cook, making it ideal for busy kitchens. Compared to dry pasta which takes closer to 10-15 minutes it’s a no-brainer. Fresh pasta is the way to go. We break down the best way to make your own and rules to live by when making fresh pasta.
Basic Pasta Dough
With this simple combination of ingredients, you can go on to create a limitless number of interpretations. Play around with new shapes, flavors and colors that will make your pasta distinct unto itself, and a signature of your establishment. This versatile dough can be used to make anything from ravioli to lasagna sheets.
Scale up or down depending on your needs.
- 500g 00 flour
- 400-450g egg yolks
Pour your flour out onto your work surface in a large heap, using your hand make a well in the center and add your eggs. Use your hands to incorporate the flour into the egg yolks until you have a homogenous mass. Continue to mix until you have a smooth ball. At this point, the pasta needs to rest, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for an hour before rolling out your dough.
1. Easy on the Flour
When rolling out your dough the most important thing is to be conscious of how much extra flour your using. When you created that smooth ball of dough it was at the perfect hydration, but the more flour you use the drier your pasta will be. Only use a sparing amount, just enough to roll out your dough without it tearing.
When your rolling your pasta, be mindful of creasing, especially if you’re using a machine. If you allow the dough to roll over onto itself and crease it will have trouble sealing later, that can be especially detrimental if you’re making a stuffed pasta like ravioli.
3. Drying Time
After you’ve finished creating your pasta allow it to dry. In a busy kitchen where space is at a premium, this might scare you, but don’t worry, allowing your pasta to dry for a measly 10-15 minutes is plenty of time and gives your pasta a little “bite.”
Speed is of the essence in a commercial kitchen, especially during service. Do yourself and your team a favor by pre-portioning your pasta. If making spaghetti or fettuccine or some long noodle. Simply loop them once around your hand to make a neat little circle and nest them side-by-side on a parchment lined sheet pan.
When you’ve finished rolling and portioning your pasta always be sure to freeze it. This allows you to make massive quantities in advance and helps your pasta to dry out a little more. Pasta can be made a week in advance.
This probably goes without saying, but never add salt to your water before it reaches a boil. It takes the water longer to come to temperature, and I’m pretty sure we already mentioned what a precious commodity time was in the kitchen.
Once your ready to cook, add the frozen pasta straight to your boiling, salted water. Cook smaller noodles for 2-3 minutes and larger or filled pasta for 4-5 minutes.
One of the most important elements of a good dish, right alongside taste is texture. And pasta, when made correctly, has amazing texture. When you have cooked your pasta perfectly, not so long that it is a sticky, flaccid string, but where the noodle still retains some integrity and has a slight chew they call it “al dente,” which is always what you should aim for.
Following these seven simple steps will guarantee success when making pasta, and the ability to tell your guests that they will be enjoying fresh house-made pasta this evening will have them coming back again and again.
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