I started rolling pasta dough around age 4 or 5. I have very distinct memories of my great grandma GiGi and my aunt working so many eggs into a giant well of flour, to create a dough, that I would then be allowed to “roll into snakes.” It was one of my most favorite days when we made pasta dough. Unfortunately, I lost my great grandmother not too many years later and thus, my pasta making education ended and left me only as an experienced “snake maker!”
Many decades later, another family member inspired me to revisit pasta making. My youngest brother in law gifted me a pasta roller. That did it- I was hooked. Hard core. I dove right in and I haven’t looked back. I am full on obsessed, and year after year, the obsession grows stronger, and deeper.
I never stop watching videos, reading recipes, taking classes. When I can’t sleep, I think about ravioli fillings and pasta shapes and reflecting on the last dough batch. I think I would reach a true peak of happiness if I could just make pasta all day, every day.
Making pasta is equal parts science and soul.
I can’t teach you how to cook with soul, but I can give you this tip. You can’t make pasta when you are angry- the pasta knows and it just won’t work. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true. You need to clear your mind, focus only on the dough, and let yourself become one with it for the duration of the time it takes to create it, and bring it to life. It’s basically food yoga.
As far as the science part, there is of course the basic recipe. But in addition to following the recipe, it’s also helpful to understand how temperature of the room, humidity of the room, egg weight, egg liquid density (fresher eggs have denser whites), flour density differences, and even temperature of your work surface. These are the elements that drive my obsession because the more you understand each one of these components, the more refined your dough becomes.
All that said, it still takes a basic recipe and you don’t really need to know much more than that. The details I just mentioned take it to a whole other level but all you really need is a good recipe. After much research and many, many balls of dough, this is my pasta dough recipe.
- 225 grams Double 00 flour
- 75 grams semolina flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- .5 tsp olive oil
- Pinch of salt (optional, controversial, but your choice)
Note: If the pasta is still dry after adding all the eggs, it could be because of the size of your eggs vs the size of my eggs. Just add a teaspoon of water at a time until you get the right consistency.
After many batches using the traditional “well method” and then moving to the kitchen aid approach for a time, I discovered using a food processor makes the best pasta dough (for me). The video above shows you how I make it.
Pasta dough is very forgiving. You really can’t mess it up too easily, but patience is required and some basic knowledge that the humidity level, the temperature of a room, the size & weight of the eggs, etc. all influence how the dough decides to behave on any given day. But it will come together- you just have to use a little judgment and trust yourself. If it’s too dry, just add another egg yolk, or/and a teaspoon of water at a time. If you are using the food processor and if it’s not coming together in the perfect ball, just dump it on a board and knead it. You can do it!