Learn how to make pasta with my simple guide just using a rolling pin without buying or using a pasta maker. In just 10 minutes of work, you will have delicious homemade pasta to enjoy with your loved ones, like a proper Italian family.
Don't be scared to use a rolling pin to make homemade pasta, it's really simple and once you have learned to use it you will not go back to buy pasta from the store. Additionally, it's a great workout for your arm and legs. My gramma is 84 years old and still does the job!
Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy to make
- Inexpensive recipe
- A fun activity to make with your family
- Great for stockpiling pasta for unexpected guests
I remember watching my mum creating just from flour and eggs a beautiful and smooth golden dough to a thin circle, ready to be cut into fettuccine. It was my Sunday morning show! It's a great way to entertain your guest while chatting and sipping some Italian red wine (maybe Barbaresco) or involve them in the making. They'll love it!
EQUIPMENT YOU'LL NEED
To obtain a thin sheet pastry, you'll need a rolling pin or Mattarello as Italians call it. It's should be long enough to stretch and extend the dough. My one is 56 cm long excluding the handle. However, if you don't find the specific one divide the dough into three sections and roll each dough separately. Make sure to cover the doughs while rolling one of them to keep it humid.
In Italy, the surface used to roll up the dough is a large wooden pastry board. The wood gives the dough a particular "roughness" which gives the characteristic of "absorbing" the sauce better because it is more porous. However, any kind of surface will work fine.
The traditional recipe of homemade pasta has just two ingredients: flour and eggs and nothing else. The general ratio is 1 egg for every 100 gr of flour. Moreover, the choice of the right ingredients is crucial to obtaining a quality product.
Flour- not all flours are ideal for making pasta at home, for this matter is important to choose the right flour. In my experience, and what I have learned from the pasta makers in Emilia Romagna, the ideal flour is called 'Calibrata'. 'Calibrata' flour is made from a soft wheat flour type "00", has low protein usually under 10%, and is low in gluten. This flour keeps its natural yellow coloring, typical of homemade pasta without turning grey. The pastry develops coarse and, therefore, retains better the sauce and withstands cooking and double cooking well. For this matter, I suggest you look for flour that is specific for making pasta. If not available a "00" will work just fine.
Eggs- use medium eggs at room temperature. Prefer free-range or organic eggs.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTION*
*Note: this is just a quick introduction. Please read the recipe card for the full instructions.
When kneading it is very important to learn to "feel" the dough in your hands. This will help you to understand if the dough is enough soft but not sticky or if it's too dry that it tears up when you roll it out. This is why I suggest you work the dough by hand to sense the true nature of the dough. The right consistency should be soft as your palm thenar eminence.
Make the dough by hand
Place on a wood pastry board the flour and make a volcano shape, in the center place the eggs, and with the help of a fork start to beat them gently. Once the eggs are scrambled start to incorporate the flour little by little until the flour has absorbed all the eggs. Work the dough until you have a sort of a smooth ball. Don't worry if the ball looks a bit uneven and slightly scratchy, it will turn smooth and silky after some rest.
Place the dough in a bowl covered with a plate at room temperature. Leave the dough to rest for 1 hour, this will relax the gluten so it will be easy to stretch thinly the dough. If you are in rush you can cut the time by 30 minutes.
Roll the dough
Squash the dough with your hand gently and then place the dough over a lightly floured surface. Lay the rolling pin* over the dough, start just before the center, and roll out the dough. Turn the dough at a 90° angle and roll again. Repeat for each side. You should be left with a ball in the center.
*Tip: if you do not have a long Rolling pin, don't panic, you can divide the dough into more sections and roll each one separately.
Gradually, roll the ball outwards, this will help to have a beautiful round dough sheet. Once the ball in the center has disappeared, we can start to pull the dough.
Place the dough over the rolling pin and gently start to pull outwards with one hand while keeping the dough still with the other one. Now place both hands on the rolling pin and at the same time pull and expand the sides of the dough with the hands. Dust the dough with some flour if is starting to stick. Keep doing on each side until thin* enough.
*Tip: it is ready when putting your hand under the sheet against the light you will see your hand or as people from Emilia region would say "until you put it against San Luca and you can see it".
In Italy, there is around 300 type of pasta, so crazy, isn't it! Here you can find my suggestions on how to make some of them.
To obtain long pasta once the dough sheet is ready, place a bit of flour on its top, roll it upon itself, and cut the desired type. Every type of pasta has a different thickness:
- Tagliatelle 6/7 mm
- Tagliolini ⅔ mm
- Pappardelle 1,5 mm
Make a sort of nest with each section of pasta and sprinkle some flour on top to prevent sticking to each other.
- Lasagna sheet 6x18 cm
To make filled pasta:
- Raviolo- two squares of 5x5cm.
- Cappelletto- square of 4x4 cm them fold it.
- Agnolotti- two squares of 2x2 cm.
- Tortellini- square of 3x3 cm then fold it.
Tips: Don't throw away the leftover from the dough, you can cut it to obtain Martagliati. Martagliati is an irregular cut shape that can be used with any kind of sauce, also are delicious in soups or broth.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why my dough is hard?
This happened when you have used eggs of different sizes or more flour than requires. Try adding some water at room temperature to the dough.
Why did my dough dry up?
The dough has dried because it wasn't covered properly. This will create a crust that prevents the dough from being elastic and it'll break. However, the temperature of the kitchen will affect the dough too. I don't recommend working in a room too warm.
How to cook pasta?
Bring a large pot of water to boil and when the water is boiling add some Coarse salt and then add the pasta. The pasta should be ready when will float to the pot.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, of course. Once you have cut all the pasta, place it on the tray and leave it in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then remove it and place it in the freezer bag and back to the freezer. It can stay up to 2 months. When you need to use it, just place the pasta from the freezer directly into the boiling water.
Can be made ahead?
Yes, of course. You can certainly prepare the dough the day before and roll the pasta the next day. Just make sure to store the dough in an airtight container in the fridge or wrapped with cling film. The dough fears the air.
How to make pasta
- Rolling pin 56 cm long
- 300 gr Flour pasta flour
- 3 medium eggs room temperature
- Place on a wood pastry board the flour and make a volcano shape. The center hole must be big enough to contain the eggs.
- Place the eggs inside the hole. With the help of a fork start to beat them gently making sure they don't fall out of the hole. Once the eggs are scrambled start to incorporate the flour little by little until the flour has absorbed all the eggs.
- Work the dough with the palm of your hand, pushing it forward and back. Work until you'll obtain a sort of smooth dough. Don't worry if the ball looks a bit uneven and slightly scratchy after some rest, it will turn smooth and silky. It'll not take more than 10 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl covered with a plate at room temperture to rest.
- After 1 hour or 30 minutes, we can start to stretch the pasta dough. If you do not have a long rolling pin, don't panic, you can divide the pasta into three sections and roll each one separately.
- Squash the dough with your hand gently and then place the dough over a lightly floured surface. Lay the rolling pin over the dough, start just before the center, and roll out the dough. Turn the pasta dough at a 90° angle and roll again. Repeat for each side. You should be left with a ball in the center. Gradually, roll the ball outwards, this will help to have a beautiful round pasta sheet. Once the ball in the center is disappeared, we can start to pull the dough.
- Place the dough over the rolling pin and gently start to pull outwards with one hand while keeping the dough still with the other one. Now place both hands on the rolling pin and at the same time pull and expand the sides of the dough with the hands. Dust the dough with some flour if is starting to stick. Keep doing on each side until thin enough. It is ready when putting your hand under the sheet against the light you will see your hand.
- Cut the pasta into the desired shape. For long pasta :Tagliatelle 6/7 mm, Tagliolini ⅔ mm, Pappardelle 1,5 mm. Once the pasta is thin enough, sprinkle the flour on top and roll up the dough. Make a sort of nest with each section of pasta and sprinkle some flour on top to prevent sticking to each other. For Lasagna:Lasagna sheet 6x18 cm. For filled pasta: Raviolo- two squares of 5x5cm. Cappelletto- square of 4x4 cm. Agnolotti- two squares of 2x2 cm.Tortellini- square of 3x3 cm.
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Such a lovely recipe. You’ve explained the steps so well.
I just love making pasta! Thank you so much for this informative post
I wanted to try making homemade pasta and thanks to all your suggestions I did it! It turns out amazing, thanks for sharing this great recipe
Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, it was super easy to make homemade pasta with the rolling pin!
My nonna always made pasta like you by hand. I always love it. I, on the other hand, always used the machine, easy and fast. After reading your recipe I decided to give it a try by hand. Not only did it bring back the most amazing memories, but I loved how the pasta felt after rolling it on the wooden board. The sauce stuck better to it. Thank you!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful memory! Yes, the sauce stuck so much better with homemade pasta.