how to: make homemade pasta

Fresh Pasta NestsIt’s homemade pasta time!

For Christmas this year, I was lucky enough to receive a Marcato Atlas pasta machine and an artisan pasta cookbook.  I tried it out almost immediately, and was amazed at how easy the pasta really was to make.  So far I haven’t tried anything too crazy – just linguine and lasagna sheets – but the book has recipes for all different kinds of dough that I can’t wait to make.  While sheeting out all of the dough takes some time, the process itself couldn’t be simpler, and one batch of pasta makes enough for us to enjoy for a long time.

*To view the recipe without pictures, click “Print This” at the top of the page.


  • 1/2 lb (8 oz.) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 lb (8 oz.) semolina flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2-3 tbsp. tepid water


Pasta Tutorial 1In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and semolina flours until well combined.

Pasta Tutorial 2Form a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolks and water.  Using a fork, stir together until shaggy and mostly combined.  At that point, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and continue kneading to incorporate the flour by hand.  When the flour is fully mixed, knead vigorously for about 5-10 minutes, until the dough has formed a smooth ball.

Pasta Tutorial 3Shape the dough into a smooth ball and cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel.  Allow to rest for 30 minutes.

Pasta Tutorial 7Once your dough has rested, divide it into 5 equal portions.  Work with 1 portion at a time, keeping the others covered with the damp kitchen towel.  Taking your first portion, stretch it by hand into a rough rectangular shape.  Set your pasta maker to the 2nd thickest setting (a “1” on the Atlas) and feed the dough through the machine.

Pasta Tutorial 4After running the dough through the machine, fold it into thirds as above.  Use your fingertips to press the dough together.  Sprinkle lightly with flour as needed.

Pasta Tutorial 5Turn the crank to the thickest setting (a “0” on the Atlas).  Run the dough through the machine, folded end first (as shown above).  Repeat the folding and sheeting on the thickest setting (I usually do this a total of 3 times).  Working the dough through the roller helps develop the gluten and smooth out the consistency.  You’ll notice at the beginning that the dough has a grainy texture from the semolina; by the time you’re finished it will be completely smooth.

Pasta Tutorial 6Turn the rollers to the next thinnest setting and run the sheet through again.  Continue rolling out the pasta, moving through the settings one at a time.  Don’t skip any settings, as this continues to work the dough and fully develop the gluten.  As you move up in the settings, the dough will get longer; when it gets too long to handle you can cut it in half and work with one piece at a time.  I usually do this after setting 3, and again after setting 6; you can do whatever you’re comfortable with.

Continue rolling out the pasta until the sheets are the desired thickness.  On the Atlas, I go to an 8 (1 step below the thinnest setting) for cut pasta and a 6 for lasagna sheets.

Pasta Tutorial 8After the sheets are rolled to the desired thickness, lay them out on a lightly floured surface (I find that semolina works better for this than all-purpose).  Wax paper works great.  Try to keep the sheets from touching, as they will stick together.  Repeat the process using the remaining portions of dough.

Fresh Pasta NestsIf you’d like to make a cut pasta, allow the sheets to dry briefly, about 15 minutes.  Run the sheets one at a time through the cutter.  At this point, you can dry the cut pasta with a drying rack (or just laid out on a lightly floured surface) or you can shape the pasta into nests.  The nests can be dried, but I think you really run the risk of them getting moldy because it’s hard to make sure all of the moisture is out of them.  I find it much easier to just throw the nests in the freezer after they’ve dried on the counter for an hour or so.

To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the desired amount of pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Fresh pasta requires very little time to cook, so watch it carefully!  The time should remain the same even if the pasta is frozen.  Drain and top with your favorite sauce.  Enjoy!

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  2. […] In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and salt.  Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs and olive oil.  With a fork, whisk together the eggs and oil, gradually drawing in flour.  Continue stirring until the flour is incorporated.  Turn the dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and begin kneading the dough.  Continue kneading by hand for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and silky.  Cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 30 minutes.  Once rested, divide the dough into 4 equal parts.  Use a pasta roller to stretch the dough, 1 piece at a time, into thin sheets (I went to a #6 on my Atlas machine, 1 number thicker than I would go for cut pasta).  For detailed steps on how to roll homemade pasta dough, see this tutorial. […]

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