|Making Pasta Dough|
Making pasta dough is a simpler process than you may think. If you have an electric mixer , the process becomes even simpler than you may have even thought possible! The first and most important decision to make when beginning to make pasta dough is what type of grain you will use. Read through Flour to explore the wonderful world of flour!
1 To make this pasta dough, we used 3 cups semolina flour, 3 eggs, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and water as needed to moisten.
2 We used an electric mixer for this process, however, pasta dough can be made by hand quite easily. If you are using an electric mixer, pour the flour into the mixer's bowl.
To make dough by hand, place the amount of flour that the recipe dictates on a large, flat, non-porous surface. Make a well in the pile of flour with a spoon, your hand, or a large ladle and pour the eggs into the well. Use a fork to slowly mix the eggs into the flour. Once the eggs become incorporated into the flour, begin kneading . Continue kneading until the dough becomes very firm. If making dough by hand, skip to step 6 to continue with the process.
3 It is important to put the flour into the mixer's bowl before adding the eggs because if the wet ingredients are at the bottom of the bowl they will have a more difficult time incorporating into the flour than if they are on top of the flour. Begin to mix the flour and eggs together with the mixture set to a low to medium speed.
5 Once the dough has been mixed, notice that it is smooth textured, very firm, and somewhat dry. If the dough is even a little too wet, it will be sticky. If the dough is sticky, it will have problems when you attempt to run it through the pasta machine or hand roll it out. The dough should be just wet enough that the dough sticks to itself, but to nothing else.
6 If the dough does not feel dry enough, knead it by hand, adding semolina to the dough as you knead. Start by dusting a non-porous surface with semolina and place the dough on the dusted surface. Sprinkle some more of the semolina over the top of the dough, then knead the dough until it is smooth and very firm.
7 When you can set the dough on a clean countertop (without a dusting of flour underneath it) and trust that it wont stick, the dough is ready. Because of the size of the semolina grain, the dough may not be as smooth as it would be with a flour-based dough.
8 Portion the dough into the amounts you will need to make sheets of pasta. When beginning to learn to make noodles, the balls of dough should be relatively small in order to keep them manageable. We recommend forming the dough into tennis ball-sized balls of dough for the first time you make noodles. As you become more skilled at noodle-making, form larger balls of dough.
9 Wrap the pasta dough into an airtight plastic-wrapped ball. Set the dough in a clean, dry area. Let it sit at room temperature for about an hour to give the gluten inside the flour a chance to unwind. If the dough isn't given a chance to relax, it will be too tight to work with and will yield tough noodles.
Once your dough has had a chance to rest, unwrap it and make noodles . We have illustrated how to make a very basic pasta dough, if you would like to get more creative you can make any flavorful additions you'd like. Some people add spinach, basil, or sun-dried tomatoes to their pasta dough. Try this recipe for basil fettuccini if you are in the mood for experimenting with creative pasta!