Fresh egg pasta

Serves: 6

600 g Tipo '00' flour
6 large eggs, beaten

Tip: Tipo '00' flour is a very finely sieved flour that is typically used in Italy for making egg pasta. Most UK supermarkets now stock it and it will give your pasta a better texture.

Preparation method
Making pasta can get a little messy and it's best to clear some space on a clean kitchen table or large work surface so you can work the pasta on a flat surface. If you don't have the space to work the pasta on a flat surface, you can use a bowl.

First off, mound the flour on a board, flat surface or in a bowl and then make a well in the centre. Place the beaten eggs in the well and then, using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour. It's best to do this by drawing small amounts of flour into the central well until everything is combined.

Now knead the pieces of dough together until you obtain a smooth lump of dough. At this point, you need to continue to work the dough to stretch out the gluten fibres - you want to get a smooth and silky dough. This will take a little time but will give you a firmer pasta that isn't soggy when cooked. When your dough is ready, wrap it in clingfilm and rest it in the fridge for around 30 minutes before rolling.

Rolling the pasta is much easier if you have a pasta machine. However, you can still obtain excellent pasta if all you have is a rolling pin and determination.

With a pasta machine:
Be sure to firmly clamp your machine to the work surface (they normally come supplied with a clamp) and dust your space with some flour to prevent the rolled pasta from sticking. Separate the dough into lumps around the size of a large orange and press it flat between your hands. Dust the dough lightly with flour and, with the machine at the widest setting, roll it through the rollers. Click the machine down a setting and roll the dough through the machine again. Next, fold the dough in half and roll the pasta through the machine on the widest setting again and then at the next setting down. Repeat this process another three times to achieve a smooth and silky pasta.

With the dough fully worked you can start to roll it out thinly. To do this, simply lightly dust the dough with flour and roll it through the machine through all the settings. Then fold it to obtain a rectangle and run it through the machine again from the widest setting down to your desired thickness (typically the thickness of a beer mat for lasagna and down to the thinnest setting for ravioli).

Without a pasta machine:
There's no easy way to do this - it simply involves you manually rolling the dough with a rolling pin until you achieve the desired thickness. It is usually easier to work with slightly smaller lumps of dough and you will need a large surface (e.g., a table) so that you can roll the strip out. Remember to fold and roll the dough a few times when you initially start to roll the pasta out so that you achieve a silky texture.

Rolled pasta dries quite quickly so it's best to cut it straight away for your recipe, e.g., into ribbons, ravioli squares, lasagna sheets, etc.

Want to learn how to make pasta with the pros? Check out our cooking classes in Rome and Florence.

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