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The Ultimate Guide to Making the Best Homemade Pasta

Fresh homemade pasta is light, and tender, and holds your favorite sauce perfectly!  The first time you make fresh pasta it can seem intimidating but it doesn’t have to be.  I have compiled the ultimate guide with everything you need to know about fresh pasta including easy step-by-step instructions for making whole egg pasta at home.  

A blue bowl of homemade pasta on a floral tablecloth.

Fresh pasta is one of the most delicious and enjoyable things you will ever eat. I warn you that once you have had freshly made pasta, you will be spoiled for life! 

Being Italian, I grew up on homemade pasta.  My grandmother and my mother made the best!  But I did not learn to make it until much later in life.  When I was younger, I wasn’t interested in making it, just eating it!

This Recipe Works

I have followed so many recipes for fresh pasta and tried several techniques.  Not all with great results, but through all my research and trial and error, I have found a recipe that works great every time.  

One of the most important things I have learned is that authentic Italian pasta is made with simple ingredients.  All you need is flour, eggs, water, and maybe salt.  

My recipe and tips will guide you to the pasta that tastes like my Italian grandmother made it. Nonna used to cook by feel, but until you can do this, I suggest using a kitchen scale to get the perfect balance of flour and liquid in your pasta.

In this guide, I’ll discuss the different types of fresh pasta popular in Italy, and the ingredients, and tools you need.  I will also share how to pair sauces with pasta shapes, storing and freezing recommendations, and finally how to cook it properly.  After all, if you are going to go to all the trouble to make homemade pasta, it should be cooked perfectly!

Types of Fresh Pasta

Different regions of Italy are known for the types and shapes of pasta popular in that area.  There are 3 pasta types in Italy, each suited to certain shapes.  

  1. Pasta all’uovo or pasta made with whole eggs and flour.  This is best used for longer pasta shapes like fettuccine and pappardelle or stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortelloni.  
  2. Pasta al tuorlo d’uovo or egg yolk pasta. Using only the egg yolk produces a stronger dough that is a little harder to knead but makes a rich silky pasta.  Use this for large noodle shapes.  But it is not a good choice for filled pasta as it can fall apart while cooking.
  3. Pasta Bianca or white pasta which is made without eggs.  In this type of pasta water replaces the egg so it has less protein.  This pasta is best used for shapes such as gnocchetti and orecchiette.  I do not recommend using this type of pasta for filled shapes as it will not hold up while cooking.

Ingredients You Need for Pasta all’ Uovo

Flour

Flour is the most important ingredient in making fresh pasta.  It provides the gluten the pasta needs to be both malleable and pliable.  The most authentic Italian recipes use Semolina flour or Tipo “00” Flour.  

  • Semolina is a hard durum wheat flour and is best in Pasta Bianca.  It is perfect for producing tubular shapes with rough grooves for holding sauces.
  • Tipo 00, is softer wheat flour milled to a fine powder.  This makes it ideal for more delicate pasta shapes such as tagliatelle and filled pasta like ravioli. It may be harder to find in grocery stores, but larger chains and Italian specialty stores are likely to carry it.    
  • All-purpose flour will also work well.   I have used all-purpose flour for pasta many times and it is a very good alternative.  The pasta dough will not be as soft as it would be with “00” flour, but it will still be good.  Do not use self-rising flour or any flour containing baking powder.  It impacts the texture of the pasta and you will not be happy with the results.

Large Eggs

Your eggs should be fresh and at room temperature to mix evenly and easily with the flour.​

​Salt

l don’t usually add salt to the pasta itself when I make it if I am pairing it with a sauce made with salty ingredients in it.  But you can absolutely add a pinch or two of salt if you like. 

Step By Step Instructions for Making Basic Pasta Dough

Tools:

To make pasta like Nonna you don’t need any special equipment.  All you need is a clean work surface, a fork, a rolling pin, a sharp knife, and your hands.  If you have a bench scraper it will come in handy!

Being a gadget lover, I use a hand crank pasta machine to roll out the dough. I also find that a kitchen scale is your best friend if you want perfect pasta every time.

Tip: 

The basic rule is to use 1 large egg for each 100 grams of flour. However I have found that eggs tend to be a bit different in size and weight even if they have the same label, so it is best to weigh the eggs as well as the flour.  You will need 62 grams of eggs for each 100 grams of flour.  It may be difficult to get an egg with that exact weight, so add a little water to make up the difference.   

Four photos of making homemade pasta dough.

Step 1 Make the Dough

  • Pour the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the center.  
  • Pour the eggs into the center of the flour.  
  • Using a fork begin to whisk the eggs slowly.  Then with the edge of the fork bring in a little flour at a time and continue to beat it into the eggs.  Do this until most of the flour has been incorporated into the eggs and you have a thick mixture.
  • Now use your hands to press the remaining flour into the mixture and form a ball of dough.  
Four photos showing how to knead pasta dough and testing to see if it bounces back.

Step 2 Knead the Dough

  • Clean your work surface of any flour or bits of dough that did not get absorbed into the dough.  Flour your work surface and start kneading the dough, using the palm and heel of your hand to push the dough down and away from you.  You should see the dough create a shell as you push forward with your hand.  
  • Give the dough a 1/4 turn fold it over on itself and repeat the kneading motion.  If the dough feels sticky, dust it with a bit of flour.  
  • Continue to knead the dough in this fashion for about 10 minutes.  The pasta dough should be soft and elastic with a smooth surface.  If the dough bounces back when you press down on it with your finger then you are done.  
  • Lightly flour the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and set it aside for at least 30 minutes and up to one hour.  The dough will soften a bit as it rests.
Four photos showing how to roll out pasta dough using a pasta maker.

Step 3 Roll Out the Dough

You can use a rolling pin to roll the dough out if you don’t have a pasta maker.  The key is to roll it to about 1/8 of an inch thick.  A good thickness test is to lift the dough and hold it up to a light.  You should be able to see your hands through it.  In Italy, once the dough has been rolled into a sheet of pasta it is referred to as a “sfoglia”.

  • Flour your work surface with flour.  Cut your dough into 4 sections and work with one piece of dough at a time.  Rewrap the rest of the dough so it doesn’t dry out.
  • Start with your pasta maker on the widest setting.  Dust both sides of the dough with flour.  Press the dough so that it will fit into the pasta machine better.  Roll the pasta through the machine.  Fold the dough in half and roll it through again.  Repeat this one more time. If the dough sticks to your work surface or the machine dust it with more flour.
  • Now you can roll the dough through each setting. Continue reducing the settings on the pasta machine until you have thin sheets of pasta you can see your hands through about 1/8″ thick. 
  • Lay your sfoglia on a floured baking sheet or wooden board dust it with more flour and let it dry for 15 minutes before cutting it into your desired shape.  This will make it easier to cut and keep it from sticking together.
    • Skip the drying if you are making stuffed pasta or it may not seal properly and open in the boiling water.
  • Repeat with the remaining dough.
4 photos showing how to cut pasta dough to make long plat noodles.

Step 4 Cut the Pasta

  • Take your pasta sheet or “sfoglia” and flour both sides with semolina flour.  Starting at one end of the pasta sheet fold it in about an inch, dust with flour, and fold again until you reach the center of the sheet.  Repeat this on the other end, flouring liberally as you go.  The two folds should meet in the middle. 
  • Using a sharp knife cut the pasta into strips of your desired width.  For pappardelle about 1″ wide, for tagliatelle 3/8″, fettucine 1/4″ and linguine about 1/8″. 
  • Slide your knife under the center of your pasta and lift it so that the pasta noodles drape over the edge of the knife.
  • Gently remove the pasta and either form it into a nest or place it loosely on a well-floured baking sheet. Dust it with more flour, and cover it with a linen towel to keep it from drying out too much while you repeat the steps with the remaining dough.   
  • Allow the cut pasta to dry for about 15 minutes before cooking it.

Tip:

Don’t skip the drying time when making your pasta.  This ensures that the pasta does not have too much moisture in it when you drop it into the cooking water.  When pasta is too moist it can be mushy or chewy.  Pasta will also absorb moisture from the air, so making fresh pasta on a very hot or humid day is not the best idea. 

Fresh pasta nests dusted with flour on a baking sheet.

Step 5 Cook the Pasta

After all of this work, we must cook the pasta perfectly!  The pasta should be cooked until it is al dente, firm but tender and to reach this point homemade pasta only needs a few minutes.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Use about 6 quarts of water for one pound of pasta.  You don’t need to be exact but you want to leave plenty of room for the pasta to move around in the pot.
  • Salt the water generously.
  • Add the pasta and stir it immediately to keep it from sticking.
  • Check the pasta for doneness after 2 minutes.  The pasta only takes 3-4 minutes to cook depending on its thickness.  
  • Drain the pasta and toss it in your sauce.

Tips:  

  • Large rolling bubbles in the water will cook the pasta evenly.  So don’t add the pasta until the water is in a full boil.
  • Because fresh pasta cooks so quickly, it doesn’t have a lot of time to absorb the salt.  I make sure to be more heavy-handed when I add salt to the pasta water.  This is when you really want the pasta water to taste like the sea!
  • Salt the water after it reaches a full boil.  Salted water takes longer to boil.
  • ​Drain the pasta using tongs and a spider to avoid getting the excess flour that has settled on the bottom of the pan on the pasta.  
  • Reserve a cup of cooking water to thin your sauce if needed.  

Storing Fresh Egg Pasta

Refrigerator:

While I don’t think it is ideal, you can store pasta in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours.  Allow egg pasta to dry for about 30 minutes on the counter, then place it in an airtight container or a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator.  After about 18 hours in the refrigerator, the pasta will begin to absorb moisture and the color may change.  

Freezing

A better option is to freeze it.  I do this even if I am going to cook the pasta in a day or two.  Lay the pasta in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place it in the freezer for 1 hour.  When the pasta is frozen you can transfer it to a plastic freezer bag, press out the air, and freeze for up to 2 months.  When you are ready to cook it, do not defrost it.  Simply drop the frozen pasta into the boiling water right from the freezer.   

Drying

​Although drying pasta for later use is a good option for Pasta Bianca, it is not recommended for pasta all’uovo for safety reasons.  Your best bet with pasta made with eggs is to either refrigerate it or freeze it.

A blue bowl of homemade pasta on a floral tablecloth.

How to Pair the Pasta Shape with the Perfect Sauce 

Believe it or not, the shape and texture of your pasta make a difference when you are pairing it with a sauce.  

Although you can serve any shape with almost any sauce, choosing the best sauce will provide the ultimate flavor experience.  The Pasta Evangelists have a great guide to help you select the ultimate pairings but I will give you a quick rundown here.

Long-thin pasta like spaghetti or linguine is delicious with light cream sauces or oil-based sauces where each strand is evenly coated.  Try them with Carbonara, aglio e olio, pesto or marinara.

Ribboned pasta like pappardelle, Mafalda, or fettuccine is perfect for holding hearty sauces like Ragu, or Bolognese. 

Tubular pasta such as rigatoni and penne are great vehicles for chunky vegetable sauces (Amatriciana), baked pasta, or cheesy meaty sauces.

Spiral or Twisted pasta shapes like fusilli, casarecce, or trofie are suited for smooth creamy sauces, pesto, or smooth tomato sauces.

Shell Pastas such as conchigli, cavatelli, or orrechietti are delicious with rich creamy or meaty sauces, chunky vegetable sauces, or pesto.  They are especially good when the sauce has pieces that are small enough to be carried in their small curves.

Filled pasta like ravioli or tortellini doesn’t need anything too overpowering because the stuffing has so much flavor.  Simple sauces and oil or butter-based sauces are perfect!  Try this butter and sage sauce or a simple tomato sauce for instance.

Want to learn everything you need to know to buy the best dried pasta at your local market? Check out my Essential Pasta Buying Guide.

I love to get your feedback so if you tried this Homemade Pasta or any other recipes on this website, please leave me a comment below.  I hope you enjoy our recipes and look forward to hearing from you!

You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest for more recipes your family will love!

Recipe for Pasta all’ uovo

A blue bowl of homemade pasta on a floral tablecloth.

Pasta all’ Uovo – Homemade Egg Pasta

Fresh pasta that you make at home is delicious and satisfying. Once you have tried homemade pasta you will be spoiled for any other kind. Pair it with your favorite sauce for the ultimate flavor experience! It is easier then you think to make if you follow my instructions below.
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Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 minutes
Resting time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 4 minutes
Course First course, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 servings
Calories 452 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Kitchen scale with grams measurement
  • 1 Pasta machine

Ingredients
  

  • 200 grams Tipo 00 Flour plus more for dusting
  • 123 grams Eggs large
  • Semolina flour for dusting

Instructions
 

Make Pasta Dough

  • Pour the flour onto a clean surface and make a well in the center.  Pour the eggs into the center of the flour.  
  • Using a fork begin to whisk the eggs slowly.  Then with the edge of the fork bring in a little flour at a time and continue to beat it into the eggs.  Do this until most of the flour has been incorporated into the eggs and you have a thick mixture.
  • Now use your hands to press the remaining flour into the mixture and form a ball of dough.

Knead the Dough

  • Clean your work surface of any flour or bits that did not get absorbed into the dough.  Flour your work surface and start kneading the dough, using the palm and heel of your hand to push the dough down and away from you.  You should see the dough create a shell as you push forward with your hand.  Give the dough a 1/4 turn fold it over on itself and repeat the kneading motion.  If the dough feels sticky, dust it with a bit of flour.  
  • Continue to knead the dough in this fashion for about 10 minutes.  The pasta dough should be soft and elastic with a smooth surface.  If the dough bounces back when you press down on it with your finger then you are done.  
  • Lightly flour the dough, wrap it in plastic wrap, and set it aside for at least 30 minutes and up to one hour.  The dough will soften a bit as it rests.

Roll Out the Dough

  • Flour your work surface.  Cut your dough into 4 sections and work with one piece of dough at a time.  Rewrap the rest of the dough so it doesn't dry out.
  • Start with your pasta maker on the widest setting.  Dust both sides of the dough with flour.  Press the dough so that it will fit into the pasta machine better.  Roll the pasta through the machine.  Fold the dough in half and roll it through again.  Repeat this one more time. If the dough sticks to your work surface or the machine dust it with more flour.
  • Now you can roll the dough through each setting. Continue reducing the settings on the pasta machine until you have thin sheets of pasta you can see your hands through about 1/8" thick. 
  • Lay your pasta sheet on a floured baking sheet or wooden board dust it with more flour and let it dry for 15 minutes before cutting it into your desired shape.  Skip the drying if you are making stuffed pasta or it may not seal properly and open in the boiling water. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Cut the Pasta

  • Flour both sides of the pasta sheet with semolina flour.  Starting at one end of the pasta sheet fold it in about an inch, dust with flour, and fold again. Continue until you reach the center of the sheet.  Repeat this on the other end, flouring liberally as you go.  The two folds should meet in the middle. 
  • Using a sharp knife cut the pasta into strips of your desired width.  For pappardelle about 1" wide, for tagliatelle 3/8", fettucine 1/4" and linguine about 1/8". 
  • Slide your knife under the center of your pasta and lift it so that the pasta noodles drape over the edge of the knife.Gently remove the pasta and either form it into a nest or place it loosely on a well-floured baking sheet. Dust it with more flour, and cover it with a linen towel to keep it from drying out too much while you repeat the steps with the remaining dough. 
  • Allow the cut pasta to dry for about 15 minutes before cooking it.

Cook the Pasta

  • Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Use about 6 quarts of water for one pound of pasta.  You don't need to be exact but you want to leave plenty of room for the pasta to move around in the pot. Salt the water generously.
  • Add the pasta and stir it immediately to keep it from sticking. Check the pasta for doneness after 2 minutes.  The pasta only takes 3-4 minutes to cook depending on its thickness.  Drain the pasta and toss it in your sauce.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Scroll up for cooking tips, storage recommendations and sauce pairings.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 452kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 18gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 229mgSodium: 89mgPotassium: 192mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 332IUCalcium: 49mgIron: 6mg
Keyword eggs, flour tipo 00, pasta making,
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