Fresh Noodles and Pasta
When I was young, pasta in one form or another played an important role in most of our family meals. With grandparents born in Italy on one side and Germany/Hungary on the other, every size & shape of pasta was always on the table.
As a child I was fascinated with my Eastern European born grandmother’s noodle making skills. With just a rolling pin and a sharp knife (and six kids to feed) she was able to turn a few cups of flour and a couple of eggs into mountains of perfectly shaped noodles, each one exactly the same width as the others.
I still use that same rolling pin, but when I make pasta I rely on my inexpensive hand rolling pasta machine. Motorized versions are available, but the hand operated one is so easy, I don’t see the purpose of taking up extra room in my cupboard with a motor. While there are some very fine brands of dried pasta on the grocery shelves, I often prefer the texture of fresh noodles for some sauces, soups and lasagna since I can make them as thick or thin as I desire.
The recipe is simple, flour, eggs, water and salt. The dough comes together fairly quickly and the pasta machine takes the work out of the kneading. In less than 20 minutes I can make all the noodles I need to accompany any recipe. Because these machines come with a couple of cutting options I can make pasta or noodles in any width or thickness, from angel hair to fettuccine. This recipe is very easy to make with a pasta machine, but if you are feeling energetic, it certainly can be rolled out with a rolling pin and cut by hand with a sharp knife.
This is my recipe and technique for fresh noodles and pasta, perfect to serve with paprikash, stroganoff and soups. When rolled out thinly, the uncut sheets of pasta make the most luxurious lasagna imaginable. You’ll never use the store bought lasagna pasta again.
Fresh Pasta and Noodle Dough
2 cups all purpose flour plus more for rolling
1 whole egg plus one egg yolk
Pinch of salt
Enough cool water to make a stiff dough (about 1/4 to 1/3 cup)
Place the flour on a large board or counter top and make a well in the center. Place the eggs, salt and about ¼ cup of water to start in the well.
With a fork, whisk the eggs and water together and slowly whisk in some of the flour into the eggs, a little at a time.
When the dough becomes too difficult to work with a fork, scrape the dough together and knead a few times until the dough forms a uniform ball. Dust with additional flour as needed. The dough should be stiff and just slightly tacky.
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and cut into 4 pieces. Using extra flour to coat the dough pass the dough through the thickest setting of the machine 6 or 7 seven times, folding in half each time, until the dough becomes silky smooth and looses any stickiness.
Adjust the machine to the next thinness and pass the dough through the rollers again, dusting with dough with additional flour. Repeat until the desired thickness is reached.
Pass the dough through the cutting roller. Leave the strands as is for Italian pasta sauces or cut into 1-2 inch pieces for soups, paprikash or stroganoff. Leave whole and uncut to use for lasagna.
The noodles can be used right away, covered lightly and refrigerated until needed or completely air dried and stored in the freezer for a later time.
Boil the noodles in a generous pot of salted boiling water for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness until tender. Serve as needed in recipes; dropped into soup, served with sauces or plain with butter.
Makes about 4-6 servings