Is it Better to Make Pasta from scratch?

I was thinking about whether it would be better to make pasta from scratch a couple weeks ago. I know you can buy it from a store or online and be done with it. But if you make a home pasta you will improve your cooking skill and might surprise your guest who came to visit you. 

Yes it is better to make pasta from scratch, Boxed pasta is an everyday workhorse. Making your own pasta at home, or fresh pasta, makes the meal a little more special. It just takes a little time and technique in order to get it right.

when you make someone homemade pasta, they know they’re loved. It feels like a big hug.

Both of the pastas I made today have simple, humble ingredients and a little bit of technique.

And if you follow the techniques that I laid out here today, you will be able to make professional-grade pasta at home.


I am going to tell you about 2 dough today. One with egg and one with water.

Egg dough 

For my egg pasta, I’m using double zero flour. Double zero flour is more finely ground than an all-purpose or a bread flour. All that really means is that this flour is milled or ground up really fine. 

It supports that whole fine, delicate pasta that egg pastas make. But if you don’t have double zero, use an all-purpose or a bread flour. If that’s what you got, use it.

And then I’m gonna take my hand and just make a big well. Make sure you make this well big enough to hold the eggs. If you have a tiny well and then crack two eggs in, the eggs overflow, and we don’t want that.

Make it big. Don’t be afraid. Make a nice, big volcano. I have about two cups of flour with two eggs.I am making this you can think of it as  one cup of flour per egg.

I’m gonna season this with A fair amount of salt. I’m scrambling this just for consistency and so that my dough is uniform throughout. So once they’re whisked, I’m starting to bring the flour in.

Try not to break your volcano at this point.

If you put this into a mixer, you can just throw everything in, turn it on, and let it go. But I’m doing it the old style.Basically I’m incorporating the flour a little at a time so that the eggs don’t spill out

all over my surface or my counter.

So once we get to a point where it holds its own shape, now I start to kinda just mix a fair amount of flour in there. What’s great about this technique is the dough only gonna take as much flour as it needs. So at this point, I usually get rid of my fork. I use my dough scraper.

You can use your fingers if you want.Now I just start chopping in some of this flour.  Basically, what I’m looking for here is that my dough is not wet anymore and it’s not gonna be sticking all over my hands.

Now that my dough has come together, we’re gonna start to knead it. Kneading the dough activates or works the gluten. Basically, gluten is a protein that gets stretchy and springy after you work it.

Gluten is what makes your pasta chewy. If you don’t work your pasta dough enough, you’re not gonna get that nice, chewy bite to your pasta. Basically, what I do when I knead this is I push down with my body weight, push away from me, fold it in 1/2, give it a 1/4 turn, push down with my body weight, fold it in 1/2, give it a 1/4 turn. 

I just keep doing that until I get a nice, elastic, and smooth dough. And this is what I’m looking for. Press down. It’s gonna spring back. That’s how I know I have some gluten formation in my dough.

If you press down and it stays down, you either need to add more flour or you need to keep kneading. My dough is nice and elastic, you know. I’m gonna wrap it in a piece of plastic. the reason I do this is so that the dough doesn’t dry out anymore.

If it dries out, it’s gonna get kind of like an alligator skin. It’s gonna be really hard to roll out. If I try and roll it out at this point, I’m gonna roll it and it’s gonna spring back. If I let it relax for about 20 to 30 minutes, when I roll it, it’s gonna hold that nice, flat shape.

I’m using plastic. If you don’t wanna use that, you could wrap it in a clean towel or you could take a bowl and turn it upside down over the dough. That’s my egg-based dough. I’m gonna let this rest for about 20 minutes and then we can roll it out.

Water dough

Pasta dough made with eggs tends to be a little more delicate, a little richer, whereas pasta doughs made with just water tend to be hardier and hold heavier sauces, a little more dense.

I usually refer to the one without as a semolina dough because I’m gonna use semolina flour.

It has a little more texture to it. It’s a little more grainy than a finely ground flour. And most of the time that you buy box pasta, it’s usually made from water, salt, and semolina flour.

So I have about two cups of semolina, and about 2/3 cup of water, and a hefty pinch of salt. Don’t break the walls of your volcano, and start working in your semolina. I love using bench scrapers.

They cost about a dollar, and they’re a great gadget to have to clean up surfaces, to cut doughs, and they’re totally worth it. It’s a super versatile piece of kitchen equipment that costs nearly nothing, okay?

So now that it’s coming together, I can see that the dough is just a little dry. So all I’m gonna do is add a little bit of water. You don’t wanna go crazy here. If you have to add water, if you have to add flour, you do it in small measures.

You might be wondering, can I overmix this and form too much gluten? Yes, you can, but by that time, you’d probably be passed out on the floor ’cause you’re so darn tired. Your arms’ll wanna fall off. And we’re gonna wrap this for the same reason we wrap the egg dough.

We don’t want to form a skin. Put it aside, let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then we can roll that out too.


Water dough shaping

We’re gonna start with the semolina dough. I’m gonna put the egg dough aside. Forget about it for a sec. Just, it’s gonna be okay. Just leave it alone.

Cavatelli is basically a smooth outside with a shell-like interior. It looks kinda like an elongated sea shell. Cavatelli tends to be a little more dense. It tends to be a little more of a hardy and chewy pasta.

That’s why this semolina dough works really well for it. Cavatelli can be formed with just your hands.I have a couple of pieces of equipment I’m gonna use as, like, options. You can see different options for it.

I’m gonna cut a little piece of the dough off and leave the rest covered ’cause I don’t want this to dry out. What I’m gonna do here for the cavatelli to just roll this out into a snake. So I’m just gonna cut these into kind of a little long nuggets.

I try to keep these at a uniform size so that all the pasta cooks evenly. They don’t have to be exact. Just try and keep ’em as uniform as possible.

Now, you could buy a gnocchi board. They’re about 10 bucks online. But I had a tree go down in my backyard, and I made one for myself.

Pasta shapes are basically made in order to hold or capture a sauce. So this method, to me,

not only gives you the little cup that holds the sauce, it gives you some nice ridges on the outside.

So you press your dough ball down and squeeze, right? So I’m pressing my dough ball down,

pushing down and away from myself, and making that nice cup. Those ridges and that cup in the middle are the surface area that holds your sauce.

So this, to me, is the more classic shape. If you want to use your finger, you can take your thumb, press down and roll away from you to form that nice kinda cavatelli shape. You can see there’s, like, an interior shell, a smooth outside.


Another way to do this is with a butter knife. I’m gonna pull towards myself. Slight angle to the board, a little bit of downward pressure, and pull towards yourself. The downward pressure lets the pasta kinda stick to the board a little.

It kinda squeezes the pasta out the other end. At the end of the day, there’s really no difference

between the knife and the finger technique. Some people just feel more comfortable with a knife. They get a knack for it. It’s kind of a knack thing. The next method is an overturned fork.

With the fork technique, I just take the fork. I’m not using it like I’m eating. I turn it upside down.

I’m kinda giving these a little squish, and I’m pushing down into the fork and away from myself,

just to kinda form that cup. What I’m accomplishing here with this is I’m making really fat ridges.

So the sauce doesn’t just sit inside the seashell, it grabs the outside as well.

Egg dough shaping

For my egg-based dough, I’m making a pappardelle, which is a long, thick, wide pasta.

It’s kinda like fettuccine, but, like, triple as wide. This is a KitchenAid with a flat roller attachment.

This makes it go fast and easy. I have my dough ball. I’m gonna unwrap it.

I’m not gonna use it all because if you try and put all of this through the machine, it’s just gonna shred it. I’m gonna do about 1/3 of it right now, and I’m gonna recover.

I’m just gonna flatten it out, and I’m gonna dust it lightly with some flour. We didn’t need flour for the semolina dough because it’s a nice, dry dough. This has a little more moisture to it. So I’m just gonna put some flour on the outside so it doesn’t stick to our rollers.

I have my roller on one. Now, one is the thickest. Some people might think one is the thinnest, but no. I roll it through with one hand, and I get it with the other hand. One thing I like to do now is give it a fold. And all that this does is make my pasta a little more square and even.

I’m gonna leave it on that number one setting and have it go through again. I’m gonna a lightly dust, and then I’m gonna go up one number to two. Going from one to two makes our pasta dough a little bit thinner.

As long as there’s enough flour on here, you can go down another one to three, and make it a little thinner. My goal here is to go from number one to number seven. Number eight tends to be a little too thin. As you get faster with this and better at this, you can just go down the numbers.

At this point, it’s starting to get long and a little unruly. I like to use the backs of my hands, not my fingers, ’cause I don’t want my fingers poking through. Now I’m down to seven, which is the number that I wanna hit. Roll it into the machine. 

If you’re gonna do this by hand, you would basically roll this out with a little flour and a rolling pin, and then you’d need a nap afterwards, cause it takes a really long time to do.

So at this point, we can cut this in 1/2, and we have two nice sheets of pasta. What I like to do to get my pappardelle at this point is to flour the inside really well so it doesn’t stick to itself,

and then we’re gonna roll it up.

then I get some nice, even, clean cuts. Lay this out flat on a tray. I try not to stack it because I don’t want it sticking to itself. You can put it really nice and close to each other. All right, maybe I’ll stack a little. that is my finished pappardelle.


So now we have our finished cavatelli and pappardelle. Time to cook them.

Cooking cavatelli

I have a pot of water here that I’m gonna salt. Some people would say the sea is salty. It’s a good start. We salt the pasta water so that the pasta absorbs the salty water, hence our pasta is seasoned.

If you salt the pasta at the end, basically you’re gonna have a salty sauce with a bland pasta.

This way, our pasta’s seasoned, our sauce is seasoned, and it’s magic. The water is seasoned, and I want it to be boiling before I add the pasta in.

When I put the pasta in, it’s gonna stop boiling, but I want it to come as quickly as possible back up to the boil so, first of all, the pasta doesn’t stick together and it doesn’t just sit on the bottom

and start to get mushy.

We want this pasta to have texture, and if it’s not boiling and not moving around, it’s just gonna mush out and get soggy. Water’s boiling, the water is seasoned. Pasta goes in. Give it a stir so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and it doesn’t stick to each other.

How do you know when your pasta is done?

the only way you know that your pasta is done is to actually taste it. People will say throw it against the wall. What does that prove? My pasta is starchy. That proves nothing to me. Eat it, taste it, put it in your mouth hole.

While my pasta’s cooking, I always have my sauce ready to go. The sauce waits for the pasta, and not the other way. Have your sauce hot and ready to go in a pan before you even start cooking your pasta.

Now that my pasta’s been cooking for a few minutes, I have this thing, it’s called a spider, ’cause it kinda looks like a spider web, and it’s just a great straining tool to have in your house. I usually let my pasta just cool a little, and then I give it a taste. 

The pasta is cooked all the way through. It’s not doughy and gummy. It has some bite to it. It tastes cooked. So now, what I do is I take my spider, I get my pasta out, and it goes directly into the sauce. I don’t drain it all that well. I want some of that pasta water in there. The pasta water has salt and starch, and that salt and starch is gonna help make my finished sauce a little more creamy.

So my sauce looks a little thick. I’m gonna go into my pasta pot, get some of the water, and dump it in so it loosens my sauce. So in Italy, they’ll cook it about 3/4 of the way and finish the cooking process in the sauce.

So it’s done cooking. Let’s throw it on the plate. A little bit of our chiffonade basil on top.

And that’s my cavatelli with semolina-based pasta dough.

Cooking pappardelle 

I have my pappardelle from our egg dough. My water is boiling. I’m gonna add some salt. I have my cream sauce here. And cream sauce generally gets paired with long, thin noodles ’cause it sticks really well.

we’re gonna drop our pasta in. The pappardelle will cook quicker than the cavatelli. It’s only gonna cook for about two or three minutes. I’m gonna swirl it around. The pappardelle’s super thin.

That’s why it’s gonna cook so quickly. I like to use tongs for long, thin pasta. A spider, usually it’s kinda just problematic and they fall off the spider. So I feel like tongs are the best way to go with this.

Let it cool off. Give it a quick taste. Smooth, silky, just a little bit of bite to it. I’m gonna take a little bit of that pasta water, swirl it around. It’s important to have the burner on here because when we add the pasta water, now it’s gonna be too liquidy.

We want some of that liquid to actually cook off a little and cook onto the pasta. So you don’t wanna just do this in a cold pan.

You wanna make sure that it’s cooking, okay? 

I’m gonna give this a little bit of a twist so it makes a little bit of a bird’s nest. Just get my spoon under it so I don’t drip everywhere and that’s my pappardelle made with egg pasta with a cream sauce.. So there it is.

Keep wandering wanderer and enjoy your pasta.

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