Wanting to try your hand at homemade pasta? We partnered with Paul Lowe, the man behind lifestyle mag Sweet Paul, who shared with us not only his delicious fresh pasta dough recipe, but also the story of the childhood trip that made him fall in love with it in the first place.
My Love of Pasta
Let me start out by saying I’m completely biased on the subject of pasta. I love fresh pasta, and I strive to use it whenever I can. There’s a light and tender texture that one gets from handmade pasta that just isn’t there in dry pasta. At the very least, I’ll buy prepared pasta from my local grocery, but whenever I can, I make it myself.
As you’ll see with my recipe below, you just need to pair a few simple ingredients with homemade pasta, and the result is going to be a real stunner. The most important thing to remember is to not stress out about making the perfect noodles. To me, handmade pasta that’s a little rough around the edges is totally charming. After all, my motto is “Perfection is boring!”
My penchant for fresh pasta is nothing new. Growing up in Norway, I was so lucky to have parents who worked very hard throughout the year with the goal of family travel during the summer months. We would drive around Europe, visit flea markets in France, hike in the Alps or go to the beaches in Spain.
I vividly remember my first trip to Italy. For me, not surprisingly, the food is what really hit me. It was almost too much for me to handle with all the fresh Mediterranean produce, to-die-for cheeses and all the wonderful pasta! When we stopped for lunch one afternoon, I became mesmerized by a little Italian grandma rolling pasta dough through an ancient-looking machine, then hand cutting impossibly long strips of fettuccine and hanging them to dry. The only thing better than watching her make the pasta was eating a plate full of her delightfully tender creation.
When we returned to Norway after our Italian adventure that summer, the pasta was all I could talk about. My Mormor (grandmother) and I would do our best to produce plates of pasta for lunch, but it just wasn’t the same. I asked her to buy an Italian cookbook to see if we could recreate the wonderfully light and tender pasta at home, but our attempt yielded a gummy pile of thick noodles. Finally, on Christmas morning I encountered a VERY heavy box under the tree. To my joy, it was a pasta maker mail-ordered directly from Italy! From that day on, wonderfully authentic Italian pasta was a regular project for Mormor and me. It’s maybe not the most normal gift for an 8-year-old boy, but then again, I wasn’t your average kid!
Basic Fresh Pasta Dough Recipe
Ingredients (Makes 4 Portions)
- 4 cups and 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, and more for dusting
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons water
For the pasta dough, start by making a mound with all of the flour on a clean work surface. Make a well in your mound of pasta, like a volcano!
Fill the well with all the remaining ingredients. Using a fork, begin mixing the ingredients together from the center out, slowly incorporating more of the flour from the volcano’s walls into the mixture.
You will eventually have a crumbly dough. Bring the dough into a ball, and knead lightly by hand for another minute or so. Add more flour to your surface if necessary.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes.
Follow the simple instructions included in the Atlas 150 Aluminum Pasta Maker to roll out your dough, and then cut it to the tagliatelle shape of your choice.
Hang your pasta to dry just a little bit. When you’re ready, boil a big pot of water and cook your homemade pasta for two to four minutes until it’s al dente.
Tip: My grandmother and I would always use a wire hanger to hang our pasta after we cut it with the pasta maker.
Spring Tagliatelle with Pea Pesto, Ricotta and Asparagus Recipe
- 1 bunch baby asparagus
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 portions homemade tagliatelle, boiled to al dente
- 1/2 cup fava beans
- 1/2 zucchini, cut into very thin strips
- 3/4 cup fresh ricotta
- Fresh mint leaves
- As much finely chopped chili as you can take!
- 1 1/2 cup peas (you can use the frozen ones)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Start with the pesto. Place peas, garlic, pine nuts and oil in a blender and blend until smooth. If it’s too dry, just add a little more oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the hard end of the asparagus and cut them in half, sauté them golden in olive oil.
Place the warm pasta in a bowl and add the pesto, mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix gently and serve with some pepper on top.
Tip: Don’t be daunted—it’s not as hard to make fresh pasta as you might think! I often reacquaint myself with the technique by searching for simple tutorial videos on YouTube.
What are your homemade pasta tips and tricks? Share them on the Crate and Barrel Facebook page!