Homemade Pasta Dough
Credit: La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy by The Italian Academy of Cuisine
Here is an essential, all-purpose method for making pasta dough. Many of the pasta recipes in La Cucina: The Regional Cooking of Italy follow this method. Simply follow these instructions substituting the proper ingredients & measurements given in the recipe you have chosen to make.
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon lard
2 tablespoons olive oil
~Pour the flour onto a work surface of into a mixing bowl and shape it into a mound. Use your hand or the bottom of a measuring cup to hollow out the center of the mound to form a crater.
~Break the eggs into the crater, add a pinch of salt, the lard, and olive oil (note that in some pasta recipes, no fat is used). Beat the eggs mixture lightly with a fork, as if making scrambled eggs. When the eggs begin to look homogenous, use the fork to pull a little of the flour into the eggs, gradually adding more flour just until the eggs are no longer runny. Push aside about 3 tablespoons of flour, then use our hands to work the rest of the flour into the eggs until the dough is smooth.
~When you think you have achieved the right texture, wash and dry your hands. Press your finger into the center of the ball of dough. If the dough does not stick to your finger as you pull it out, you do not need to add more flour. If the dough is still sticky, knead in flour in small increments (heaping tablespoons) until the dough passes the test.
~Use a towel or pastry scraper to remove any loose flour or crumbs from your work surface—it should be clean when you knead the dough. Press the ball of dough forward with the palm of your hand, then fold the dough over on itself, then give the dough a half turn. Repeat, pressing forward with you palm, folding in half, and turning, always in the same direction. When the dough is smooth and slightly “leathery” (anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes), it is ready to be rolled out.