The Marcato Atlas pasta maker is reasonably priced and a great appliance to start with if you’ve never made your own pasta. It will take you a few attempts to master, but with some patience and your favorite playlist to keep you motivated, your hands will rapidly learn to make all the right moves. After that, you’ll love the process of creating your own noodles out of little more than a pile a flour and a few eggs.
There’s a big upgrade in the freshness and the bite of the noodles you get when you make them from scratch, and they cook to perfection in about a third of the time it takes store bought. But more importantly you have control over the size of the noodles from beginning to end. You can make spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, capellini, fettuccine, or any combination therein, all in one session, at your kitchen counter with a turn of a dial or the snapping on of an attachment.
Fair warning: You will be doing a major flour sweep when all is done. You’ll find it on the floor, coating your clothes, dusting your hair, painting your shoe laces. You may need to groom your cat.
If you’re an amateur cook and want to step up your game, a homemade pasta maker will take you far. Read how below.
Easy Homemade Pasta Recipe (serves approximately 4)
- 1 1/4 cups AP flour or pasta flour
- 3 eggs, and one egg yolk
- pinch of salt
- touch of olive oil, and more for coating
Form the flour into a small volcano on a clean work board.
Drop the three eggs and the egg yolk into the middle of the volcano, add the salt and the olive oil and slowly begin to scramble them with a fork, first breaking the yolks, then slowly drawing in some of the flour. Try hard not to break the walls so the eggs don’t come running out, but if they do, just use your free hand to push the mixture back in with the flour, and keep incorporating. Ideally, you just want to bring in some of the flour into the egg until it all starts to slowly come together. Scrape the bottom every once in while. You really shouldn’t need more liquid but if you do, try adding another egg.
Start getting more aggressive as the flour and eggs begin to come together. You can use a bench scraper to help incorporate the flour into the eggs. It should start forming into a single mass. Flour your hands and start kneading it. You should have a cohesive dough in about 1-2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
When ready, flour both sides of your dough, and cut it in half so you can work in portions. If you don’t have a lot of work space, you can quarter it. Set your pasta roller to your widest width (for most machines that’s number 1). Roll your dough through, about 15 times, each time folding the dough back on itself, both horizontally and vertically. Your dough should really start to get stretchy and a little shiny. Then send it through the number 2 setting just a few times, and keep dialing the setting up so the rollers are closer together and the pasta sheet continues getting thinner and longer. I usually get to setting 6 and stop there. If your dough is getting sticky during this process, just coat it with a little more flour.
Now you’ve got a long sheet of pasta. If you have the cutter attachment, put it onto your pasta maker and roll it through. You’ll have perfectly cut pasta out the other end. I’ve also tried cutting it myself. To do this, take your long sheet, and cut it into three or four equal sizes. Mine were about a foot long, maybe a little less. Dust each sheet with flour then stack them and loosely roll them up, and cut them into the thickness you’d like. Go back and sprinkle some flour over it and gently separate with a light toss in your hands. Shake off and excess flour. Drop it into boiling, salted water as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit too long.
Fresh pasta takes considerably less time to cook than dried, usually 1 to 3 minutes, so watch it carefully. To test, remove a noodle with tongs or a long-handled fork and take a bite.