Pasta Wars: “A Fresh Hope”

PASTA! One of those foods I’ll never get sick of, with so much versatility and flavor possibilities…. not to mention the various types of noodles, whether they’re rice or egg or semolina…

Ask my mom, and she’ll be happy to share how I could have easily had pasta for every meal of the day, if I were ever allowed such a privilege. But alas, a growing child was I, and variety was needed to help me become tall and healthy.

(Didn’t stop me from asking, though.) 😉

After viewing some curious content containing noodly-noshworthy-nomnoms on YouTube and other cooking shows about the merits and superior taste of homemade pasta, I thought, sure, I can do that!

So off I scurried to my Facebook page to request personal experiences, ideas, recipes, and even general recommendations about the topic.

Yum yum yum!

Overwhelmingly, and much to my surprise, well… the response I received didn’t give me much hope for an auspicious start.

Let’s just say that I’m a member of the Freshpasta Alliance, working to undermine the massive Boxnoodle Empire. Instead of massive buns on either side of my head, I’ve got ravioli.

Or something… 😅 And thus the Pasta Wars begin in earnest. For the galaxy!

The comments supporting the Boxnoodle Empire, of course, caused the opposite of the intended effect. I instead became more resolute and stubborn about trying this fresh pasta project, purchasing an aluminum rolling pin and researching 00 Italian flour within 48 hours.

(The latter of the two is kinda hard to find and EXPENSIVE. Maybe I’ll shell out after trying this a few times with good ol’ all purpose flour.)

But then a dear friend of mine, Kate, came back to comment, a resounding voice of positivity and encouragement. She’d not only made her own pasta, completely by hand, successfully — she also did it enough to make some solid recommendations for nom-nommy goodness made easy.

If you ever read this, Kate, YOU ARE THE BEST. ❤️

Shorthand version of her wisdom:

  • Make a single portion. One egg, 100g of flour, maybe a teaspoon of water.
  • Use a solid surface for forming the dough ball and rolling, like a counter.
  • Once the dough ball is formed and just tacky — not sticky — cut it into smaller pieces before rolling out with the pin.
  • Flour all the things in preparation for rolling. Flour will get everywhere. Trust the process.
  • Start with an easy shape like fettuccine.
  • Allow to dry some before placing in boiling water to cook.

The world of YouTube gave me additional key points, notably repeated over and over in several references:

  • Let the dough ball relax for at least 30 minutes on the counter or the fridge, or it will be too hard to roll into sheets.
  • You know the sheet is thin enough when you can just see your hand through it.
  • Salt the cooking water A LOT for flavor. One video even suggested adding some salt to the dough.
  • Cook for no longer than 90 seconds in boiling water, using a slotted spoon to remove rather than dumping the pot’s contents into a collander.

Sooooo… I’m sure you want to see how it all came together… here we go!

And there you have it! Honestly, it wasn’t difficult or too time consuming rolling out the dough, though each quarter of that small ball took about 5-7 minutes to work into the right thinness. Time flew by quickly with my audiobook playing in the background.

The pasta had some variation in thickness, but not much. All of the noodles were tender, but didn’t fall apart. I could have salted the water a bit more in retrospect, but others may disagree with that depending on taste. They still had fantastic texture, even after tossing into the fridge overnight; adding a touch of butter, parmesan and crushed red pepper made an easy lunch the next day!

Kate’s recipe gave me enough pasta for three small servings, or two larger ones. A perfect amount for me, because this stuff tastes so much better fresh.

Next time I do this, I’m going to be using my newest toy — a beautiful Italian pasta roller, a gift from another lovely friend (and coworker, too!) of mine who wanted to see it get some use.

Yup, this whole time I had a pasta roller close at hand. Plot twist!

But here’s my thinking: why not start with the most difficult method first, try to understand it from a more basic level, and then try it a more efficient way to compare quality?

Call me crazy, but I certainly appreciated my final product a lot more after the time and effort I poured into it — an hour an a half, all told, going slowly and building skills the first time. With practice, I could probably achieve it in an hour by hand (half of which is letting it rest).

You can bet once I make my second attempt, I’ll talk about the differences in time, effort and consistency right here on the blog!

Have you made your own pasta? Any tips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

And that’s it for episode one of Pasta Wars! Part two coming soon, with my special guest, the pasta roller!

Thanks so much for reading about this project! Want me to try making a certain type of pasta? Let me know.

Published by Allie

Foodie explorer with Stardew Valley dreams. Lover of wine but not beer, cheese but not milk, and all things chocolate. Working to learn as many self-sufficient, at-home food production skills as possible.

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