While homemade pasta sounds like an intimidating dish, it really isn’t all that hard to make. To make the dough, I followed a recipe from Nick DiGiovanni’s youtube channel. I did not have time to make the pesto by hand, so I just used store-bought.
The pasta dough itself only requires three ingredients: flour, eggs, and olive oil. I started with a mound of two cups of all-purpose flour on a cutting board, then took a bowl and pressed it into the center of the mound to form a well. It’s essential to keep the well in the center and have high enough “walls” of flour all around it. From there, I added three whole eggs and two egg yolks to the well on the cutting board. Before beating the eggs, I eyeballed and added around two tablespoons of olive oil. I carefully beat the eggs with a fork, not letting them mix with the flour until all the yolks were fully incorporated. Then, I slowly started pushing small tablespoon amounts of flour into the center with the eggs from the mound. This got messy very quickly, so be prepared with a bench scraper or something with a wide surface to lift and mix. Once the flour and eggs reach a doughy consistency, flour your hands. I forgot to flour my hands, and it was not at all an enjoyable experience to knead the dough. About five minutes later, when my dough was smooth and yellow, I plastic wrapped it and let it rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. The recipe recommended 30 minutes, but it really didn’t seem to make all that much of a difference.
The next step was to stretch the dough, by far one of the most satisfying parts of this entire experience. Take the dough out of the fridge and dust it with some flour. Use a rolling pin to stretch the dough into a thin rectangular shape. After this step, you can either use a pasta machine or roll it out using a rolling pin. It’s very much possible to do it using a rolling pin, but I just went with a pasta machine for the sake of time. Make sure to flour your pasta machine if you choose to use one. Run it through the widest setting, fold it over itself and run it through again to get rid of air bubbles. Flour the dough lightly every time you run it through, especially in cracked areas, to make sure it doesn’t fall apart. After running it through the third level on my pasta machine, I cut the dough in half to better manage it because it got very long. I ran it through setting five, then lightly dusted it in flour. I decided to cut my pasta by hand because I wanted the pieces to be pretty wide. If you choose to use a pasta machine to cut your pasta, once again make sure to flour both the machine and the dough, or it will fail.
From here, you can either leave the pasta out to air dry in portions to save for later or boil immediately for around 1 minute in salted water. From there, you can place the pasta into a saucepan with the pesto and combine it under medium-high heat.
For being the first time I make homemade pasta, I’d give this recipe a 9/10 for simplicity and 10/10 for taste. Making the pasta by hand was a really enjoyable experience, and it was better than boxed pasta for many reasons. Boxed pasta doesn’t let you cut the pasta the way you want it, but you can cut it any way you want with this recipe. The handmade pasta actually had flavor, which I feel like store-bought lacks. The handmade pasta actually had an egg-y taste to it that enhanced the dish.