Make your own fresh pasta sheets at home
serves / 4 prep / 40 minutes skill / advanced
375g (21⁄2 cups) plain flour
1⁄2 tsp salt
4 eggs, at room temperature
Plain flour, extra, to dust
1. Sift flour and salt together onto a clean work surface. Make a well in the centre. Place the eggs in the well and use a fork to lightly whisk. Use your fingertips to gradually blend a little flour into the egg mixture. Working with your fingertips, continue to gradually draw the flour into the centre until the mixture forms a dough. To check if the dough is the right consistency, press a clean, dry finger into the centre of the dough. If it comes out clean without being sticky, it is the right consistency. If not, knead in a little more flour and test.
2. Lightly flour the surface. Firmly knead the dough by using the heel of your hand to push down into it and then away from you. Lift the dough with your fingertips and fold it back on itself towards you. Turn the dough a half-turn and repeat. Knead the dough for 6-7 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 4 portions and wrap each in plastic wrap or cover with a clean, damp tea towel. Set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Attach a pasta machine to the side of a workbench and adjust the machine’s rollers to the widest setting. Spread about 4 clean, dry tea towels over the work surface close to the pasta machine. Unwrap a portion of dough and use the palm of your hands to flatten it into a rectangle. Dust the rollers with flour and roll the dough portion through. Dust again with flour and repeat on the same setting. Fold in the shorter sides of the dough to make a smaller rectangle and feed through the machine again. Repeat this process 5-6 times.
4. Reduce the width by 1 and roll the dough through as before. Repeat the process, reducing the setting each time until the dough is 1-1.5mm thick.
5. Spread the pasta sheet over the clean tea towels. Repeat steps 3-4 with the remaining portions of dough. Set the pasta aside for 10-15 minutes.
6. Cut the pasta into the desired shape – strips for fettuccine, sheets for lasagne.
To cut the pasta into fettuccine by hand, loosely roll up a pasta sheet starting from the shortest end. Trim the ends and discard. Use a sharp knife to cut the pasta crossways at 5mm intervals. Unravel the pasta and cook immediately.