How to Make Italian Pasta from Scratch

Making homemade pasta from scratch results in a far superior meal. Shape this Italian pasta dough recipe as farfalle, tagliatelle, or use the pasta sheets in homemade lasagna. 

Check out these 30 things to know when visiting Italy, too!

homemade pasta with ham and zucchini

Semolina is the flour of choice for making the best pasta noodles, right? Well, talk to folks in Bologna, Italy, and they may disagree. In fact, when I had the chance to attend a cooking class with a private chef in Bologna, I learned that Bolognese chefs avoid using semolina flour — sometimes called hard flour — for their pasta.

Yep, they just use regular all-purpose flour. Of course, the flour that’s available in Italy is a bit different than what we get here in America, but for replicating a fresh pasta dough, all-purpose flour will work.

Making pasta from scratch requires three ingredients: Flour, eggs, and patience. Also, a willingness to get your hands messy. This is not a recipe that’s made with a mixer. No, it’s made by hand.

Thanks very much to Carmelita from Cook Italy who patiently walked us through making this homemade pasta dough. Watch the video to see the pasta making in action, and to hear some of Carmelita’s guidance.

Homemade Italian Pasta Recipe: Making Pasta from Scratch

The proportions for the pasta are 100g plain flour (not semolina) to one egg that weighs 65g in its shell. Now, eggs are going to vary slightly in their weight, but this is generally a large egg. How many that feeds depends on who you’re feeding and what else you’re eating. Using these quantities will result in a large portion for one person. Served with a big salad or side dishes, it will more likely feed two to three people.

Start by measuring the flour into a shallow bowl. Use a small small bowl or the base of a glass to press a well into the flour. Make sure that the flour completely covers the bottom of the bowl.

Beat the egg so that it’s thoroughly blended, but don’t whip it. We don’t want it to be airy, just thoroughly broken up, with the yolk and egg white blended together into a liquid.

BOWTIE PASTA DOUGH

Pour the beaten egg into the flour. Gently swirl the bowl, causing the egg to move within the flour. You’ll begin to see the egg pick up a dusting of flour. (This is visible in the video above.)  This is the very beginning of incorporating the flour into the egg. After a fair bit of flour has worked its way onto the surface of the egg, you’ll begin working the flour into the egg with your fingers. Use your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. The goal here is to pinch bits of flour at a time, working the flour into the egg very slowly, bringing flour from the edge of the well into the egg.

As the egg becomes incorporated, use your second hand to slowly push the flour from the outer part of the well toward the center, continuing to pinch the flour into the egg. As more flour is incorporated, the pasta dough will become thicker. Once fully incorporated, use your hands to gently knead the dough a few times until it’s smooth. Congratulations! You’ve just made pasta from scratch!

hand putting homemade dough into a pasta maker

Working with the homemade pasta dough

The key, according to Carmelita, is to avoid letting the pasta dough dry out. Since you’ll be working with only a portion of the dough at a time, cover the remaining dough. Carmelita inverts a bowl over the inactive ball of dough — even if it will just be sitting for a minute. You could also cover with a damp tea towel.

cutting farfalle dough

This homemade pasta dough recipe can be used for making a variety of shapes, but you’ll see our farfalle pasta here. We used a pasta maker to create thin sheets of pasta. Start with a golf-ball sized piece of pasta dough and run it through the pasta maker at its widest setting. Each time you roll the dough through, it will become thinner. You may run it through once or twice on the largest setting, and then change to the next setting. In this way, the pasta dough is slowly transformed into a sheet.

To make tagliatelle, you’d use the pasta make to cut the dough into strips. For farfalle, the cutting is done by hand with a rolling tool.

farfalle pasta

Cut the dough into long strips, about an inch and a half wide. Then cut across the strip in one-inch increments to create little rectangles. Once cut, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the center together to create the familiar bowtie shape of farfalle. Set shaped pasta on a tray while you make the rest of the dough.

shaped farfalle on a tray

Once cooked, top this farfalle pasta with your favorite sauce. Carmelita served it with a simple ham and zucchini combo that was delicious! Food in Italy is so fresh and wonderful. Is it because we’re on vacation, or because the food is truly that much better quality than the American fare I’m used to? (I think the latter!) Making pasta from scratch at home is a fun way to relive that special vacation.

homemade pasta with ham and zucchini

Homemade Italian Pasta Recipe (Making Farfalle Pasta Dough)

Shape this Italian pasta dough as farfalle, tagliatelle, or use the pasta sheets in homemade lasagna. 
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: how to make pasta dough
Servings: 4
Calories: 228kcal

Ingredients

  • 300 grams all-purpose flour (about 1-1/2 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk

Instructions

Making the Pasta Dough

  • Measure the flour into a shallow bowl. Use a small small bowl or the base of a glass to press a well into the flour. Make sure that the flour completely covers the bottom of the bowl.
  • Beat the eggs and egg yolk so that they're thoroughly blended, but don't whip them.
  • Pour the beaten eggs into the flour. Gently swirl the bowl, causing the egg to move within the flour. You'll begin to see the egg pick up a dusting of flour. This is the very beginning of incorporating the flour into the egg.
  • After a fair bit of flour has worked its way onto the surface of the egg, begin working the flour into the egg with your fingers. Use your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. The goal here is to pinch bits of flour at a time, working the flour into the egg very slowly, bringing flour from the edge of the well into the egg. Try not to disturb the flour at the bottom of the well.
  • As the egg becomes incorporated, use your second hand to slowly push the flour from the outer part of the well toward the center, continuing to pinch the flour into the egg. As more flour is incorporated, the pasta dough will become thicker.
  • Once fully incorporated, use your hands to gently knead the dough a few times until it's smooth. Cover dough to prevent drying out.

Rolling the Pasta Dough

  • Start with a golf-ball sized piece of pasta dough and run it through the pasta maker at its widest setting. Each time you roll the dough through, it will become thinner. Run it through once or twice on the largest setting, and then change to the next (thinner) setting. Continue in this manner until the dough reaches the desired thickness.

Shaping the Pasta Dough

  • Cut the dough into long strips, about an inch and a half wide using a rolling tool. Then cut across the strip in one-inch increments to create little rectangles.
  • Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the center together to create the familiar bowtie shape of farfalle. Set shaped pasta on a tray while you make the rest of the dough.

Cooking the Farfalle

  • Bring 6 quarts of water to boil in a large stock pot. Transfer farfalle to the boiling water and boil for 1 to 3 minutes. Fresh pasta takes substantially less time to cook than dried pasta.
  • Serve the fresh pasta with your favorite sauce.

Video

Notes

When you're not working with the dough be sure to cover it to prevent drying out. 

Nutrition

Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 98mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 176IU | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 3mg

More dinner recipes to try

Thanks for sharing!