Homemade pasta is a revelation, and fermenting the dough with sourdough starter improves digestibility and adds more flavor. You only need to plan a bit ahead, but there are no extra steps.
Just mix your dough in the morning (leaving it out at room temperature) or mix the day before (refrigerating it overnight and then leaving it at room temperature the next day).Jump to Recipe
Why Homemade Pasta?
- Excellent texture and flavor
- You pick the ratio of whole grain to white flour (I like 25-50% whole grain wheat)
- You choose the type of wheat you want to use. Durum and Kamut are a couple of my favorites, but I also use chickpea flour–recipe post for that coming soon
- You decide thickness/chew factor of your noodle, and you can even divide one batch into two thicknesses.
- Homemade pasta uses eggs, which have lots of protein
- Fun! Making pasta is like playing with Play-Doh only better because there is something edible when you’re done
- Clean up is easier than Play-Doh. The pasta machine only needs to be “brushed off.” (A part of me wants this fact at the top of the list)
- The person who kneads this stiff dough expends enough energy to deserve a second serving – Win!
The most important information I can convey to you about homemade pasta is that you don’t have to mix by hand. Of course, you can if you want to. It’s more romantic and foodie-feeling with that gorgeous mound of flour with eggs in the center. But for speed and less clean-up, you can throw everything into a food processor or stand mixer to bring it all together, and then knead a bit on the counter afterward. I like the hand-kneading final step to get a good sense of hydration and gluten development. You will still have to clean the counter and the bowl, but at least you’re not accidentally flinging shaggy dough around or having lava flows of egg escape your mountain.
This recipe explains with words and photos how to make homemade sourdough pasta with mechanical mixing and with a pasta rolling machine (Marcato Atlas). Sometimes I use the Marcato to cut the pasta (first photo above) and sometimes I cut by hand (recipe photo below). The machine is more uniform, but by-hand is a little faster for me. Both have their merits.
I don’t instruct here on rolling the pasta sheets with a rolling pin, but you should be able to find YouTube videos on this.
Photo Gallery of Pasta Making
- 215 grams all purpose flour 50%
- 215 grams whole grain durum wheat flour 50%
- 4 eggs (approx 200 grams) 47%
- 65 grams sourdough starter 15%
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (14 grams) 3.3%
- 1/2 tsp salt (3 grams) 0.7%
- 0-2 Tbsp water (as needed, I used 1 Tbsp)
Making the Dough
- Plan to mix your dough the morning of your pasta dinner or the night before.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor, combine all of the ingredients except the water. (The sourdough starter does not have to be at peak.) Use the paddle attachment for your stand mixer / the metal blade for your food processor.
- Mix until all the ingredients are combined, about a minute, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, until there are no powdery-dry areas.
- Mash the dough together with your hands and transfer it to a clean countertop. Knead 2-3 minutes. The dough should be stiff. Add flour if it is sticky and water if it breaks apart with dryness.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl or pyrex container. Press it into the container, cover, and note the level of the dough to watch the fermentation growth.
- Leave the dough at room temperature for the day if you made it in the morning. If you prepped it in the evening, leave it out at room temperature as long as you can to get fermentation going, then refrigerate it while you sleep. Pull the dough out of the refrigerator in the morning. Aim for 40-90% growth, and if the dough starts to edge toward the high end of that range, refrigerate it until 30 minutes before you plan to use it.
Making Your Sauce
- I make the Classic Marinara recipe from the New York Times just before starting to roll out the pasta and boil the water. It involves chopping garlic and sauteing it with olive oil, oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes. Then I add a 28-ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes that I have immersion-blended (in the can). I let this all simmer while I roll and cut the pasta dough.
Preparing the Pasta
- Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and add a bit of salt. Cover and set it to boil.
- Prepare your pasta rolling machine. Flour a large baking sheet or set up a pasta drying rack.
- Remove the dough from the container and de-gas it. Cut it into pieces the size of a deck of cards and cover them. Begin rolling one piece through your pasta rolling machine. I usually only make one pass through each number and I stop at “5.” The pasta in this recipe photo was only rolled to “4.” Cut the sheet in half if it becomes too long and unwieldy.
- Cutting by hand: Flour a pasta sheet on both sides, roll it into a tube, and cut it into smaller strips (fettuccini width or your preference). Place your coils on the floured cookie sheet.Cutting with the machine: Attach the fettuccini/spaghetti cutter part and run the sheet through it, then place the cut pasta on a floured baking sheet or a pasta drying rack.
- Repeat this until all of the pasta dough is rolled and cut. This amount of dough usually takes me 30-40 minutes.
- I boil this amount of pasta (about 6 servings) in 2-3 rounds to avoid overcrowding, but I use the same water. You might be able to fit more with a bigger pan, but the boiling time is quite short with fresh pasta, so I don’t mind breaking it into several batches.
- Depending on how thin you rolled your pasta sheets and how al dente you prefer your pasta, boil the pasta for 1-4 minutes. Scoop it out into a bowl with a claw spoon or tongs, and drain the excess water. Plate immediately or toss with a little olive oil.
- Bring the water back up to a boil 1-2 minutes, and repeat until all the pasta is cooked. If you don’t want to cook it all, pop the entire baking sheet in the freezer overnight and then bag the pasta in the morning.