- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (2 3/4 cups if making green pasta)
- 3 eggs
- 8 ounces spinach or 12 ounces fresh spinach leaves (if making green pasta)
Pour the flour in a mound in the center of your work counter. With your fingers make a well. When your fingers reach the counter, push the sides out to make a well in which the eggs will fit comfortably. To avoid the possibility that the eggs will overflow, it is better to make the well a little wider than necessary than too small.
Break the eggs into the center of the well. Using a fork, beat the eggs as if you were making scrambled eggs until the yolks and the whites are thoroughly blended together. Use the fork to mix a little flour into the eggs by taking it from the bottom of the inside walls of the well. Continue until the mixture thickens enough to cling to the fork when you lift it into the air. Use your fingers to squeeze the dough attached to the fork back into the well and set the fork aside. Push about 1/4 cup of flour to the side, then use your hands to bring the rest into the center of the well. Mix together with your hands to begin forming a dough. If the dough feels sticky when you plunge a finger into the it add a little more flour. The dough should feel moist but not sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic, because the surface of the dough can begin to dry out in as little as a minute, while you scrape off any bits of dough that have stuck to the counter. Reserve any remaining flour off to the side.
Unwrap the dough and begin kneading it. Think of stretching the dough rather than compressing it by using the heel of your palm and pushing away from you. Knead until the dough feels homogeneous and smooth. If it seems to stick to your hand or to the counter, add a little more flour. On the other hand, if it feels too hard to knead, you may have added too much flour. Try wetting your hands and kneading the moisture in. If that does not seem to help, it's probably easier and faster to start over. I you don't need to add any more flour while kneading, it should only take 5-6 minutes. Adding flour during the kneading process may increase the time since the further along you are, the longer it takes for the flour to get incorporated. When you have kneaded the dough sufficiently, wrap it in plastic again and let it rest for at least 15 minutes or up to 3 hours. Never refrigerate or freeze pasta dough. As the dough rests, the gluten in the flour will relax, making it much easier roll the dough.
Green Pasta Variation: Cook 8 ounces frozen spinach or 12 ounces fresh spinach in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. Using your hands, squeeze out as much water as possible. Chop finely by hand or in a food processor. Proceed as above, adding the spinach to the eggs and an extra 1/2 cup of flour.
Unwrap the pasta dough and knead it a few times to incorporate the moisture that inevitably rises to the surface. The surface of the dough at this point should feel silky smooth (a baby's bottom is what it is traditionally compared to). Roll out the dough: (a) Cut the dough in as many pieces as you used eggs, in this case three. Wrap two of the pieces in the plastic wrap. Flatten the remaining piece of dough as best you can with your hands then put it through the rollers of the machine set at the widest setting. Fold the dough in three, and put it through the rollers again with the folds perpendicular to the rollers. Fold the dough in half and put it through one more time, again with the folds perpendicular to the rollers. Lay the dough on a towel and repeat the procedure with the other two pieces. (b) When all the pieces have been through the machine at the widest setting, adjust the rollers down one notch and put each piece of dough through once. Repeat, going down one notch at time, until you reach the next to last setting. Cut each sheet of pasta in half then put each piece through the machine at the thinnest setting.
Yield: Makes enough pasta for 4
Recipe from: How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan