My husband and I decided a few years ago that we wanted to have a tradition on New Year’s Day for our little family. We wanted to create memories for our kids to take with them into their adult lives and maybe recreate with their own families one day. Something unique to our family — not just a holiday get together or dinner. Something we all did together.
We decided on making homemade pasta on New Year’s Day. This is our third year and our kids can’t wait to get their hands in that eggy dough, to turn the handle on our pasta maker (the same pasta maker I used with my family as a kid), and set up the wooden spaghetti tree that their grandfather made out of scraps in his middle school wood shop when he was the assistant principal there.
Of course, nothing beats the taste of fresh made pasta either! This year we will be joined by my sister and her husband and son from Austria. We will make a double batch of this pasta and just enjoy each other’s company, the trial and error of cutting fresh pasta, and the general comedy that ensues by stretching and rolling this dough. We are by no means super skilled in this endeavor — it is just for the purpose of making memories.
Ingredients for fresh pasta (makes four servings):
3 to 3 1/2 Cups of all purpose flour + more for kneading
4 whole, large eggs
warm water as needed if dough is dry
pasta maker or rolling pin and sharp knife to cut thicker pasta
drying rack, or you can dry pasta on the backs of kitchen chairs with a towel underneath (I remember my grandmother doing this)
Put your 3 1/2 Cups of flour on a large cutting board or surface you can eventually knead the dough on. Make a well in the center of your flour and crack your eggs into it. With one finger, start to stir the eggs on the outside in one direction, picking up flour with each stir. Eventually, your eggs will be incorporated and you will have a shaggy dough. Knead the dough, adding small amounts of flour until it is no longer sticky. You don’t want the dough to be too stiff though, so add slowly. Once your dough is no longer “wet”, knead for about 10 minutes until your dough is elastic and stretchy. This is where I get my kids involved and teach them how to knead! Child labor at its finest.
*** This year’s dough needed a lot of water added to it in order to get it to the proper consistency for kneading. You kind of have to feel it out and use you inner cooking ninja’s intuition. If it feels too dry, it probably is. Make a dent in it, pour a little warm water in, and knead that ball of dough until it is smooth!
After your dough is nice and elastic, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 20 minutes. This is important to creating a nice, light consistency with your pasta. Otherwise, it will be tough.
After your pasta dough rests, cut off a hunk, roll it out thin or through your pasta maker several times, then cut into noodles and hang to dry.
To cook your noodles, make a large pot of salted boiling water and cook your pasta until al dente (depends on the thickness of your pasta, but if you made fettucine or spaghetti, I’d estimate about 4-5 minutes).
Drain and coat in olive oil so that it doesn’t stick together in one clump, then top with whatever sauce you plan to use.
This pasta goes well with a nice sage & brown butter sauce or my homemade marinara recipe.