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How To Make Pasta From Scratch — In Italy!


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Aurelie Jewell



When it comes to experiencing food at its finest, few things can compare to the combination of travel and culinary exploration. Food travel, also known as culinary tourism, is a delightful way to immerse yourself in the flavors, traditions, and cultural heritage of a particular region or country.


One destination that holds a special place in the hearts of food lovers worldwide is Italy. Known for its rich culinary history and mouthwatering dishes, Italy offers a plethora of gastronomic delights to discover. From crispy pizzas in Naples to hearty risottos in Milan, there is something to satisfy every palate.


One of the quintessential Italian dishes that captures the essence of the country’s culinary prowess is pasta. Pasta comes in countless varieties and is an integral part of Italian cuisine. While you can easily find pre-packaged pasta in supermarkets, making pasta from scratch is a truly rewarding experience.


There’s a saying in Italy that making pasta from scratch is both an art and a labor of love. It requires patience, precision, and a deep understanding of the ingredients and techniques involved. By making pasta from scratch, you not only gain a deeper appreciation for the craft, but you also have the opportunity to create a dish that is uniquely yours.


In this article, we will take you on a journey through the process of making pasta from scratch. We’ll explore the key ingredients, the techniques involved, and the joy of indulging in a homemade pasta dish that transports you to the heart of Italy. So grab your apron and let’s dive into the world of pasta making!


Finding the Perfect Ingredients

When it comes to making pasta from scratch, the quality of the ingredients is of utmost importance. To create a truly authentic and delicious pasta dish, it is crucial to use the finest and freshest ingredients available. Here are the key ingredients you will need for your homemade pasta:

  1. Flour: The foundation of any pasta dough is flour. In Italy, “00” flour is commonly used for pasta making. This type of flour is finely ground and has a low protein content, which results in a tender and silky texture.
  2. Eggs: Eggs add richness and flavor to the pasta dough. Opt for organic, free-range eggs for the best quality and taste. The number of eggs you use will depend on the amount of flour and the desired consistency of the dough.
  3. Salt: A pinch of salt helps to enhance the flavors of the dough. Use a high-quality sea salt or kosher salt to season the pasta dough.
  4. Water: While eggs provide moisture to the dough, you may need to add a small amount of water if the dough is too dry. Use cold water to prevent the eggs from cooking when mixing with the flour.

It’s important to note that different regions in Italy have their own variations of pasta dough. For example, in some regions, semolina flour is used instead of “00” flour, resulting in a slightly different texture. Additionally, some recipes may call for the inclusion of other ingredients such as olive oil or even vegetable purees to add flavor and color to the dough.


When it comes to sourcing your ingredients, it’s best to visit local markets or specialty food stores to find the highest quality options. Look for organic and artisanal products whenever possible, as they often have superior flavor and nutritional value.


Now that you have gathered your ingredients, it’s time to move on to the next step: mixing and kneading the dough.


Mixing and Kneading the Dough

Now that you have your ingredients ready, it’s time to start creating your pasta dough. Mixing and kneading the dough is a crucial step that determines the texture and elasticity of the final product. Follow these steps to achieve the perfect pasta dough:

  1. Measure and combine the ingredients: Start by measuring out the desired amount of flour and adding it to a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and crack the eggs into the well. Add a pinch of salt to the mixture.
  2. Combine the ingredients: Using a fork or your hands, beat the eggs and gradually start incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough forms.
  3. Knead the dough: Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and begin kneading. Fold the dough over itself and press it forward with the heels of your hands. Continue kneading for about 8-10 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too dry, you can lightly moisten your hands with water and continue kneading.

During the kneading process, the proteins in the flour form gluten, which provides structure and elasticity to the dough. Kneading also helps to distribute the moisture evenly and develop the desired texture.


It’s important to note that pasta dough should be firm and not sticky. If the dough feels too sticky, you can add a small amount of flour to adjust the consistency. Conversely, if the dough feels too dry and crumbly, you can moisten your hands with water and continue kneading.


Once the dough reaches the desired texture, shape it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to allow the gluten to relax and the moisture to distribute evenly.


With your well-kneaded dough ready, you are now one step closer to enjoying your homemade pasta. In the next section, we will explore the importance of resting the dough and how it contributes to the final result.


Resting the Dough

Resting the pasta dough is a critical step that should not be skipped. This resting period allows the gluten to relax and the moisture to distribute evenly throughout the dough. Resting the dough also enhances its elasticity, making it easier to roll out and shape. Here’s how to properly rest your pasta dough:

  1. Wrap the dough: After kneading the dough, shape it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. This helps to prevent the dough from drying out and forming a crust on the surface.
  2. Let it rest: Place the wrapped dough on a flat surface and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. This allows the gluten to relax and the dough to become more pliable and easier to work with.

Resting the dough also allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in a more harmonious taste. It allows the ingredients to fully hydrate, resulting in a smoother and more cohesive dough texture when rolled out.


During the resting period, the dough will become more elastic, making it easier to roll out and shape into your desired pasta shape. This is especially important for delicate pasta shapes like ravioli or tortellini, as the rested dough will be less prone to tearing or breaking during the shaping process.


Once the dough has rested and is ready to be shaped, be sure to keep it covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. If the dough starts to dry out during the shaping process, it can become difficult to work with and may result in a less desirable texture in the final cooked pasta.


Now that your pasta dough has rested, it’s time to take the next step and shape the pasta. In the following section, we will explore different techniques for shaping pasta and bring your homemade pasta to life!


Shaping the Pasta

Shaping pasta is where your creativity and skill can truly shine. There are numerous ways to shape pasta, each resulting in unique textures and presentations. Here are a few popular methods for shaping pasta:

  1. Rolling and cutting: This is the most common method for shaping pasta. Start by dividing the rested dough into smaller portions. Dust the dough with flour and roll it out using a rolling pin or a pasta machine until it reaches the desired thickness. You can then cut the rolled-out dough into various shapes, such as fettuccine, tagliatelle, or pappardelle. For stuffed pasta like ravioli or tortellini, you can use a pasta cutter or a sharp knife to shape and seal the filled dough.
  2. Extruding: Certain pasta shapes, such as spaghetti or penne, are best shaped using an extruder or pasta machine with specific attachments. The dough is forced through small holes or dies, resulting in the desired pasta shape. This method requires a specialized pasta maker but can yield consistent and professional-looking results.
  3. Hand shaping: Some pasta shapes, like orecchiette or gnocchi, are traditionally shaped by hand. These shapes often involve rolling small pieces of dough on a textured surface or using your fingertips to create unique impressions. Hand shaping pasta can be a fun and interactive process that adds a personal touch to your homemade creations.

When shaping pasta, it’s important to work on a well-floured surface to prevent the dough from sticking. As you shape the pasta, be sure to lay it out on a floured or parchment-lined surface to prevent it from sticking together.


Experiment with different shapes and sizes to create a variety of pasta dishes. Consider the sauce or dish you plan to pair the pasta with, as certain shapes work better with specific sauces. For example, long, ribbon-like shapes like tagliatelle or pappardelle are perfect for hearty ragu sauces, while shorter shapes like penne or fusilli hold up well to thicker or chunky sauces.


Once you have shaped your pasta, it’s time to move on to the final step – cooking and serving your homemade creation. In the following section, we will explore the best cooking techniques to bring out the flavors and textures of your pasta.


Cooking and Serving the Pasta

After all the effort put into making and shaping your homemade pasta, it’s time to cook it to perfection and serve it with pride. Here are some tips for cooking and serving your pasta:

  1. Boiling the water: Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Adding salt to the boiling water will season the pasta from the inside out, enhancing its flavor. As a general rule, use about 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4-6 quarts of water.
  2. Cooking time: Different types and shapes of pasta will have varying cooking times. It’s important to follow the instructions on the package or use your judgment based on the thickness and texture of the pasta. Always aim for al dente, which means the pasta should be tender but still have a slight bite to it.
  3. Testing for doneness: The best way to determine if the pasta is cooked to perfection is by tasting it. Take a small piece and test its texture. It should be cooked, but not mushy. Remember that the pasta will continue to cook slightly once it is added to the sauce, so slightly undercooking is better than overcooking.
  4. Saving pasta water: Before draining the cooked pasta, reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water. This water can be used to adjust the consistency of the sauce and help it adhere better to the pasta. The starchy water adds flavor and helps create a cohesive and flavorful dish.
  5. Saucing the pasta: Using tongs or a pasta fork, transfer the cooked pasta directly into the sauce. Toss the pasta and the sauce together, allowing the flavors to meld and the sauce to coat each strand. If needed, add a splash of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce and create a silky texture.
  6. Serving and garnishing: Once the pasta is well-coated in the sauce, transfer it to serving plates or bowls. Finish with a sprinkle of grated cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, and a drizzle of high-quality extra virgin olive oil. Freshly ground black pepper or chopped herbs can also be added for additional flavor and visual appeal.

Remember that the key to a truly delicious pasta dish is the combination of perfectly cooked pasta, a flavorful sauce, and high-quality ingredients. Allow the pasta to take center stage, and let its simplicity and homemade charm shine through.


Now that you know how to cook your homemade pasta to perfection, all that’s left is to sit down, savor every bite, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. In the final section, we’ll wrap up our pasta-making journey and reflect on the joys of food travel and culinary exploration.



Congratulations! You have successfully embarked on a culinary adventure through the art of making pasta from scratch. From selecting the finest ingredients to shaping and cooking the pasta, you have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the craft of Italian cuisine.


Making pasta from scratch is more than just a culinary skill; it is a sensory experience that connects you to the flavors, traditions, and culture of Italy. It allows you to create a dish that is uniquely yours, infused with love and dedication.


By delving into the world of pasta making, you have discovered the importance of sourcing high-quality ingredients, mixing and kneading the dough to perfection, and allowing it to rest for optimal results. You have explored various techniques for shaping the pasta, unleashing your creativity in the process.


Cooking the pasta to al dente and saucing it with care ensures that every bite is a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The final step, serving and garnishing, adds the finishing touches to your masterpiece.


Through this journey, you have unlocked the secrets of homemade pasta, one of Italy’s most cherished culinary treasures. By taking the time and effort to make pasta from scratch, you have embraced the essence of slow food and the joy of creating something with your own hands.


Remember, food travel goes beyond the boundaries of geography. With every bite of your homemade pasta, you can transport yourself to the rustic kitchens of Italy, where generations of cooks have passed down their treasured recipes.


So, continue your food travel adventures, exploring new cuisines and flavors, and bringing the world to your plate. Whether you’re in Italy or in the comfort of your own kitchen, the journey of culinary exploration is one that never ceases to inspire and delight.


Now, it’s time to savor your homemade pasta creation. Buon appetito!