Fresh pasta dough
A classic Italian fresh pasta recipe. Experiment by adding your own flavourings and making different pasta shapes.
Place the flour in a food processor. Add the eggs and keep pulse until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (it shouldn't be dusty, nor should it be a big, gooey ball). This only takes a minute. (Alternatively, you can do this by hand. Put the flour on the work surface and form a well in the centre. Crack in the eggs and use your hand to draw in flour from the edges, mixing in the centre until all the flour is incorporated and you have a solid dough.)
Tip out the dough and knead to form into a ball shape. Knead it for 1 minute, it should be quite stiff and hard to knead. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before using. (The pasta dough can be kept in the fridge up to 24 hours.)
Now cut the dough into 2 pieces. For each piece, flatten with a rolling pin to about 5mm/¼ in) thickness. Dust the pasta with flour and pass it through the pasta machine at its widest setting, folding and rolling 7 times (not changing the setting) until you have a rectangular shape 7.5x18cm/3x7 in. It is important to work the dough until it is nice and shiny, as this gives it the bouncy texture. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Now you are ready to roll out. Start with the pasta machine at its widest setting, pass the dough through the rollers. Do not fold but repeat this process, decreasing the roller setting down grade by grade with each pass. For most uses, take the pasta down to the penultimate setting - especially for ravioli, as you are sandwiching two layers together when it is folded. (You can roll pasta by hand with a rolling pin, but it will certainly give you a workout!)
1. Always cover sitting dough with cling film or a damp tea towel to prevent it drying out.
2. Do not add oil to the cooking water. It is a fallacy that it prevents sticking and is therefore a complete waste of oil.
3. Do not dredge the pasta in flour to prevent sticking, as the flour turns to glue when cooked and, ironically, causes the pasta to stick together. Use semolina flour from Italian delis instead.