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Home-Made Pasta 2006/11/27

Posted by Daddy Dave in Cooking, Tips and Tricks.

[Picture of WL Pasta Maker]Making fresh pasta is cheap, quick and dead easy. However, fresh pasta is only for Lasagna, Cannelloni, Ravioli etc. The Italians I’ve met insist that dried pasta is best for spaghetti, tagliatelli, twirls, swirls and anything needing to be ‘al dente’. Before I knew this I wanted to impress Ruth by making dinner one night — 100% fresh spaghetti made from scratch — I even bought a WL Pasta Making Machine from OMC Marcato in Italy. It cooked in seconds and was far too soft. What a disaster!

Work Time: 15 mins
RestTime: 30 mins
Makes: 680g (loads)


  • Large mixing bowl;
  • Small mixing bowl;
  • Egg beater or fork;
  • Counter top, clean and floured;
  • Long kitchen knife;
  • Clear plastic wrap/ cling film;
  • Rolling pin.
  • Pasta machine (if desired).

Shopping List:

  • 450g Flour [Strong Plain White];
  • 90ml (6 tbsp) Olive Oil;
  • 4 eggs [size 3];
  • pinch salt.

To Make Fresh Pasta From Scratch:

Into the large bowl put the pinch of salt and all the flour. Mix up of a few seconds then make a crater in the flour.

Crack the four eggs into the small mixing bowl and beat with whisk or fork. Pour this into the flour crater.

With one hand, begin mixing the flour, salt and eggs by grasping and folding, with the other hand pour in the olive oil bit by bit, mixing in. When the oil is poured in, use both hands to knead the dough.

This is where you might lose heart and think you’ve done something wrong; the mixture is a sticky mess — but persevere! After a while you will suddenly be better off without the large mixing bowl, so transfer the dough to the counter top, and keep on kneading, pressing hard and folding back onto itself. You are aiming for smoothish with no raggy bits. From the start of the hand kneading, it should take no more than 10 mins (but it might seem like longer)!

When you think it’s done, roll into a ball, and cover in the cling-film, and leave it for half-an-hour.

Take the ball and unwrap the plastic film, take the long knife and cut into quarters, set one aside and wrap up the three quarters in the cling-film.

The unwrapped quarter (about 170g) should be rolled flat using the rolling pin on the lightly floured counter top. Roll it as thin as you like.

That’s it really. The wrapped quarters can be put in the fridge for later (a couple of days is fine). The rolled-out pasta can be cut with a sharp knife for lasagne sheets — I would probably still put the rolled out pasta through the pasta machine to get a really even sheet thickness for ravioli or lasagne. I sprinkle flour on to keep the sheets from sticking to each other and everything else! It is also a good idea to go slow — let the pasta dry out slightly before cutting shapes (although too dry will crack). It is also better in my opinion if the pasta is allowed to dry even further after being cut into shapes or after being filled (ravioli style) — just for maybe 6 or 7 minutes before cooking, time for the pot of water to come to the boil. Having said that, if the pasta sheets are to be cooled (for salad) or set aside for any significant length of time, I would hold them under cold running tap water first to remove the starch and stop sticking.


[Picture of pasta drying rack]I have made tagliatelli without the pasta machine — I just rolled out a sheet thinly, floured the top and with a sharp knife, cut strips of about 6mm width. It cooked in about 3 minutes but was not as al dente as dried. I know a lot of people like to make from scratch and then hang on pasta drying devices, but why bother? Dried pasta from the shops costs about 20p just now and cannot be detected by taste… honestly! I have seen Italian women make spaghetti by rolling pasta strips on a table — obviously they live too far from the shops!


1. Val Gibbons - 2007/04/01

I’ve just bought a second hand WL Pasta Machine, but unfortunately there was no instruction leaflet with it. Do you know where I can get the instructions from? Any help – will be very grateful!

2. Mummy Ruth - 2007/04/02

As far as we can recall there were no instructions with the new one (although the box did have helpful photographs on it). It is however pretty intuitive and self-evident — do not imagine for a minute that there is more to it or some hidden features!

You don’t have to, but you can clamp the device to a worktop edge — just make sure there is enough room to rotate the handle. Set the dial and dust with flour.

You will no doubt already have rolled out your dough flat, so slice off a strip about the same width as the machine, and simply feed it through while turning the handle — the pasta will leave at the other end and curl up on the counter in front of the machine.

There are three possible entry points — depending on what you want as the outcome: lasagne, tagliatelli or spaghetti. You slot in the crank handle into the hole nearest the slot you are using to feed through the pasta.

Hope this helps!

3. joe - 2007/05/08
4. dennis - 2007/05/09

The recipes in Joes link are in Imperial sadly and even tho its for a diffrent pasta machine (ie not a wl) their is tips for cleaning that is useful and will work on all machines maybe.

5. HR - 2007/12/26

Any ideas on where I can buy a replacement crank?

6. Home-Made Ravioli « devine - 2010/04/12

[…] ravioli, ricotta, secret, semolina trackback A few years back I published a post called “Home-Made Pasta” where I described my pasta making routine.  I’ve made pasta like that loads of times […]

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