Losing my Pasta Making Virginity

It is very easy to get misled by the media but after many hours of TV watching and magazine reading I was beginning to think that I must be the last woman on earth who did not make her own pasta. However, thanks to my lovely husband, who was clearly paying attention to my multiple hints, on Christmas morning I opened my very own, shiny, chrome plated pasta machine.

Now, I didn’t use it straight away (we had other food plans for Christmas day…) so I had a little time to research pasta recipes and to begin to get concerned about the multiple “right” methods there are out there.

In the end I settled on a Jamie Oliver recipe on the basis that he seems like a nice bloke and his recipes have always worked for me in the past. Plus I guess that Gennaro Contaldo might have taught him a thing or two about Italian food. Jamie’s recipe called for 600g / 1lb 6oz Tipo 00 pasta flour and 6 large, free range eggs.

I would like to tell you a tale of instant perfection but the truth is that I made my first dough on the work surface in the traditional manner, found it very difficult to work in all the flour, kneaded the dough until I had completely eradicated all sign of my bingo wings and then put it in the bin. The dough simply would not form into one big smooth lump and deep valleys refused to be incorporated into the whole. I contemplated adding water or olive oil but, in a crisis of confidence, decided that I did not have the experience to start experimenting at this stage.

By now I had also run out of eggs but, after a quick trip to the local shop and with my enthusiasm intact, I started again. This time I made the dough in the food processor. I also halved the amount of flour and eggs as the previous dough ball looked huge to me. After a little more work on my upper arms I had a reasonably smooth, silky dough (which still had a few, forgivable valleys) and was ready to rest both it and myself for half an hour.

Soon it was time to play with the shiny pasta machine. Jamie advocates using a small piece of disposable dough to clean the rollers of dust which sounds immensely sensible to me, so I did. He also suggests working the dough repeatedly through the two widest settings in order to produce really silky dough – I found that this extra effort was definitely worthwhile. Then the magic began and after producing long, thin sheets of pasta I used the cutting attachment to turn it into tagliatelle.

Ten minutes later we sat down to big bowls of pasta and homemade pesto. Yum. The pasta was lighter in texture than any bought pasta I have tried (including fresh pasta) and none of us experienced that bloated feeling you sometimes get when eating refined flour products, so that was a plus too. Just in case you were wondering, the halved recipe also produced far too much pasta for 3 hungry adults.

Afterwards, when talking to my friends about this, I discovered that I don’t actually know anyone else who makes their own pasta although many of them have pasta machines gathering dust on top of a cupboard. All I can say is, if you have a couple of hours to spare on a wet Sunday afternoon – give it a go. How else can you combine a good workout with a home cooked dinner for your family? Now to experiment – where’ s that semolina?

Egg Pasta Recipe

Pesto Recipe








Egg Pasta Recipe

Egg Pasta Recipe

For the original visit Jamie’s website.


300g (10.5 oz) tipo “00” pasta flour

3 large, free range eggs (don’t be tempted to use medium without adjusting the quantity of flour – it does matter)


Place the flour and eggs in the food processor and whizz together until the mixture looks like large breadcrumbs. Tip the “crumbs” onto the work surface and bring it together into a ball using your hands.

Knead the dough thoroughly, pushing and pulling it until it feels smooth and silky and there are no rough, floury bits left. Wrap it tightly in cling film and put it in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Clamp the pasta machine to the edge of a long, clean work surface and dust the surface with flour. Take your pasta dough (depending on how much you are making you may find it easier to cut it into more manageable lumps – re-wrap any pasta you are not currently working with) and flatten it out into a rough rectangle.

Set the pasta machine at its widest setting and roll the dough through it. If it sticks dust the dough with flour.

Click the machine down one setting and roll the dough through again.

Click the pasta machine back up to the widest setting, fold the dough in half and roll it through. Click back down one setting and roll it through again.

Repeat this folding and rolling process five or six times to thoroughly work the dough.

When your dough is silky and smooth from this repeated rolling process take it through the machine once at every setting starting with the widest and finishing with the narrowest. Your dough will probably be nice and thin but a little mis-shapen.

Fold your dough once more, this time taking care to get a nice neat rectangle then roll it once through each of the settings again (widest to narrowest). This time you should have nice, neat, rectangular sheets of pasta.

You can either cut this into sheets for lasagne, hand cut it into shapes, use the cutting attachment to produce ribbons of tagliatelle or fettucine or use a mould to make ravioli etc. Each of these requires a different thickness of pasta so feel free to experiment.

Whatever you choose, don’t let your pasta dry out too much before dropping it into a big pan of boiling, salted water. Fresh pasta takes very little cooking – 3 to 4 minutes at most. Add your sauce, serve and enjoy.