I was gifted a Mecarto pasta maker some time ago, I’m now starting to do research on recipes. What type of pasta did you make and with what ingredients? What’s your beloved recipes? Thanks in advance for sharing.
Hi there! I’ve been in Italia just a couple of weeks ago. Really, Italy is an amazing place, both in terms of the landscape and its cuisine. Pasta cooked with olive oi is one of the tastiest traditional meal I’ve even eaten in my life. They do indeed know how to cook with olive oil. Here is the link to the recipe I had a chance to try.
Springtime Pasta with Asparagus, Cremini Mushrooms, Peas & Parsley - a must-try. Strongly recommend.
Thanks and welcome Emely. Do you make fresh pasta at home? If you have great recipe for the dough, it will be nice to see that.
I don’t check the cooking boards that much but I do have that same past maker and I really love it. (I’m not the dough recipe person) I think all we use is flour, egg and water for a plain pasta. I’m not a big fan of the home made “noodles” like spaghetti or linguine, 90% of what I use it for is a sheet of pasta. I use the sheet(s) for either manicotti or ravioli’s /dumplings. I’ve wanted to give home made pierogi’s a shot too but I haven’t tried that yet.
Make sure you keep the rollers well covered in flour. They can become very sticky which leads to the pasta shredding or tearing as you roll it though, so ample flour on the rollers will help prevent that.
I have made a lot of pasta over the years . . . so I don’t have a recipe to share anymore - but in general I use 2 eggs per cup of flour (egg sizes vary so it isn’t always easy to say exactly). Others say the ratio is 3 parts flour to 2 parts egg by weight - but I’ve never weighed for pasta, it is pretty forgiving. I am an advocate for a little salt and a little oil in the dough.
I like spinach pasta as well - and have used both cooked spinach (wrung out and finely chopped) and spinach powder. The cooked spinach adds moisture so just hold back an egg.
If you’re making egg dough and the dough feels dry after you’ve mixed it together (by hand) I add water to bring it to the right feeling, not more egg. The more egg approach is much harder to mix in than a few tablespoons of water.
With my fresh dough, I prefer wide, hand cut noodles as opposed to cut into spaghetti using the cutting wheel of the machine (though sometimes I do use the fettuccini cutter).
I have NEVER had success with the ravioli maker attachments for those rolling machines. I much prefer to hand make any ravioli. There are so many options for ravioli . . . . .
- cut rounds/squares from a rolled sheet
- take a long rolled sheet and put 2 rows of dollops filling down the sheet and cover with another sheet
- take a long sheet and put 1 row of larger dollops down one side and fold sheet in 1/2
- I have a ravioli rolling pin that I use when I hand roll out sheets of dough and am using just a ricotta filling (in Boston I can get very good fresh ricotta but it still isn’t as good as the ricotta you can get in Italy - but I still like a simple ravioli sometimes)
- I have a ravioli . . . tray with indentations for when I want perfect, consistent ravioli
I recommend brushing dough with an egg wash to seal the ravioli, I’m never as successful when I brush with water to seal. If I’m doing a large number of ravioli I brush one side of the dough entirely with egg, then make the filling dollops and cover. it is much faster than trying to brush around the filling, but you have to work a little faster so the egg wash doesn’t dry out on you.
I love fresh pasta and once you have done it a while you can get it done quickly and easily. I rarely, if ever, use a “tomato” sauce with my fresh pasta (I may have some quickly cooked fresh tomatoes mixed in but not a “sauce”). More often a butter/oil/fat to keep things lubricated. (e.g. sausage with fresh peas or spring vegetables with olive oil and shaved parm or last night we had an asparagus and butter puree sauce with shrimp).
This is pretty much how I have always made my ravi’s. I do two sheets (depending on width) and place dollops of my prepared ricotta a few inches a part on one sheet, then top it with a second sheet and cut the sheets into individual ravioli’s. I also always use egg wash to seal. I also seal them using a fork, I’ve tried using a rolling sealer & cutter but I always find they unseal themselves with the tool.
For the manicotti I only use one sheet, fill it down the middle with prepared ricotta and then roll the sheet over onto it’s self making it appear like a true cylinder vs. a rolled sheet. Never had a complaint! lol
I’ve never had luck with those pastry wheel style cutter/sealers either.
If “you” (not you specifically but the general you) are having trouble with ravioli unsealing when cooking a few things to keep in mind . . . .
- air in the ravioli will expand when cooking and can cause split seams, so try to press air out when sealing and shaping ravioli. You can even use a pin to prick sealed ravioli and help push air out after they have been sealed.
- cook them in simmering water instead of at a rolling boil
- let them rest after being sealed for a while so that the egg wash has some time to glue them together
- cook a few extra and eat the ones that burst to taste test and make sure the dough is done
- the more finely chopped your filling ingredients are (assuming you’re not doing just ricotta for example) the better luck you will have squishing things around to get things to seal (including pushing air out). You’ll never get the dough to seal over and around a piece of chicken (for example) that is right on the seam.
For something a little different, there is a fresh pasta recipe in Rossetto Kasper’s Splendid Table that calls for white wine in the dough - makes for a very nice, fresh tasting pasta.
Interesting. Do you have the recipe?
Thanks a lot for all the tips. I guess I will have more questions when I have my hands on that, probably next week or so.
Oh last tip, use a tool to help you tighten the vice onto your counter. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to use if not extremely secured to your counter top. I literally use my wooden spoon as a fulcrum for tightening. (and I’m a 6’ 4 guy)
Sure, it’s two jumbo eggs, 1/2 cup dry white wine and 14 oz flour - basically just using wine in place of half the eggs in a normal pasta recipe.
I use the roller attachments for the Kitchen Aid mixer to make my pasta. Since I have to get the machine out, and it usually gets covered on flour anyway, I make my pasta dough in the machine rather than using the traditional well method. This recipe works for me:
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup semolina flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbs. water, plus more as needed
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the all-purpose and semolina flours, salt and olive oil. Beat on low speed just until combined, about 30 seconds.
In a small pitcher or other pourable container, whisk together the eggs and water. With the mixer on low speed, slowly drizzle in the egg mixture and beat until the flour has been absorbed into the egg mixture, about 2 minutes.
Stop the mixer and, using your hands, squeeze a small amount of dough into a ball. It should be moist enough to hold together but not sticky; if it is too dry, add more water, 1 tsp. at a time.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into 2 balls. Wrap separately with plastic wrap, then flatten each ball into a disk. Let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Attach the pasta roller to the electric mixer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Unwrap 1 dough disk and dust lightly with all-purpose flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick and no wider than the pasta roller. Roll the dough through the rollers once at the widest setting, then lay the pasta on the work surface and fold it into thirds. Repeat the process 2 more times, rolling out the dough, rolling it through the rollers at the widest setting, and folding it into thirds each time.
Now thin the dough by rolling it through the rollers at the second-to-widest setting. Repeat, setting the rollers one notch narrower each time, until the desired thinness is reached. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and roll out the other dough disk.
Attach a pasta cutter to the mixer according to the manufacturer’s instructions and cut the pasta into the desired shape. If not cooking the pasta immediately, transfer it to a baking sheet and dust lightly with flour to prevent sticking. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Makes about 1 lb. dough.
I usually keep my dough a little on the wet side as it is easier to work in extra four than extra water if it is too dry. And I don’t always follow those rolling instructions exactly.
Intriguing. Reminds me of the Cooks Illustrated advice to add vodka to pie pastry dough.
Not much to add to previous posts, except it made me recall making fresh lasagna pasta with my son and his girlfriend (pictured) and how we worked to dry it just a bit beforehand. Good luck! It’s work, but fun.
I used to use that trick, but discovered after Kenji Lopez-Alt left CI to start Serious Eats that it isn’t really necessary. It is sort of an insurance policy to prevent too much gluten development in that pie crust, but the other technique in the recipe (coating 2/3 of the flour completely with butter instead of cutting it in to pea sized pieces as is traditional) is the real key to preventing excess gluten development. Do that step right and you can skip the vodka.
Anyway, I don’t know if the wine in this pasta recipe inhibits gluten development (I didn’t notice this dough needing any more kneading than any other more standard recipe), but the wine does contribute a lovely, subtle flavor and overall lightness to the pasta.
I’ve been using the Serious Eats recipe of 280g “00” 2 eggs and 4 yolks and haven’t deviated from that formula yet. It makes a silky and pleasant result, albeit one that isn’t as yellow as I’d like.
Other recipes call for more egg yolks, which delivers a vibrant yellow dough at the cost of using many more yolks. I think I may be able to hack this by using “golden yolk” eggs like the ones I can get from Nijiya Market.
If memory serves . . . that is about the equivalent to 2 eggs per cup of flour, which is what I use too.
I’d be reluctant to multiply that recipe though because of the higher egg yolk ratio. I like extra yolks don’t get me wrong, but yolks are mostly fat and little water. So I would imagine if you were doing 3x that recipe that you may not have enough water to have the dough come together correctly.
When I’m doing large batches of pasta (12+ eggs) I go down to 1.5 eggs per cup of flour to start and then use water if it is dry. Egg sizes vary so much that if I keep the 2 eggs per cup ratio for large batches, I find that the final dough is too wet and requires a lot of flour to bring it to the right consistency.
And you’re right - back yard eggs with bright orange yolks always make pretty pasta.
That’s an astute observation about the variation between egg sizes. When egg sizes vary, and this is particularly pronounced when using pasture eggs, it’s sometimes the egg white amount that rises, which translates to more water and a wetter dough.
I haven’t made any batches larger than a single (and have done some half portions for a quick lunch), but even there, I’ve seen slight variances depending on the batch of eggs. I’ll err towards selecting an “average” sized egg for the 2 whole eggs I add and leave the irregulars for the ones I separate the yolks from.