Making fresh pasta is easier than you think.
The hardest part is kneading the dough long enough to create a toothsome pasta, it takes about 15 minutes by hand. I know, I know, 15 minutes kneading?! It is an arm workout but it is worth every second. You can also use a food processor in the beginning and shave a few minutes off your kneading time.
Fresh pasta absorbs pasta sauces better than dried. It has a delicate and tender texture that dried pasta does not have while still being al dente and sturdy. It holds up to heavier sauces but also pairs well with lighter pasta dishes with little or no sauce. Fresh pasta is always a showstopper.
Fresh Pasta Dough
Adapted from The Glorious Pasta of Italy
2 to 2 1/4 cups 00 flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon semolina, plus more for dusting dough
1.2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large eggs plus 1 yolk
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Put 2 cups flour and 1 tablespoon semolina flour and salt into food processor. Pulse to combine. Add eggs, yolk and 1 tablespoon olive oil to flour mixture. Pulse flour and egg mix until it resembles small curds. The dough will form a ball if you roll a small piece between your fingers. If mixture seems dry, add additional 1 tablespoon olive oil. If too wet and sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time until curds form.
Turn mixture out on a clean surface and begin to kneed into a ball. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough down and away. Fold dough towards you and repeat making quarterly turns after each knead.
Continue kneading for 5-10 minutes until your dough is smooth and silky. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes before stretching and cutting it.
*If mixing by hand, combine 2 1/4 cups flour, semolina and salt on a clean work surface. Form into a mound, creating a deep crater to break the eggs into. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into the well and with a fork, break and whisk the eggs together with the oil. Carefully and slowly begin to mix the flour into the egg mixture. Try not to break your well. If you do, just use your hands to spot the egg runoff and mix with hands until combined.
Form into a rough ball and begin kneading. Knead for 10-15 minutes until dough is smooth and silky. Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
After your pasta is done resting, set your pasta machine to the lowest setting. Cut your dough into quarters and form into a square. Put through pasta machine, fold in half and put through again on lowest setting.
Continue to increase the setting 1 level at a time on your pasta machine, carefully pushing pasta through rollers. Continue until pasta is desired thickness for whatever pasta you decide to make.