Homemade Pasta

When we cut the plastic back in 2011, I swapped many store-bought foods with homemade versions, such as:

If you love pasta and start on the zero-waste path, finding a replacement for it can pose one of your first dilemmas, as many bulk stores don’t carry pasta.

I have good news and bad news.

The good news is you can easily make pasta at home and you don’t need fancy equipment to do so. You really need only a wooden board, a rolling pin and a knife.

And now the bad news: Once you’ve tasted your homemade pasta, you’ll never want to eat store-bought again. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Homemade does require a bit of time but tastes so so good. The difference in flavor and texture is like the difference between a homegrown tomato you pick off the vine in August versus a store-bought tomato you buy under the harsh fluorescent lights of a supermarket in January.

Here is the short version of the recipe

Combine 1/2 cup white flour and 1/2 cup semolina flour. Make a well in the center and crack eggs into it. Mix eggs and flour and form a ball. Knead for about seven minutes. Rest for several minutes. Roll out into a very thin rectangle. Roll the rectangle up in to a tube. Slice off noodles. Cook in boiling salted water for two minutes. This will feed about two people.

Now for the long version with lots of pictures…

For this post, I used half white flour, half semolina. Most people have white flour on hand and you can use 100 percent white. It makes delicious pasta. I think the semolina tastes even better. You can’t go wrong with either one though.Β I use unbleached white flour, not 00. I don’t have anything against 00, I just don’t usually have it in my pantry.

pasta ingredients
1 cup total flour, 2 eggs

1. Combine flours in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack eggs into it. If you are more coordinated than I, do all of this directly on the wooden surface you’ll knead the dough on.

2. With a fork or your hands, mix the eggs and start tossing in the flour. Continue mixing in the flour until you have a shaggy dough.

3. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about seven minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. As you knead, add more flour to your work surface as necessary. You don’t want sticky dough. If you make bread, this dough will seem much more stiff. That’s what you want. In the pics below, you can see (I hope) the dough transforming from a mass of sticky chunks to a smoother blob.

4. Let the dough rest for about 10 to 20 minutes. At this point, I’ll start cleaning up a bit as I wait.

5. Divide the dough into two equal portions. The smaller portions make the dough easier to work with.

6. Roll out the first portion as thinly as you can into a rectangle (more or less). I was able to get the dough below down to about 1 mm thick. Dust with flour as necessary as you continue to roll out the dough thinner and thinner. You don’t want it sticking to your rolling pin or your work surface.

7. Dust with more flour if necessary and roll up into a log.

8. Slice the log into (roughly) equal portions.

9. Unwind your noodles. That’s it! You’ve made your own pasta.

If you’re not cooking right away, toss the noodles with more flour and turn handfuls into nests. Let them rest for about half an hour to dry out a bit.

All the dough rolled out and cut

Store the pasta in the refrigerator for up to two days. When I make this, I’ll crank out enough for a couple of meals to save time on food prep. Store the pasta in a glass jar or dish. Except for produce in the crisper, I store all of my food in glass containers in the refrigerator. I love being able to see at a glance what I have in there.

If you have a pasta maker, use that. It really does make perfect noodles. But before you invest in one, I’d suggest making pasta by hand as I’ve done here. And if you want a great deal on a pasta machine, look in thrift shops. I see these regularly. People often buy them, never use them and then just give them away.

homemade pasta in pasta maker
Pasta maker in action

To cook

Cook in boiling salted water. I add 1/2 teaspoon salt to a large pot of water. Cook the noodles for two minutes or so, drain, and toss with whatever topping you like. Sometimes I’ll simply toss them in olive oil, wedges of tomatoes from the farmers market and salt and pepper. So simple yet so tasty.

homemade noodles
Pasta machine noodles cooking

18 Comment

  1. I love this post so much. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I hope to try this one day.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Connie,
      My pleasure. Thanks for checking it out. I hope you like it πŸ™‚
      ~ Anne Marie

  2. Madeleine Lawrence says: Reply

    Have you tried wholewheat pasta, and if so any tips? Can you dry this pasta and store it? I’m asking because of the eggs – I’ve only ever made egg-free pasta for drying.

    I was lucky enough to find a $100, never used pasta machine at a garage sale for $20, so good suggestion for people not to run out and buy a new one. I bet if people ask on a swap site they might find one too, it’s amazing what you can source if you ask.

    Madeleine x

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Madeleine,
      I have made it with some whole wheat but not all whole wheat. That doesn’t mean it won’t work though. There are so many variations! I have tried drying it when I’ve used 100 percent white flour and that didn’t work very well. It was very brittle. But I will try with the semolina. I keep meaning to dry it but we always eat it before I get a chance. I’ve added that to my to-blog-about list πŸ˜‰ That is a great find! Lucky you. Great idea about asking on the swap site too. Thanks for that.
      ~ Anne Marie

  3. Another question for you… Can this be frozen (only one way to find out I guess…) I know myself well enough to know I won’t be whipping it up for an easy dinner but if I could make a bulk lot and then defrost as needed – definitely an option!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Nikki,
      I haven’t tried freezing it but have read that you can freeze fresh egg pasta for a couple of weeks. I would like to do that also, make a pile of it at once and then just grab what I want out of the freezer.
      ~ Anne Marie

  4. Another way to prepare pasta is to grate the ball of pasta dough on your cheese grater. This small crumb like pasta is good in soups, and you avoid all the labor of rolling out the dough and slicing it. You can let it dry for one to two days (even the egg dough), and store it on shelf for months. I store it in an old paper bag from flour.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Kristina,
      This is genius! Thanks for sharing. I’ve had lots of questions about drying and find the long noodles get awfully brittle when dry. This is a great solution. And easy!
      ~ Anne Marie

  5. My Italian grandma would dry her egg based pasta over ckothes lines, chairs draoed with dish towels, whatever then reuse a large pasra box we had from the Italian store. She did this in a sunnier part of the basement until the noodles were brittle. Never lasted long.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Catherine,
      Thanks for this info. People always ask about drying. I’ve found the pasta gets brittle quickly when I use all white flour. Do you know what kind of flour your grandma used?
      ~ Anne Marie

  6. I recently discovered your blog and have been really enjoying reading through your articles. I’m not much for commenting, but I wanted to say thank you for the wealth of information and time you’ve invested. I look forward to your future insights.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thanks so much, David. I appreciate it πŸ™‚ ~ Anne Marie

  7. You make me feel so empowered!!!!!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you Melissa. That’s music to my ears! ~ Anne Marie

  8. I once made pasta by hand, although mine was vegan. Easily the best spaghetti I’ve ever eaten in my life. I love the idea of rolling up the noodle and cutting it, that would have saved me a bit of time, haha.
    Your recipes always look sooooo freaking yummy! <3

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Thank you! There is no comparison between homemade and store-bought. I have to make it this way now. The first time I made it, I didn’t roll it up either. Took me forever to cut it up! A pizza cutter would have helped but rolling it super quick. I’m working on a vegan version. I’m almost there. The last iteration was close. There are SO many variables with pasta. Thanks for checking out the post πŸ™‚

      1. Love homemade pasta. Great, simple instructions.

        Please post when you’ve perfected a vegan version. Thanks!

      2. The Zero-Waste Chef says:

        Thank you, Jay. I’m almost there! I have been trying sourdough eggless pasta (flour, salt, olive oil and sourdough starter, which is simply flour and water). I think the next iteration might be the one. Fingers crossed. There are so many combos to try! ~ Anne Marie

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