Homemade Pasta, The Way Grandma Used To Make It….Well, Sort Of

Recently I was inspired to make our own homemade pasta. After dining at my brother and sister-n-law’s house and realizing just how easy it was for them to make their own pasta, I decided to give it a try. (thanks Domestic Nest!)

Growing up I always heard my Mom talk about going to her Grandma’s house on the weekends, and watching her make homemade noodles. My great Grandma was a from a generation of Hungarian women that made their own bread daily, used a crank washer and made homemade noodles every week. My Mom used to talk about how Grandma would dry the noodles on the backs of her dining room chairs. My great Grandma could knead the dough quickly, and make pasta with such precision. I guess if you do anything that often, you are bound to be good at it. I recently discovered that kneading dough should really be a form of upper body strength training. It is hard work if you aren’t used to it! But I soon found out that it is totally worth it, there is no comparison between store bought pasta and homemade pasta. Homemade pasta wins, hands down.

cutdough2_250Armed with a recipe I received in a cookbook we received as a wedding present, a desire to honor my Hungarian roots, and a taste for fresh pasta, I started our journey. There could not be a more simple recipe than just adding flour and eggs, and rolling them out to make dough. After letting the dough rest briefly, we then began to cut the dough into our desired noodle width. We then cooked the fresh pasta right away, although we could have let it dry and used it later as well. I was surprised at how easy the recipe was. What I did quickly learn to appreciate was my Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook. We were also amazed at how much more evenly shaped the noodles look, and how much thinner they can be, when you use a pasta machine. We also discovered that when making ravioli, the pasta machine is worth its weight in gold. You simply cannot get the dough thin enough by hand rolling it. Well maybe my stronger Hungarian relatives could, but I certainly could not! We also found that you don’t need a special dough cutter for ravioli, we used a pizza cutter and it worked just as well.

rolldough_250We were most thrilled with of the wonderful taste that fresh pasta delivers. The texture is much softer and absorbs the sauce better, especially when the pasta is enjoyed right away and not dried. The richness of the flour and the dried herbs is unbelievable. My noodles were of varying sizes when we hand cut them. So I may not have perfected the art of homemade pasta like great Grandma did, but you have to start somewhere right? And really as long as it tastes good, I guess I am on the right track! Hopefully my great Grandma would be proud of my husband and I as we attempted our first batch of homemade pasta. I can’t imagine eating pasta any other way now.

Homemade Pasta

Preparation Time: 1 hour, Cook Time: 2 minutes, Yields about 1 pound of pasta


  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp finely crushed dried basil, marjoram, or sage (optional)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp olive oil


cutdough_250In a small bowl, mix the eggs, water and olive oil and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, dried basil and salt. Make a well in the middle. Add the egg mixture and stir to combine. Lightly sprinkle a clean kneading surface with flour. Knead the dough mixture until it is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Cover with a clean towel and let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and roll each portion into a 12-inch square, about 1/16 inch thick. If using a pasta machine, pass each portion through the machine according to your machine’s directions until dough is 1/16 inch thick. Let stand, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Cut the dough to desired thickness, about 1/8 inch thick for linguine or ¼ inch thick for fettuccine. Tip: Loosely roll each set of dough 1 at a time and cut into strips to save time.

To serve immediately, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water, adding a little at a time. Cook only for about 1-2 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Drain in a colander.

To serve later or to store, spread the cut pasta over a cooling rack and let pasta dry overnight or until completely dry. Store in an airtight container and chill in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or dry the pasta for at least 1 hour and place it in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 8 months. When ready to cook the dried pasta, increase the cooking time above by 1 to 2 minutes.

Tip: Use a Saturday afternoon to double or even triple the recipe above, and freeze the cut pasta to have fresh pasta on the ready for months to come.

As written for Your Smart Kitchen August 2009
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  • Summer says:

    I’ve never dried or frozen it before, what a great way to enjoy it later without the work! Thanks Ali!

  • Megan says:

    There is nothing better than homemade pasta. I love it so much that I have a hard time eating the regular 99-cents-a-package stuff at the grocery store.

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