Pasta, Techniques

Arm-Wrestling the Machine – Fresh Tagliatelle

I’ll be perfectly honest, I don’t make a lot of pasta from scratch. I have a pasta maker, it’s very shiny… it’s been out of the box a total of 3 times since I bought it in 2003. Once to retrieve the instruction booklet so I could learn how to use it, once to show it off to an envious friend, and once to mangle a batch of lasagna noodles – they got wrapped around the little rollers and formed a solid mass of dough deep inside the works. I spent the next 2 weeks with a skewer and a toothpick fishing out the crusty, dried eggy bits out of the workings. I wiped the machine down, shined it with Windex, and put it back in the cupboard…way in the back… behind the salad spinner.

So, I usually end up buying dried pasta.

But in getting ready for the Chicken Vesuvio post (coming up next) I decided that IF I was going through all the trouble of making the dish… I OUGHT to bite the bullet and make the pasta as well.

And that’s where the trouble began…
Pasta recipes are designed for dinners of 12 to 15 people – meaning, you’re going to be making a boat load of pasta. I don’t need 12 servings of any noodle, and especially not if it’s going to en-robe the pasta machine again. So I played around with a couple of recipes, altered a few things, and came up with a recipe for a Four Serving Tagliatelle.

Fresh Tagliatelle
Serves 4
1 1/2 Cup AP Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Water
Quart Zipper Bag
Large Mixing Bowl
Extra Flour for Dusting
For Cooking
5 Quarts Water
2 Tablespoons Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
6 Quart Stock Pot

  • Place the flour and salt in the bowl, make a small well in the center
  • Add the eggs, oil and water to the well
  • With the fork, begin bringing the flour into the wet a little at a time
  • Once all the flour is incorporated, turn the dough onto the counter-top with a little extra flour (it is going to be very dry and crumbly – don’t worry, it will moisten up as you work it)
  • Knead the flour on the counter-top for 10 minutes
  • Place the dough in the zipper bag, press out all the air and seal
  • Refrigerate overnight
  • When you’re ready to use:
  • Take the pasta out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you’re going to use it
  • Cut the dough in half
  • Form into a rough rectangle, and with the machine on the largest setting, dust the rectangle with flour and roll through the wheels
  • Fold the dough into thirds and repeat for 3 times
  • Once you have completed the third, lower the setting one notch and roll again (dust the pasta if it begins to adhere)
  • Continue to drop the setting a notch and roll the pasta sheet though until you have it on the next to last setting
  • Dust with flour and roll the sheet into a loose roll
  • Repeat the process with the next batch of dough
  • Cut across the rolls into 1/4″ strips and shake the pasta strips loose so that they unroll
  • Allow to air dry for 30 minutes
  • To Cook:
  • Bring the water and salt to boil in the stock pot
  • Add the pasta, letting it fall through your hands so that it doesn’t clump together
  • Boil for 4 minutes
  • Test for personal preference on doneness at this point
  • Strain and drain
  • With the pot off the heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter (or suitable substitute) and dump the cooked pasta back in the pot
  • Toss to coat
  • Pour into a serving platter and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. I sure appreciate your making the effort to come up with less than a boat load of pasta! I just got a pasta machine as a present a few months ago (after some heavy duty hinting) and it's still in the box. Thanks for the warning. Looking forward to your Vesuvius!

  2. I love making fresh pasta! It is the only way we eat pasta anymore, although we have the KitchenAid motorized version, rather than the hand cranked one, so it makes it so much easier. Way to go trying this again! The Tagliatelle looks delicious. Glad to have found your blog and look forward to reading more!

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