Homemade pasta doesn't always require a pasta machine, although having one will make it easier to roll the dough as thin as possible. Friends and I made pasta the old fashioned way without a pasta machine, because I'm sure folks were making pasta well before machines were invented, right?
The recipe we used came from Michael Chiarello. We found the pasta to be very easy to work with and it will require some elbow grease to roll out. The key thing we found was not to put too much flour on the surface because it can toughen the dough, thus making it harder to handle. As for cutting, you can cut the pasta as thin or thick as you'd like. The width is what primarily seems to differentiate the pastas.
We made a few kinds of flavors including the traditional plain, one with whole wheat and for fun, we made a spinach pesto that we mixed in for a spinach pesto pasta. Feel free to experiment and try flavoring your pastas too. Whether it's your favorite pesto recipe, or even fresh or dried herbs or spices, don't be afraid to be creative!
recipe adapted from Michael Chiarello
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup semolina flour, plus more for dusting
6 large eggs, at room temperature
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt, a pinch
Make the dough. Sift both flours together on a large work surface and make a well in the center. Place the eggs, olive oil and a pinch of salt in a bowl, then pour into the well; with a fork, break up the eggs, then gradually mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture just until combined.
Knead by hand. Gather the dough into 2 equal-size balls; flour the surface. To knead each piece, push the dough away from you with the heel of your hand, fold the dough over itself and turn it counterclockwise. Continue pushing, folding and turning until the dough is smooth and elastic, 4 to 5 minutes.
Rest the dough. Pat each piece into a ball. Flatten slightly, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. (You can freeze 1 ball for later, or roll out both and freeze the cut pasta.)
Roll out the dough. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and dust with flour. Starting in the middle, push away from you with a rolling pin, easing up on the pressure as you approach the edge. Continue rolling the dough into a sheet, turning occasionally, until you can see your fingers through the bottom. Let dry about 10 minutes.
Cut the pappardelle. Dust the top of the sheet of dough with flour and loosely roll it into a cylinder. Using a sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch-wide slices. Unwrap the noodles; dust with semolina and gently toss to separate. Place on a sheet pan and cover with a tea towel until ready to cook (or freeze in freezer bags for up to 2 months).
For spinach pesto pasta: to the dough, add and knead into the dough about 1/2 cup of spinach pesto:
2-3 cups of baby spinach
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt to taste