Recipes / Everyday Eats & Sweets

Easy Homemade Pasta From Scratch — No Machine Needed

Fresh homemade pasta (using what you already have in the kitchen)

Until I started making my own pasta, I always thought homemade pasta required a special pasta maker, a lot of space to hang up curtains of noodles, and a ton of time to devote in the kitchen.

The fancy red or green pasta with Italian words all over the packages? Wrote them off as impossible to replicate at home.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong.

You can make the best pasta at home (even colorful pasta) with the most basic of kitchen implements: a smooth surface, a rolling pin, a sharp knife, and a half-hour of hands-on time.

Small appliances can shave off a few minutes if you have a mixer to knead the dough or a pasta machine to roll it out, but once you get the hang of making pasta from scratch, your hands can be just as quick. (I promise!)

Beet pasta
Hand-cut pasta

It’s so easy that I’ll sometimes roll out a batch of pasta dough right before dinner.

This is possible, time-wise, because compared to the dried boxed pasta you can buy in the store, fresh homemade pasta is already luxurious on its own. Its velvety texture means it needs little more than a good tomato sauce to satisfy (or try my skin-on tomato sauce too, which is ridiculously easy to make).

My favorite is handmade linguine or fettucine. I love the rustic quality of hand-cut pasta — how each noodle is just slightly different in thickness or length.

Make Fresh Pasta Now to Freeze for Later

Quite often, I find myself making several batches of pasta at once so I can store and preserve them for future meals. (This is an especially fun task if you have kids at home to help.)

When it comes to preserving pasta, I’m a big proponent of freezing rather than drying for a few reasons:

  • Frozen pasta retains all the color, flavor, and texture of fresh pasta.
  • It cooks faster than dried pasta.
  • It won’t get moldy, since you can freeze it right away.
  • It saves space, since you won’t need to drape it over wooden dowels or the backs of chairs while you wait for the pasta to fully dry.
  • It won’t break during storage, a big issue with pasta that’s dry and brittle, especially if you lack adequate pantry space.

So if you find that you can’t use up all the pasta at once, I wholly recommend freezing the unused portions (which I’ll explain how to do below).

They don’t even need to be thawed when you’re ready to use them. Simply drop the frozen pasta into a boiling pot of salted water and add a couple extra minutes to the cooking time.

Spinach fettucine

The Magic Ratio for Homemade Pasta

For making pasta by hand, my magic ratio is 2 cups flour to 3/4 cup liquid.

This makes 1 pound of pasta, or 4 servings.

I use the “scoop and sweep” method for measuring flour: scoop a heaping cup of flour, then sweep a straightedge across the top.

If your flour has been compacted at the bottom of a bag or canister, fluff it up with a fork before scooping.

An unbleached all-purpose flour works well for the dough. There are special flours you can use to achieve a slightly different texture, like Italian “00” (doppio zero) or semolina flour, but in my opinion, you can make a mighty fine dough with the all-purpose flour you already have in the pantry.

The liquid consists of eggs, which give “bite” and body to the pasta; olive oil, which adds silkiness and a subtle richness; and if you’re so inclined, vegetable juice or fresh herbs for added color or flavor.

Homemade beet linguini
Flavor the dough with fresh parsley

I start my pasta the traditional way — by heaping flour onto a solid surface and whisking in the eggs — but beginning pasta makers may be better off doing that in a bowl until the process becomes second nature.

You might have to wash an extra dish, but at least you won’t get egg all over your shoe.

Below are four variations of my basic pasta recipe. The ingredients are a little different for each one, but the method is the same for all. Let me know which one’s your favorite!

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Egg pasta

Fresh Homemade Egg Pasta Recipe

Makes 1 pound

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil

Parsley pasta

Fresh Homemade Herb Pasta Recipe

Makes 1 pound

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (try basil or parsley)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Spinach pasta

Fresh Homemade Vegetable Pasta Recipe

Makes 1 pound

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable juice (try beet, spinach, or carrot juice, or even tomato paste or pumpkin puree to add color)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Fresh Homemade Squid Ink Pasta Recipe

Makes 1 pound

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
8 grams (or 2 x 4g packets) squid ink (I use this brand)

Master Method for All Recipes

Mound the flour onto your work surface and make a large well in the center. (Tip: I use my measuring cup to carve out a deep, perfect well about 5 inches in diameter.)

Crack each egg into the well, followed by the remaining ingredients in your chosen pasta recipe.

Crack each egg into the well

Using a fork, beat the eggs and oil (plus any herbs, vegetable juice, or squid ink, if using) until well combined.

Whisk the eggs

Little by little, add the flour to the egg mixture and beat until all of it is incorporated.

Mix the dough with your fork until it begins to take shape and you can gather it into a loose ball.

Add flour to the egg mixture
Incorporate the flour into the wet ingredients
Mix all the ingredients together with a fork
Pasta dough starting to take shape
Start kneading the pasta dough

With your hands, start kneading the dough. It will feel soft and jiggly at this stage, but keep kneading for about 10 minutes until the dough firms up.

I like to push the dough down and out with the heels of my hands, then fold it back over onto itself, rotate a quarter-turn, and push down again.

There’s no “proper” method for kneading; think of it as a really intense massage. You want to work the dough with your hands to develop the gluten, which gives it strength and elasticity.

Within a few minutes, you’ll notice the dough becoming harder and harder to knead — making pasta can be a great workout in the kitchen!

Knead the dough
Knead the dough

If any excess flour or dough crumbs remain on your work surface and won’t stick to the dough, simply scrape them off with a dough scraper or straightedge.

When your dough looks smooth and no longer feels sticky, shape it into a ball and cover with a kitchen towel to keep it from drying out.

Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball

Cut the dough into quarters.

Keep the rest of the dough covered with a kitchen towel while you work on each piece.

Cut the dough into quarters

On a floured surface, roll out the dough as thin as you can get it — you should be able to see your hands through the pasta sheet when you pick it up. Dust liberally with more flour to prevent sticking.

Hand-rolled pasta sheet

Fold the pasta sheet a few times over itself (as if you were folding a letter) and cut it to your desired width.

Choose your favorite:

  • Spaghetti: 1/16 inch
  • Linguine: 1/8 inch
  • Tagliatelle: 3/16 inch
  • Fettucine: 1/4 inch
  • Pappardelle: 1 inch
Dust the noodles with flour
Shake out the noodles

Shake the noodles out, toss with a little flour, then let them rest in loose mounds on a kitchen towel while you roll out the remaining dough pieces.

When you’ve finished cutting all the noodles, simply drop them into a boiling pot of salted water. Fresh pasta cooks in 2 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness.

Beet pasta

If you’ll be storing the pasta to use later, lay the noodles out in long strands to rest and dry out a little. Pick up a single-serving portion of noodles and twirl into a nest.

Repeat with the remaining noodles, then place the nests on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 1 hour.

This keeps the pasta from clumping together in storage; once they’ve firmed up, transfer to a freezer-proof bag or container and freeze again.

Frozen pasta can go straight into boiling water and takes a little longer to cook, but otherwise comes out exactly like fresh pasta.

Pictured above, clockwise from top left: spinach pasta, squid ink pasta, carrot pasta, beet pasta, parsley pasta, and egg pasta.

Homemade Pasta Recipe Sources

Easy Homemade Pasta From Scratch — No Machine Needed 1
Bellemain Stainless Steel Measuring Cup Set | Delicioso Squid Ink Sachets | John Boos Maple Wood Edge Grain Cutting Board | Trudeau Silicone French Rolling Pin | Zwilling J.A. Henckels Professional “S” 7-Inch Hollow Edge Santoku Knife (similar) | Mantables Live Edge Cutting Board

This post updated from an article that originally appeared on December 5, 2014.

Yield: 1 pound

Fresh Homemade Pasta

Fresh homemade pasta (using what you already have in the kitchen)

Here are four easy recipes for homemade pasta! They all use the same master technique and base ingredients, but incorporate a variety of colors and flavors.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes

Ingredients

Egg Pasta

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Herb Pasta

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (try basil or parsley)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Vegetable Pasta

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling and dusting
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable juice (try beet, spinach, or carrot juice, or even tomato paste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

Squid Ink Pasta

Instructions

  1. Mound the flour onto your work surface and make a large well in the center. (Tip: I use my measuring cup to carve out a deep, perfect well about 5 inches in diameter.)
  2. Crack each egg into the well, followed by the remaining ingredients in your chosen pasta recipe.
  3. Using a fork, beat the eggs and oil (plus any herbs, vegetable juice, or squid ink, if using) until well combined.
  4. Little by little, add the flour to the egg mixture and beat until all of it is incorporated. Mix the dough with your fork until it begins to take shape and you can gather it into a loose ball.
  5. With your hands, start kneading the dough. It will feel soft and jiggly at this stage, but keep kneading for about 10 minutes until the dough firms up. I like to push the dough down and out with the heels of my hands, then fold it back over onto itself, rotate a quarter-turn, and push down again.
  6. When your dough looks smooth and no longer feels sticky, shape it into a ball and cover with a kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Cut the dough into quarters. Keep the rest of the dough covered with a towel while you work on each piece.
  8. On a floured surface, roll out the dough as thin as you can get it — you should be able to see your hands through the pasta sheet when you pick it up. Dust liberally with more flour to prevent sticking.
  9. Fold the pasta sheet a few times over itself (as if you were folding a letter) and cut it to your desired width. (See Notes below.)
  10. Shake the noodles out, toss with a little flour, then let them rest in loose mounds on a towel while you roll out the remaining dough.
  11. When you’ve finished cutting all the noodles, simply drop them into a boiling pot of salted water. Fresh pasta cooks in 2 to 5 minutes, depending on thickness.

Notes

General pasta widths:

  • Spaghetti: 1/16 inch
  • Linguine: 1/8 inch
  • Tagliatelle: 3/16 inch
  • Fettucine: 1/4 inch
  • Pappardelle: 1 inch

Freezing tips:

If you’ll be storing the pasta to use later, lay the noodles out in long strands to rest and dry out a little. Pick up a single-serving portion of noodles and twirl into a nest.

Repeat with the remaining noodles, then place the nests on a cookie sheet and freeze for about 1 hour.

This keeps the pasta from clumping together in storage; once they’ve firmed up, transfer to a freezer-proof bag or container and freeze again.

Frozen pasta can go straight into boiling water and takes a little longer to cook, but otherwise comes out exactly like fresh pasta.

Linda Ly About Author

I'm a plant lover, passionate road-tripper, and cookbook author whose expert advice and bestselling books have been featured in TIME, Outside, HGTV, and Food & Wine. The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook is my latest book. Garden Betty is where I write about modern homesteading, farm-to-table cooking, and outdoor adventuring — all that encompass a life well-lived outdoors. After all, the secret to a good life is... Read more »