Egg Noodles

This is by no means a glamorous post–it was actually something I was writing up for another post, but I wrote so much that it just seemed way too long to call it one single post and expect you to actually read the whole thing. So instead, some times, its good to take a moment to focus on some of the basics. Today: how to make something as simple as pasta noodles. In this particular case, egg noodles.

Cut the noodles and let dry

When you think about it, pasta is one of those items taken for granted quite often. You buy a box for cheap, boil for a few minutes, and you’re all set without even having to really give it a second thought. While home-made isn’t quite as convenient (I mean, come on, you’re up against a maximum of 10 minutes!), it can be fun, a learning experience, and, as always, taste better than store bought. I employed my KitchenAid for this task with the shiny new pasta roller attachment that recently came in the mail. Given my prior experience with pasta makers, I tried to approach this with muted, cautious enthusiasm. First order of business: verify that it actually works out of the box, and oh, what a relief: success! Full speed ahead!

This recipe came with the KitchenAid attachment, however, given the questions I’ve received about the attachment and making pasta, I thought this might be informative for the folks who are still merely considering making pasta from scratch (or the first timers!) and want to know what goes into it. Even though I use the KitchenAid, you could certainly do this in other ways (e.g. by hand–others do it with great success).

  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp water

This makes 1-1.25 lbs pasta. The usual boxes in the grocery store carry ~1 lb, to give you a rough idea

Mix pasta dough

Begin by placing all of the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. With a flat beater, mix the dough for about 30 seconds, after which, switch the paddle to the dough hook and continue to mix for 2 minutes. After this, the dough should be in walnut-sized crumbs and, when squeezed together, should easily adhere into larger chunks without being tacky. If it is tacky, add more flour, or, if it seems too dry, a bit more water.

This is a surprisingly easy step to screw up, and I didn’t realize it until my third attempt at making pasta. Every time, I used the exact same amount of ingredients, but on my third try, I used some fresh eggs and a brand new bag of flour, and the difference was stunning–the dough was much more pliable right from the get go and a bit less dry than these photos illustrate.

If using a stand mixer, keep an eye on the clock for these steps–you want to be careful about not overworking the motor as this dough will be pretty tough and you don’t want to stress your mixer.

Pour the crumbs out of the bowl and form into one dough ball, hand kneading for an additional 2 minutes, after which, you should let it sit in peace for 20 minutes so the glutens can do their thing. All of this handling of the dough gets the glutens going which makes the pasta more elastic. If this didn’t happen, you’d just have crumbs, which really, would not make for an impressive pasta, unless you were going for some kind of a laughable orzo. But you’re not.

Hand knead and form a ball. Let rest

First off, if your dough looks as crumbly as the above photo, you need to deal with it now–its too dry! More water or even an extra egg and some re-kneading ought to do the trick. The extra effort you spend now will save you your sanity later, I promise.

Now that the dough is ready, divide it into four. Also, a tip which I learned after making this: take one dough ball to work with and cover the other three pieces of dough that you’re not working with to keep them from drying out (because they will dry very quickly and make your life difficult).

One by one, roll each of these mounds to be as thin as you can with a rolling pin (even with a pasta roller, you still have to thin it out some before it can fit through!). For the KitchenAid attachment, this entails feeding the dough through the roller on the widest possible setting, folding it in half, and repeating a few times to get the dough into a more homogenous and easily workable texture.

The difficulty at this stage is ensuring that the dough is fairly uniform all around. Otherwise, one side might feed through the roller faster than the other, and the result will be a pile of torn and shredded pasta dough. This is more likely to happen if your dough is a bit on the dry side (hence my warning earlier and my frustration in my first two bouts with the pasta roller). Once this happens, the mangled dough might require some more flour/water and re-kneading as the texture changes and can be very hard to work with post-rolling. If you do make a mistake and have to deal with this, be patient and methodical or frustration and a kitchen meltdown will follow. 😮 I made many a mistake (e.g. assuming the entire length of the pasta roller was actually usable, workable space–its not really, so trim the edges of the dough so it looks cleaner than what you see in the next photo!), but ultimately, I learned from it and got the dough through successfully. Also, you might need to dust the dough with flour so it doesn’t stick to the rollers–not a problem I had, but in case you do, just something to keep in mind.

Carefully put the dough through the roller

Once you get a sheet started, the rest comes pretty quick and easy–just turn to the next setting on the roller (to roll the sheet a little thinner), feed it through, and continue this, working all the way from setting 1 up to setting 5 (for egg noodles). As you progress with the thinness, the sheet of dough will become awkward and quite long, so stop (I stopped half way through on roller setting 3), fold the sheet in half, and cut, working each half separately so as to avoid making a silly mistake in the roller because the sheet got unwieldy.

At this point, all of your dough is now flattened into nice lasagna sheets, but since we’re not making lasagna, we have one more step: cut this into noodles. The pasta roller attachment came with two separate attachments for cutting the pasta (its like the roller, but has blades in it), so I simply fed my sheets through and linguine strands came out (like using the roller, this requires care because having a handful of noodles flying out the other end can be difficult to manage). I hung these on a not-so-sturdy rack that had some (as in total) assembly required. Once all of the noodles were cut and hung up to dry, I was ready to focus on the actual meal I had planned.

Cooking these noodles is pretty much like what you’re already used to when it comes to cooking pasta noodles–boil in salted water, but for ~6 minutes instead of ~10 (sample a noodle to be sure). You can also dry and use within a few days (store somewhere airtight) or even freeze and use much later. Whatever suits your fancy.

Whatever you use these for, practice makes perfect, and enjoy!

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19 Responses to “Egg Noodles”

  1. Peter Says:

    Mike, homemade pasta is a beautiful thing and not everyone can pull it off, kudos to you.

  2. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    One tip to get rid of the jagged edges coming through the roller — fold the dough lengthwise, like a book (two ends into the middle), to even out the ends, then put it through the roller again and you will have nice straight edges.

  3. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy Says:

    Great post! you’ve explained the steps so well. Can’t wait to see what you did with that lovely pasta!

  4. Deb Says:

    Hi Mike, thought I would drop by and visit your site a little longer this time. Bravo to you for the handsome looking pasta! I have not purchased a pasta maker for my mixer yet, but it may be on my list soon. You are the second one I have seen use it and post about it. You make it sound fairly easy!
    Hey, I see you live in Florida! Where abouts? Jenn, the Leftover Queen is in St. Augustine and I am in Key West, now where are you? I will stop back soon! OBTW, the Osso Buco looks marvelous!

  5. pam Says:

    I want the pasta maker attachment so bad! I have the ice cream and the meat grinder, but no pasta attachment!! I absolutely need it, don’t you think?

  6. Kevin Says:

    Making your own pasta sounds like fun. I have been wanting to try for a while now. I will have to keep an eye out for a sale of pasta makers.

  7. Alexis Says:

    Hi Mike :) It’s about time I stumbled over here to leer hungrily at the awesome food you’re making.

    So overall how did you like making pasta? I’ve done it before using this little hand-crank that my roommate bought in Italy. It turned out OK but I’ve never wanted to do it again.

  8. Pixie Says:

    Way to go Mike! I made my second batch of pasta last week and it was miles easier than the first time I made it. I think the key is to make sure the pasta isn’t too sticky and to coat it with flour, allowing it to be much easier to roll through the pasta machine. Also, folding it and using a scissor to cut the pasta, rather than the machine. Hope to get around to posting about it again at some point next week!

  9. Nora Says:

    Ola Mike,
    This is on my to-do list for the coming months. The pasta maker I got for Christmas is still in the original packaging. Funny how I REALLY “needed” a pasta maker and hinted heavily for so many weeks leading up to Christmas. Now that I have it, the urge to make my own pasta has somehow become subdued! But I will do it, so thanks for all the tips (the comments from others here was also helpful).

    Nora

  10. Beef Stroganoff from Mike's Table Says:

    […] Egg Noodles […]

  11. RecipeGirl Says:

    Mike,
    You’re my HERO. This looks amazing, and your play-by-play is very helpful. I intend to do this soon!

  12. Ruth Says:

    Mike, great post and now really…should I be getting the pasta attachment for my KitchenAid?

  13. Hélène Says:

    I never made pasta yet. The taste is probably sublime.

  14. mike Says:

    Peter — thanks! The first few runs definitely weren’t pretty, but its gotten better and more fun

    Lydia — thanks for the tip!

    Susan — thanks, hope it was helpful! I figured photos would have been nice for my first time, so maybe I could encourage more people to try it, too.

    Deb — I won’t lie, the first one or two times were tough. A big part was that I *thought* I got the dough right, but in reality, I didn’t and it was too dry. However, with practice, it does become easy and a lot of fun. If you eat pasta with any frequency, I think its a fun way to take your pasta up a notch. And thanks about the osso bucco, too! :-) As for FL, I’m a bit further north (in Ocala)–I think you live in the best part of the state!

    Pam — I’m convinced you need it now, as well! 😉

    Kevin — Another option (since the KitchenAid items aren’t exactly the cheapest) is to go for a hand-cranked pasta roller. I haven’t used one myself and I imagine that might take a little more getting used to (seems like a three hand operation, but I can’t say), but they are definitely a good bit more affordable.

    Alexis — hey! Glad to see you here and thanks! After my first time, I felt equally frustrated. I came into it the second time with renewed vigor and greater frustration when it was still difficult. Somehow, try #3 went flawlessly start to finish and it was a very quick and fun affair. Here’s hoping I can keep the streak going…

    Pixie — thanks! I think I had the exact opposite problem my first time: too dry! Too bad they can’t send a sample piece of dough with the machine so you know what the goal texture is because I think that’s half the battle. And thanks for the tips–I look forward to seeing your posts about it!

    Nora — haha, yeah, I think I have a few “must haves” in my kitchen that rarely see the light of day. I hope you give it a try soon, I’d love to hear the results.

    RecipeGirl — haha, thanks! I hope the photos help and I hope that it goes well for you. Let me know!

    Ruth — thanks! I’m really happy with the attachment although I recognize there are other, probably more affordable options out there (e.g. hand cranks)…but I’m a sucker for integrated things like the KitchenAid. The one thing to be careful about is KA sells several different pasta-related attachments and some of them have gotten absolutely awful reviews. I got this particular attachment as its more general purpose and has been fairly well reviewed. So I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying go for it! 😉 I would think if anybody would get use of the pasta roller, its the creator of Presto Pasta Nights. 😉

    Helene — definitely worth trying. So far my favorite use for it: lasagna (post coming soonish). You can really appreciate the taste and texture of the noodles more.

  15. cakewardrobe Says:

    I love your instructions on what not to do! I always tend to do the things you’re not supposed to do! hahah :) This means I’m gonna have to spend more money on the Kitchen Aid?~!

  16. shayne Says:

    I really enjoy making pasta and I too use the KitchenAid. It is a lot of fun and as far as I am concerned making it is easier then going to the store to buy it. The next pasta I want to try is making the dough and making little “worms” with my hands and with the kids you know like with play dough and saucing them up or maybe I will use them in soup. Great Post.

  17. Adrianne Says:

    Excellent! I love the details you provide- it’s nice to see that the Occidental version of egg noodles is a little less violent than the Chinese version (in which you gotta really beat the gluten into action).

    Your post does make me think I should get a pasta maker attachment for our KitchenAid instead of making my fiancé roll it out by hand.

  18. mike Says:

    cake — thanks! :-) Seems that KitchenAid is great at draining all of our wallets, although I’m a fan of this attachment. Hope this helps!

    shayne — glad to hear it! I think I had a rough start, but now, I’ll almost always make the noodles myself unless I’m truly in a pinch or didn’t do a good job of planning. Those noodles sound like they’d be a fun one to make and to eat–I can picture just what you mean! And thanks for visiting! :-)

    Adrianne — haha, the only time I would have associated “violent” with noodle making would be my less successful first and second batches! 😉 If he can roll it by hand, more power to him (I wasn’t so successful), but I’m definitely a fan of this appliance. And thanks for visiting! Hope to see you again :-)

  19. Coffee and Vanilla Says:

    The way you describing it looks very easy to make… I must try it one day… I love egg noodles!
    Margot

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