Making your own fresh pasta is the most important, most completely unnecessary skill a budding newlywed cook could ever learn.
Do you need to learn how to make your own pasta? Not really. Go to any decent Italian market, and you can buy pasta in every shape and size you could imagine as well as another dozen that you’ve never heard of. They’re all delicious and make fantastic dishes.
So why make your own? Because you love to make a mess of your kitchen? Because you want bits of flour and egg stuck in your fingernails for days?
You do it because it’s fun–like Playdo for adults. And this time around, there’s wine in your sippy cup and you can have as much dessert after dinner as you’d like.
Fresh Pasta Dough
serves 4
1 lb “00” flour
9 egg yolks
2 teaspoons fine salt
2 egg whites reserved for forming the ravioli
2 cups ravioli filling (recipe follows)
8 tablespoons butter for cooking the pasta

Mound the flour in a mound in the center of a clean work surface. Form well in center of flour and place eggs yolks and salt in well.
Stir the eggs vigorously with a fork as if making scrambled eggs. Gradually mix flour from inside walls of well into egg mixture to by stirring in bigger and bigger circles. When the egg mixture becomes too thick to stir with the fork begin kneading the dough with your hands incorporating more flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
Clear any excess flour from the work surface and continue kneading until the dough is a smooth. Wrap the ball of dough tightly in plastic wrap and leave to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.

To roll out the dough
Set the rollers of the pasta machine, on their widest setting. Cut the dough into four equal pieces. Form each piece into ball; flatten into disks. Cover three of the dough disks with a clean kitchen towel.
Dust one of the disks of dough with flour and run it through the pasta rollers. Working on a lightly floured surface, fold dough into thirds like a business letter. Pass the dough, edges first, through rollers again. Repeat process six more times, keeping rollers at widest setting and lightly dusting rollers with flour if dough sticks.

To form the pasta sheets
Turn the rollers of the pasta machine to the next smallest setting and pass the dough through the rollers twice. Continue adjusting roller width to smaller settings, running dough through each setting without folding, and dusting the dough lightly with flour as necessary if it becomes sticky.
Lay the rolled out dough on a lightly floured counter top or pan and cover with clean towels. Repeat the rolling process for the remaining dough.
Tomorrow’s recipe–a light truffled cream sauce to dress your homemade pasta. (Mixed, wild mushrooms and a drizzle of white truffle oil stand in for the imported, Italian can’t-make-your-rent fresh truffles.)

Photos by colleen duffley