Making homemade pasta? Try these tips.

While using noodles from a box is often more convenient, there is nothing like trying out creating your very own pasta. Looking to take your fettuccine alfredo or spaghetti parmesan to the next level? Try these tips for making homemade pasta:

Try a few recipes
While in culinary arts programs, you will likely learn several recipes for pasta. Some people use oil, while others use just flour and eggs. Like all cooking or baking endeavors, there are about a million variations of ingredients. And of course, everyone has their own opinion. The best way to find what pasta recipe you prefer? Make a few. And by a few we mean a solid 10 or so batches. Mind you, this doesn't need to be done in one day. Finding the perfect pasta is an ever-evolving process that takes time, so don't be frustrated if your first couple recipes are not quite what you're looking for.

Fancy equipment or no?
Many people think they cannot make pasta at home because they do not have a massive KitchenAid mixer and pasta attachments. Reality? Anyone can make pasta with flour, eggs, a rolling pin and a knife. While using appliances and tools that are specifically created to be used for pasta can shave off time and effort in your pasta process, they are not necessary. Pasta, in its beginning stages, is totally malleable, which means it is forgiving and allows you room to practice and even mess up. Plus, the ingredients used to make it are inexpensive and easy to come by, so creating a bunch of batches will not suck up all your pocket money.

Maybe if you make some noodles and really enjoy having fresh ones on hand, you can choose to buy some pasta-specific equipment (or hope Santa is able to fit it down the chimney). Just remember, you are totally capable of making your own noodles with what you have on hand. If you make pasta often and want to have a versatile tool that can be used here and for many other things, consider  buying a bench scraper. Rachel Ray recommends using one to help gather all your flour from the cutting board and add it to your dough in the beginning stage.

Fold and fold again
Pasta requires multiple foldings, similar to many varieties of bread. You might think, because the dough is so simple, that it would be easy to mix it a bit and then be ready to make pasta shapes. However, folding it multiple times allows the flour and eggs to properly meld together, leaving you with the most flexible and easy-to-work-with dough mixture. Even when you think you're done working the dough, squish it flat and fold it in thirds one last time to ensure you have the best-quality dough possible.

Try some shapes
Long, flat fettuccine noodles are easy to make, but so are fun shapes like stars. Simply use a small cookie cutter (or a knife to shape them by hand) for some fun, personalized pasta. Just be sure the noodles are similarly sized so they cook at the same time.

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