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  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

The Complete Guide to Making Fresh Egg Pasta | Homemade Tagliatelle, Fettuccine & Pappardelle Recipe

Updated: Aug 22, 2023

Fresh egg pasta is incredibly delicious, and easier to make at home than you might think! While you can use a fancy pasta machine, you definitely don’t need one. This style of pasta is a must when making heavier, hearty meat sauces such as ragù alla Bolognese. Craving pasta with meatballs? Skip the dry spaghetti and try making some tagliatelle instead!


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How to Make Fresh Egg Pasta at Home | Homemade Tagliatelle Recipe

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make fresh egg pasta here:



What Is Fresh Egg Pasta?


“Fresh” pasta is just pasta that has been made recently, so the dough remains moist and moldable when it’s cooked. That’s all! It’s just a way to distinguish it from dry pasta. Is fresh better than dry? Nope! Fresh pasta can be dried and it will be just as good, even if it’s not technically “fresh” any more.


Egg pasta is the most common type of fresh pasta that people are familiar with. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’ve seen at least a picture of someone cracking some eggs into a well of flour in order to whip up some noodles.


This familiarity has led many to believe that ALL pasta is made with eggs, but nothing could be farther from the truth. There are two main categories of pasta: the kind made with 00 (all-purpose) flour and eggs, and the kind made with semolina flour and water.


You know that spaghetti you buy in a box at the store? It’s made with semolina flour and water only, no egg whatsoever. When it comes to spaghetti vs. tagliatelle, one isn’t better or worse than the other. They’re two totally different types of pasta, with different shapes and totally different ingredients. In short, they’re not interchangeable.


Sometimes you can find egg pasta that has been dried, but in general dry pasta is of the semolina sort. Hence why, if you want to make a dish that calls for egg pasta, you generally need to make it fresh.


What Do I Need to Make Fresh Egg Pasta?


The ingredients are very simple. You’ll need 00 (or all-purpose) flour and eggs. When it’s time to cook the pasta, you’ll also need some salt. That’s it!


A pasta machine will definitely speed up the process of making pasta at home, and it will also result in much more uniform and consistent noodles. You definitely don’t need one, though! In fact, one of the best parts of handmade pasta is the slight irregularity between each piece, which is why we never use a machine if we don’t have to. We like to embrace the imperfections, but the choice is up to you.


If you don’t have, or don’t want to use, a machine you can substitute it with a good ol’ rolling pin and a knife for cutting the strands.


Machine or not, you will also need some plastic wrap and a place for temporarily keeping the pasta before you cook it. A large baking sheet or platter works great.



The Basic Ratio for Egg Pasta Dough


There is a general rule of thumb in Italy for determining the amount of flour and eggs needed: 100g of flour per 1 large egg per serving. Usually, one extra egg is added when making four or more servings. For example, if you’re making pasta for four people, you would need 400 grams of flour and 5 large eggs.


Keep in mind this is a general rule of thumb, and will almost never apply exactly. Eggs can be bigger or smaller, flour can be drier or wetter, the humidity of your environment can vary, etc. The best thing to do is add your eggs into the flour and gradually incorporate the surrounding flour into the dough. You don’t need to mix all of the flour in, and it’s ok if some ends up left on the side if the eggs can’t absorb it all.


Similarly, if your eggs are quite large and the dough is too wet, there’s always time to add more flour later!


Tips for Making Perfect Pasta Dough


The pasta dough should be fairly firm and springy, but soft enough to knead smooth. It definitely shouldn’t be sticky. As you roll and cut the dough, we’ll call for frequent dustings of flour. As long as you don’t make a concerted effort to force flour into the dough, it’s actually pretty hard to over-flour it. Pasta is smart, it takes what it needs and rejects the rest!


Once you’ve made the dough, it’s very important to wrap it tightly in plastic and let it rest for at least 30 minutes, either at room temperature or in the fridge for longer periods. Feel free to let it rest overnight, if you have the time! Resting the dough allows the gluten to relax, making it much easier to roll the dough out.


Kneading Spinach Pasta Dough | Note how not all the flour needs to be used!


How Do I Use A Pasta Machine?


Most pasta machines come with two rollers, used for pressing out sheets of dough, and one or more cutters that slice those sheets into pasta strands. Once you’ve set up your pasta machine according to the manufacturer instructions, dust the rollers and cutters generously with flour so that they don’t stick.


After your pasta dough has rested, you will likely want to cut off a manageable chunk of it as it’s difficult to roll it all at once (unless you’re making 1-2 servings). If making 4-5 servings of pasta total, we recommending only working about 1/3 of the total amount of dough at any given time. This is very important: keep any dough you’re not currently working with wrapped in plastic. You don’t want it to dry out!


Flatten the piece of dough you’re working beneath your palm into a small pancake and lightly dust both sides with flour. Set your pasta machine rollers to the widest setting (#1 on a standard Marcato Atlas machine). Press one edge of the dough between the rollers while cranking the handle so that the pasta is pulled inward. Press the whole piece through and pull the resulting sheet of dough out from the bottom.


Dust the sheet lightly with flour, adjust the rollers one setting narrower (from #1 to #2, for instance) and press the sheet through again. Repeat until you have your desired thickness of pasta. If, at any time, the pasta sheet becomes too lengthy to comfortably handle, you can always cut it in half and continue to process the two pieces independently.


Once you have a thickness you like, you can roll the pasta through the cutters (pick the width of your choice depending on what kind of pasta you want, see below). Out comes pasta strands! Toss the finished pasta with a generous dusting of flour and arrange it on a baking sheet while you roll the rest of the dough. As long as you dusted the strands with flour, they shouldn’t stick together. Keep the pasta covered with a clean kitchen towel to prevent it from drying too much.


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A machine is helpful when making lots of lasagna sheets, but it's not necessary for making a few servings of pasta!


How to Make Fresh Egg Pasta Without a Machine


It takes a little more elbow grease, but making tagliatelle without a machine is in many ways simpler!


If you’re making a large amount of pasta or working in a confined space, consider rolling just a portion (usually half is fine) of your dough at a time. Keep the portion you’re not working on wrapped in plastic so that it doesn’t dry out.


On a large, floured work surface, roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a big circle. Flip the sheet over occasionally, and dust/rub it frequently with flour on both sides to prevent sticking. Once the sheet is rolled out enough that you have achieved a thickness to your liking, lightly dust it with some more flour.


Grasp the edge of the sheet closest to you and fold it forward loosely (the fold should be about 2-inches wide, but no need to be precise). Take this fold and loosely fold it forward again. Continue until the entire pasta sheet is rolled up like a flattened carpet.


With a sharp knife, cut the flattened tube of pasta into slices. The width of your slices will determine the type of pasta you end up with (see below). Gently toss the slices of pasta with your hands to unfold them. If any pieces are stubborn, just unravel them as needed. If they really stick together, you forgot to dust the pasta sheet with flour!


Toss the finished pasta with a generous dusting of flour and arrange it on a baking sheet while you roll the rest of the dough. As long as you dusted the strands with flour, they shouldn’t stick together. Keep the pasta covered with a clean kitchen towel to prevent it from drying too much.


How Thin Should My Pasta Be?


This is really a matter of personal taste! We love handmade pasta when it’s a little bit more on the thicker side, giving the pasta more of an “al dente” bite. If you like really thin pasta, go for it!


Keep in mind that the thicker your pasta is, the longer it takes to cook. That being said, fresh pasta cooks very fast regardless so usually the difference is minor.


What Kinds of Pasta Can I Make?


While there are plenty of exceptions (such as garganelli, which sort of resembles penne), fresh egg pasta dough is normally used to make flat strand pasta, such as fettuccine (about 1/4-inch wide), tagliatelle (about 1/3-inch wide), or pappardelle (practically as wide as you want!). The only difference between the different varieties is the width, so all you have to do is either change which cutter you use on a machine or how thin you cut your slices by hand.


How to Store Fresh Egg Pasta for Later


The best way to keep fresh pasta saved away for later is to freeze it. To do so, arrange the cut pasta into little “birds nests” of about 4-5 inches in diameter on a floured baking sheet. Keep them separated slightly so they don’t stick together. Place the baking sheet into the freezer until the pasta freezes solid. At this point, the nests can be transferred into a bag for other container for more convenient freezer storage.


Cook the pasta directly from frozen. They’ll cook slightly slower, usually no more than 1-2 minutes longer.


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"Bird Nests" of Pasta

How to Cook Fresh Egg Pasta


Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Carefully drop the fresh pasta into the water and boil, gently stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente to your taste. It cooks much quicker than dry semolina pasta, usually in 2-3 minutes. Very thin pasta can cook in as little as 30 seconds, and thicker pasta might take up to 4-5.


Either drain the pasta or remove it from the water with tongs and prepare with your favorite sauce.



FRESH EGG PASTA RECIPE


Makes: 4 servings of pasta

Cook Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


For this recipe, you will need:

  • 3 1/3 cup (400g) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 5 large eggs

  • Salt


On a large work surface, pour the flour into a pile and use your fingers to hollow out the center so that it resembles a volcano. Crack the eggs into the hollow. Using a fork, begin whisking the eggs and gradually incorporate the surrounding flour. When the mixture has thickened into a paste, you can begin folding in more of the flour and kneading by hand.


As you knead the dough, gradually continue to incorporate the remaining flour. You don’t need to add it all, though: eggs aren’t all the same size so you might need less. Simply leave some flour aside if you achieve the right dough texture before it’s all kneaded in. The pasta dough should be fairly firm and springy, but soft enough to knead smooth. It definitely shouldn’t be sticky. If it does become sticky, simply dust it with more flour as needed.


Knead the pasta dough until it is smooth and even. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Cut the rested dough in half and keep one half wrapped in plastic while you roll the other portion.



On a large, floured work surface, roll the dough out with a rolling pin into a big circle. Flip the sheet over occasionally, and dust/rub it frequently with flour on both sides to prevent sticking. Once the sheet is rolled out to a thickness of your liking (if unsure, aim for about 1/16th of an inch or 1.5mm), lightly dust the top with some more flour.


Grasp the edge of the sheet closest to you and fold it forward loosely (the fold should be about 2-inches wide, but no need to be precise). Take this fold and loosely fold it forward again. Continue until the entire pasta sheet is rolled up like a flattened carpet.


With a sharp knife, cut the flattened tube of pasta into slices. The width of the slices determines whether you end up with fettuccine (about 1/4-inch or 6mm), tagliatelle (about 1/3-inch or 8mm) or pappardelle (anything wider than 1 inch or 2.5cm).


Gently toss the slices of pasta with your hands to unfold them. If any pieces are stubborn, just unravel them with your fingers as needed. If they really stick together, you forgot to dust the pasta sheet with flour!


Toss the finished pasta with a generous dusting of flour and arrange it on a baking sheet while you roll the rest of the dough. As long as you dusted the strands with flour, they shouldn’t stick together. Keep the pasta covered with a clean kitchen towel to prevent it from drying too much.


Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Carefully drop the fresh pasta into the water and boil, gently stirring occasionally, until the pasta is al dente to your taste. It cooks much quicker than dry semolina pasta, usually in 2-3 minutes. Very thin pasta can cook in as little as 30 seconds, and thicker pasta might take up to 4-5.


Either drain the pasta or remove it from the water with tongs and prepare with your favorite sauce.


Buon appetito!



Want the perfect sauce for fresh tagliatelle? You MUST try Ragù alla Bolognese! Take your pasta-making skills to the next level by trying some homemade ravioli!

8 Comments


jbhtran
Sep 17, 2023

For those of us who don’t eat eggs, can you share the eggless recipe and method please? I love your content on YouTube. 🙏💛

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dawnbell653
May 04, 2023

I have followed your recipe twice now and have been very pleased with the results. Although I am a novice, the dough was easily adjustable to achieve the desired moisture content. On both attempts I weighed the flour (I have tried a different recipe and used cups, I wasn’t pleased.)

The only downside was the first time when I didn’t realize the salt was to go into the water not the dough. 🙄 The salt in the dough caused it to be spotty.

I follow your YouTube channel and love your content as I love making things from ’scratch’. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

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Cheryl Cooper
Cheryl Cooper
Apr 30, 2023

Also you may need to consider how moist or dry it is where you are. And making fresh pasta isn't a one and done, it can , like any art take time to perfect. I believe you will find your way to great fresh pasta. I hope I can too. I watched my GMA make it many times and felt my first was a fail. It came out to tough. So best of luck to you and wish me luck on my next batch. I still don't have it down where I need it. But I judge me harshly.

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Lina Raffoul
Lina Raffoul
Jan 20, 2022

made this last week - delicious - if dough is a bit dry try adding 1 tbspn of water at a time to achieve a workable dough....making again tonight. thank you Pasta Grammar!

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Dirk Tucker
Dirk Tucker
Feb 09, 2021

I took Eva's egg noodle recipe and played around with it.....egg noodle with chopped parsley and thyme with a chanterelle and onion pasta sauce....turned out really well! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10164680343370545&set=pb.804490544.-2207520000..&type=3


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