Freshpasta.jpgI have a pretty great life and lifestyle. I am incredibly fortunate and really don’t have many things to complain about. But every now and then I am going to have a bad day, whether it be due to stress at work, homesickness or just general annoyances. I am going to get stressed, angry, sad, tired and I have the cheapest and most effective form of therapy to get me through those bad days…. PASTA MAKING!

The process is so familiar, repetitive and calming that by the end when I am more than likely sitting down to a giant bowl of delicious fresh pasta I am back to my regular happy self.

The recipe we use for the pasta is one that my mother gave me and it is slightly ridiculous. Promise not to laugh!! The measurements are very much open to interpretation. Going by feel is the best way to make sure it is just right…. This can take a little practice.

Well and eggs.jpg

Onto the kitchen counter measure out 1 pound (450 grams) of plain flour. Make a large well in the middle of the flour so that you can see your counter top. Add into the well 5 eggs (3 medium, 2 large). To this add 1 capful of olive oil (what size cap you ask? What cap? – these are all very good questions!) and ½ an eggshell of water. (which eggshell – the large or the medium? Another excellent question!)

I will answer these questions, as best I can, shortly.

With all the ingredients in the well, using a fork I gently start drawing the flour from the edges of the well into the center. This slowly starts to form the dough. The tricky part is not to break the well walls and end up with runny egg and flour all over your kitchen floor (Yes, I have done this before!).

Once it has started to form a ball I coat my hands in flour and doing the final mixing by hand. The trick is not to over mix/knead the dough and end up with tough pasta. Just mix until it is completely incorporated and is one solid ball. Then just wrap and set it aside for 30 minutes to rest.

While the dough is resting let me answer the questions from earlier. I generally use the cap of my olive oil bottle which is around 1 tablespoon of oil. You can always add a smaller amount and add more later if the dough is too dry. As for the eggshell full of water, I usually just use the most complete looking shell, it probably close to 1 tablespoon of water but again, use an eggshell and just add a little more if it is too dry. I both of these circumstances it is best to use smaller amounts and have to add more than add too much right at the start!

Dough.jpgThe dough has rested, now it is time to roll it out. I cut the ball into six pieces to make them more manageable. My parents recently bought us a new pasta maker since our previous one just randomly started chewing up the dough, when this was happening it wasn’t the most calming exercise. (I think it got bent being transported from Australia to Phoenix when we moved!).

However, with our new pasta maker things are going smoothly again. We run the each piece through the machine from the widest setting to the second last. I don’t want it too thin for making fettuccine, when I make ravioli or agnolotti it go for the thinnest setting. Once rolled through I set it aside to dry a little while I run the other pieces through.

Once I have my long pieces I run them quickly through the fettuccine attachment and twist them into little nests to dry. We usually will store at least ½ of the pasta in a cool dry place to use later but will always whip up a quick meal with some while it is still really fresh. By the time we are ready to cook I am feeling a lot better, covered in flour and with a mess of a kitchen to clean up but I am definitely happier!

We were lucky enough earlier in the summer to have some delicious cherry tomatoes growing in our garden. So while the pasta was cooking in some boiling water I cooked about 20 tomatoes in some olive oil and garlic, added some fresh basil and thyme (which at the start of summer I had growing in the garden). I only cooked them for a couple of minutes before adding the cooked pasta to the pan and mixing everything together. YUM!

So easy and delicious with the fresh pasta, plus you actually get to appreciate all the hard work the pasta was because you can really taste it with such a simple accompaniment. After a bowl of this I am definitely feeling better and though it probably takes about an hour from start to finish it’s a delicious and productive way of making me feel better!

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Comments
  1. 2nkenn says:

    I have never made pasta but its on my ‘to do’ list now.

  2. I’m really psyched to make this tonight. We always have pasta in Thursdays and today will be really special. Thank you!

  3. yummmm. I love making my own pasta, but I seldom have the time or space to do it. Your’s looks lovely. Good job! cheers, Rita

  4. boogiebakes says:

    Cool!! I love making pasta

  5. Geraldine says:

    cooking is always therapy imo!!! 😉

  6. Country Cooking By Lynnlynn says:

    Love this Post when I am down My thing is making Breads and Sweets Blessed Day to You Lynn

  7. Renata says:

    Great post! I definitely agree with the idea of pasta making as a mood boosting activity. I grew up in Phoenix and can empathize with your difficulties in finding great Italian restaurants there. After being disappointed by so many of them (they were always so much more expensive and less delicious than my Italian dad’s cooking) I can recommend Veneto Trattoria in Scottsdale and North Italian Farmhouse in Phoenix. They won’t replace your home cooking but might satisfy an occasional craving.

  8. I combine the ingredients in my Cuisinart. So much easier! And, always always use the steel machine from Italy!

  9. Read this post and was in my happy place. Love making pasta but I make it with my KitchenAide because I like the motor doing all the work. I just started my blog Simple Homemade Italian Food so I’m making Italian food as simple as I can. I know what you mean, homemade pasta just puts a smile on your face and the traditional way is such great therapy. Come visit me and see if I can put a smile on your face as well.

  10. This is making me super hungry for homemade pasta. I agree, something soothing that you make by hand is best for the bad days, and it doesn’t hurt if it’s delicious! I don’t even have a pasta maker, but sometimes it’s worth it to roll the dough out super thin and cut it into strips with a pizza cutter. Yum.

  11. mzrubyd says:

    Looks delicious. Looking forward to getting a pasta maker. Nothing like fresh pasta!

  12. Julie says:

    I also love making pasta, but it’s never quite therapeutic for me! Usually I end up impatient and frustrated as the never-ending balls of dough roll together. I’m only happy again when I eat the results 🙂 Looks like I need to take a page out of your book and improve my technique, so it can be relaxing for me too!

  13. bellyfulloffood says:

    I love making pasta when I’m feeling a bit grumpy 😉

  14. I agree – pasta making is great therapy. And the end result isn’t bad either!

  15. My husband bought me the kitchen aid pasta maker and I LOVEmaking it. It was so easy!!

  16. I have to agree. There is nothing better than homemade, fresh, pasta. Delicious!

  17. lolarugula says:

    Fantastic post – I love making homemade pasta, especially when it’s cold outside and I have a nice day to make a ton of it! I especially enjoyed your comments on “a cap of olive oil” and the eggshell of water…it’s always nice to hear personal notes on a recipe!

  18. Congratulations on getting so much feedback. Yes, making pasta is very therapeutic!

  19. DaisyCakes says:

    I’ve never been brave enough to tackle fresh pasta, the closest I get is wrestling open the pack. I think I might give it a go, it sounds like just the therapy I need. 😊

  20. […] Making Pasta – Therapy for bad days!. […]

  21. kahht says:

    Wow, this is so cool! I love DIY but never even thought about pasta because it seemed so difficult. I can’t wait to try this.

  22. bakerstreats says:

    Thanks for the likes on my NEW blog. I have added you to my link list

  23. tuppershare says:

    “which eggshell – the large or the medium? Another excellent question”

    I think you meant another egg-sellent question. Sorry. I see potential puns and have to make them.

    Oh, and this looks delicious! That’s what I originally came here to say.

  24. Sounds very therapeutic – making bread is great for stress too! I really need to make pasta again, it’s been too long.

  25. leftoverrecipes says:

    Nothing like fresh pasta! I usually “invite” my Italian friend to dinner instead of making it myself 😉 Good to have a good recipe on hand though, because he just got married, so hopefully he’ll soon have less time to make pasta for his friends 😀

  26. I can’t wait to try this! Never made pasta before so it should be interesting 🙂

  27. S says:

    Reblogged this on Moonmooring Grub and commented:
    I’ve been wanting to make fresh pasta for years. Here is a perfect go at it – for me anyway. Now where is that pasta machine… yes I think there is one laying around somewhere.

  28. S says:

    This is marvelous. I have wanted to make pasta for years but it’s one of those things I have been afraid of. Who knows… I like your style and loose measurements! That is my kind of cooking. I will reblog this and follow you!

    Thank you. S.

  29. why is it that nothing trashes my kitchen like making pasta? 🙂 Great blog and thanks for visiting mine.

  30. andmorefood says:

    I like your eggshell and cap-ful measurements – it’s the essence of home-cooking!

  31. Kas-a-fras says:

    Thanks so much for liking my post! I love pasta and want a pasta maker badly because you are completely right about it being a good pick-up on a rough day. I look forward to following to check out your recipes!

  32. Francesca says:

    i totally hear you on this one… This kinds of things help me unwind and soothe my soul when I’m homesick. Cheers 🙂

  33. Errign says:

    I love making pasta – I use a similar recipe and I would say your tablespoon “guessitimate” is pretty accurate. Looks delicious!

  34. Great recipe. The vague ones passed down through the family are the best. Thanks.

  35. Cooking in general always makes me feel better too 🙂 But this pasta thing, I gotta try it! Looks, great!

  36. I am the same as you when it comes to making fresh pasta, which I do often. I find it incredibly relaxing!

  37. Fresh pasta is the best! I have yet to attempt making it myself, but I plan on doing it very soon. Will use yours as one of my guides–thanks for sharing! 😀

  38. I’m very impessed. If I was having a bad day I think making pasta would stress me … but I’ve only tried making my own a couple of times. Love the simplicity of your serving with the tomatoes – perfect way to eat pasta! Wishing many non-bad days!!! Though you should still make this pasta.

  39. Homemade pasta is something I have yet to tackle. I’m feeling motivated from your post. Thank you!

  40. I have done this type of therapy before, worked like a charm! A shame I’ve let my pasta maker collect dust. So many good Italian eateries in my neck of the woods that I’ve forgotten about it. Thanks for reminding me!

    • I miss the great Italian eateries of Melbourne! Being raised on my Italian mothers food I am fussy and haven’t managed to find a great place here in Phoenix so I have to make it all myself! It is worth dusting off the old pasta machine!

  41. Fresh pasta sounds great. Rustic measurments are where it’s at, and I love that you made a simple sauce using garden food. ❤

    I was born and raised in Tucson! 🙂

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