Making Noodles

Magically change a heap of dough into beautiful pasta in 2 to 3 minutes.

At home, it is difficult to make pasta into fancy shapes, but with a common pasta machine it is easy to make simple noodles from pre-made dough.

1. To make homemade pasta dough use one of our many recipes. Here are a couple to try:

Egg Noodles

Photo by Pam Ziegler Lutz

2. Once your pasta dough has been portioned and has relaxed, you are ready to begin making noodles. Dust a large, flat surface with all-purpose or semolina flour to cut down on sticking.

3. Flatten the dough slightly; make sure to flatten the end you plan on feeding to the pasta machine. If one side of the dough is too thick, it will not catch in the rollers of the pasta machine.

4. Dust the pasta machine with all-purpose or semolina flour. While dusting, spin the rollers to coat them with a very thin layer of flour. Dusting will keep the dough from sticking to the machine as it is being rolled out.

5. Set the dough machine on the highest setting and place the thin end of the dough in between the two main rollers. Slowly pass the dough through the rollers while spinning them. Some pasta machines have automated rollers, and others have hand held cranks.

6. Once the pasta has successfully gone through the rollers, the length of the pasta will have increased dramatically. The pasta will be thin and have transformed into a long sheet. At this point, the pasta can be somewhat difficult to work with. Dust the pasta evenly with flour and fold it on top of itself in a way that helps the length become more manageable.

7. Place the rollers closer together (generally one setting at a time), and run the pasta through the rollers again. The dough sheet will become much longer. If for any reason the pasta’s length becomes unmanageable, cut off a manageable portion and set the remaining pasta aside. Finish working with the dough in hand, then return your attention to the partially rolled dough and run it completely through the rollers.

8. Repeat the dusting, folding and running the dough through the machine process until the dough has reached your desired thickness. Drop the setting on the machine each time you run the dough through it (this will continually thin the dough). The dough should be smooth, a little moist, and have no cracks or blemishes.

9. Once you have achieved the thickness you desire, you can allow the dough to rest for a few minutes. This thin strip of pasta is perfect for making lasagna sheets or to cut down to make ravioli. Do not let the dough sit for too long as it can dry out very quickly and become brittle and crack.

10. If you are planning on making noodles, select a length of the flat noodle and cut it off of the long strip. If you desire very short noodles, cut the sheets every inch or two; this will ultimately give small, flat, and rectangular pieces of dough. For fettuccine, cut the sheets about every 12 inches. Attach the fettuccini noodle cutter (it has approximately 1/4-inch slats) to the pasta machine and dust it with flour while spinning the rollers. Feed one end of the pasta sheet into the rollers and spin the rollers. The pasta will emerge as beautiful fettuccine.

11. Allow the entire sheet go through the cutters, then dust the noodles with a light coating of flour. The cut edges of the noodles might stick to each other as the newly exposed edges are slightly moister then the rest of the surface.

12. Fettuccini are long, thin, and flat noodles. For making tagliolini: Run the noodles through the cutter with (approximately) 1/8-inch slats to yield extremely thin tagliolini noodles. Tagliolini noodles cook quicker than fettuccini noodles, and should be served with a thin and lightly-flavored sauce. For other pasta types and tips, see our Pasta Types article.

14. Without a pasta machine, hand-made noodles can be achieved with much patience, time, and a rolling pin. Roll the dough out into very thin sheets, then cut it into the desired shapes with a knife. To make noodles, cut the sheets into the length of the desired noodle, then roll the sheets into logs. Cut the logs to the desired width of the noodles. For fettuccine, you would cut the logs every 1/4 of an inch, and then unravel the noodles onto some flour or semolina.

Want to wow your family and friends with an Italian menu featuring your own homemade noodles? Check out our Italian menus.