Published May 1, 2012. From Cook's Illustrated.
Pasta made from scratch delivers eggy-rich ribbons with springy yet delicate chew. But what if, instead of a pasta roller, you have only a rolling pin?
Rolling out pasta dough by hand is no easy task. The dough has a tendency to spring back—and if it isn’t rolled out gossamer thin, the pasta will never achieve the right al dente texture when cooked.
We wanted a dough that any cook could roll out with ease on the first try and that would cook up to that incomparably tender, silky yet slightly chewy texture that makes homemade pasta so worth the effort.
In addition to racking up centuries of experience, the pasta experts in Italy have another hand-rolling advantage: the best kind of flour for the job—doppio zero, or OO. This flour produces a malleable dough that’s far easier to work with than dough made from all-purpose flour.
Unfortunately, OO flour is difficult to find in the United States. To achieve similarly soft dough, we turned to egg yolks. Egg yolks provide all three of the things that give pasta dough its texture: liquid, protein, and fat. Once we found the optimum number of yolks, our dough took on a beautiful yellow hue, yielded to gentle pressure with a rolling pin, and cooked up into delicate ribbons with a springy bite.
We then turned our attention to finding the best way to rest, roll, and cut the pasta. After being mixed, pasta dough is often given a short rest to allow the flour to fully hydrate and the newly formed gluten to cross-link into a network and then relax. We discovered that the longer we rested our dough, the more malleable it became.
We then found the best way to form our dough into noodles: by breaking it down into smaller pieces and employing our fingers and rolling pin to get it thin enough to use in any of our favorite pasta dishes.list of recipes