Here is the ratio I usually start with. For fresh pasta made in the northern style, ideally, you’d use 00 flour, which is ground finer than A.P. and renders a smoother, silkier texture. If you have 00 flour, by all means use it. But the dough will turn out just fine if you use A.P.
There are many different types of fresh pasta recipes. In the south, pasta is primarily made with water and a hard wheat flour, such as semolina made from durum wheat. You can also add other agents to your dough like pureed spinach or squid ink, to impart different flavors and colors.
That being said, this is a solid base recipe to start with.
- 2 cups A.P. flour
- 2 egg yolks + 2 eggs
Pour the flour onto a clean surface. Use a wood surface if you have one — it is easier to make and shape the pasta dough on wood. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in the eggs. Using your pointer and middle fingers, start slowly mixing the eggs and incorporating them into flour by gradually pulling bits of flour into the egg. Go slowly so you don’t break the wall of flour that keeps the eggs from spilling out. Keep incorporating wet into dry, eventually using a bench scraper to fold the outer edges of flour into the wet mass. By now, you should have a shaggy mass of dough. Start kneading by hand by pushing the heel of your hand down and forward, then folding the dough in half toward you, turning 90 degrees, and repeating. It should look like: Push, pull/fold, turn. Push, pull/fold, turn.
Knead the dough until you get a smooth, stiff mass, about 8-10 minutes. Cover with plastic and let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before using.
Cut the dough into four pieces. Feed one piece through the pasta rollers at the widest setting. Fold the dough in thirds like a book. Turn the dough 90 degrees and feed it through again. This is a secondary process of kneading. Do this several more times until the dough feels silken and even.
At this point, slowly start narrowing the width on the pasta rollers until you reach your desired thickness. Each pasta machine has different numbers that correspond to different thicknesses. If making a filled pasta like ravioli or tortelli, you’ll need to roll the pasta out to nearly translucent since you’ll be doubling up the dough. I normally roll my sheets for cut noodles and lasagna sheets to #6 on my Kitchen Aide pasta roller.
From here, you can fill the sheets for a filled pasta such as ravioli, or you could start shaping your favorite pasta. I especially love cappellacci dei briganti. Agnolotti dal plin is a fun-filled pasta shape.