Make the most of a long weekend with a hands-on kitchen project. Nutritious, homemade whole-wheat pasta calls for just a handful of ingredients and the method is simple — but it does take time. However, there’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying the results of your labor at the dinner table with a bowl of hearty, nutty pasta.
Use the ingredients and method below to mix, roll out and cut the pasta, then check back on Monday for an easy meatless main dish to showcase it.
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g.) whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g.) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. olive oil
To make the pasta, fit a food processor with the metal blade. Add the flours and the salt to the food processor work bowl and pulse to mix. Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and check for and remove any stray shells. Add the oil; there is no need to stir. Pour the eggs and oil into the food processor work bowl.
Process until the flour is evenly moistened and crumbly, about 10 seconds. Test the dough by pinching it; if it is very sticky, add more all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, processing until it is incorporated. After about 30 seconds total, the dough should come together in a loose ball and feel moist but not sticky.
Dust a clean work surface with flour. Remove the ball of dough from the food processor and place it in the center of the floured surface. Using your hands, flatten the dough into a disk. Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn, and repeat the kneading motion. After about 12-14 minutes, the dough should be smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball, cover with an overturned bowl and let rest for 15 minutes before you roll it out. The gluten in the flour will relax, making the dough easier to roll.
Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and slip 3 pieces back under the bowl. Flatten the remaining piece into a disk and dust with flour. Turning the crank, feed the dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter. Lightly flour both sides and feed it through again; this process further kneads the dough. Repeat the folding and rolling twice, dusting with flour as needed.
Narrow the rollers to the next notch, dust the dough with flour, and pass it through the rollers again. Catch the sheet with your hand and carefully guide it onto the work surface. Narrow the rollers to the next notch and feed the dough through again. If the dough tears, start again at the widest setting. Continue in this fashion, during with flour and repairing holes as needed. Stop at the second-to-last notch (1/16 inch/2 mm.).
At the end of rolling, you will have a long, smooth sheet 4-5 inches (10-13 cm.) wide from each of the 4 pieces of dough. To cut pasta sheets into strands, place the rolled out sheet flat on a clean work surface and cut it crosswise into 14-inch (35-cm.) lengths.
Fasten the machine’s cutting attachment and insert the crank. Feed the pasta sheets through the 1/4-inch (6-mm.) width blade and catch gently. Let dry for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.
Note: If you plan to cook fresh pasta strands within a few hours of cutting the, spread them out on clean, barely damp kitchen towels or hang them on a drying rack or the back of a chair and leave them to dry for at least 30 minutes, or until they develop a thin skin, up to 3 hours. Just before cooking, shake the strands to separate them. If you plan to refrigerate or freeze the fresh pasta strands, let them dry for 30 minutes, then half-cook them in salted boiling water (this prevents the strands from sticking together), drain immediately, rinse under cold running water to halt the cooking, and store in resealable plastic bags in the freezer. To cook, drop the frozen pasta into salted boiling water and cook as for fresh pasta (it may take a few more seconds to cook).