On New Year’s Eve a few weeks ago we were lucky enough to make last-minute plans to spend time with some very good friends. We got together for dinner and conversation, and dinner included some amazing homemade noodles. I could have eaten those noodles all day long, and as I ate them, I wondered why it never occurred to me to make homemade noodles. I’ve made plenty of homemade pasta, but I always make it in sheets to make ravioli or pierogi. I’ve never cut it up into noodles or even used it as pasta sheets for homemade lasagna. And yet, I have a pasta machine that Andy got me for Christmas years ago. It just seldom comes out. The time finally came to remedy that, and I have to give a serious warning here. Once you make homemade noodles and find out exactly how easy it is, you may never want to buy them again.
The first thing I needed was a recipe to follow. There are hundreds of different recipes for homemade noodles and homemade pasta. What I specifically was after this time was something resembling an egg noodle. After looking through several recipes, I went with my own variation and my own method.
I started with 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. You could certainly use some whole wheat flour here- I love the flavor of whole wheat egg noodles, but I wanted to try plain noodles for our first time. I added about 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt to the flour and put it all in my food processor. Ah, yes, the food processor. When I was thinking about making these, I was really dreading the kneading process, because I know that pasta dough is tough to knead, but it needs to be done. If my stand mixer were working and not a huge paperweight, I would have pulled that out, but I thought the food processor would work just fine. And it did!
To the flour in the processor, I added two eggs, which I’d beaten with a fork. I pulsed that up a few times, and then I simply turned the processor on to process. (I was using the regular blade btw.) While it was running, I slowly drizzled in 1/2 a cup of milk, and then I let it process until the dough came together in a ball rolling around the processor. I stopped the processor, removed the dough and gathered it up into a ball. I kneaded it just two or three times, and then set it aside to rest for ten minutes. The resting is important- it relaxes the dough and makes it easier to roll out later. Give it at least ten minutes- but you can definitely give it longer too if you want.
Once the dough had rested, I got out the pasta machine and started rolling out my dough. I divided my ball into four portions for rolling out and cutting. I would begin by rolling out my portion with a rolling pin until it was thin enough to start rolling it with the roller. I started with the thickest setting and rolled the pasta out through four thicknesses until the sheet was nice and long- I dusted with flour as I went to keep it from sticking to itself. Once I was happy with the thickness, I cut my long sheets in half and then sent them through the fettuccine wheel on my machine. You can certainly cut the noodles by hand, but since I could just give my pasta a crank and have it done, I went that route.
Lacking a pasta drying rack, I just dusted the noodles with flour and spread them out on one of my cooling racks. When all was said and done I had quite the pile of noodles, and I let them sit and air dry for about 2 hours before cooking them up.
They were amazing. I boiled them up simply in lightly salted water. When I dumped the noodles in, they sank right to the bottom of the pot. I just left them there for a minute or so, and then I gently stirred with a wooden spoon. As they cooked, they floated to the top and firmed up beautifully. All told, I cooked them for about five minutes- testing a few along the way until they were perfectly al dente.
Did I mention that these noodles were amazing? Once cooked I drizzled them with a small bit of melted butter, and we ate them with Swedish meatballs and brussels sprouts. They were just so good. The flavor was like no egg noodle I’d ever had, and the texture was incredibly satisfying. The best part was they really came together quickly. Other than the ten minute rest time, I went from flour to noodles in probably less than 20 minutes. And because it was so easy, I also have an idea to take some time one day in the near future and just make several batches of noodles, and then let them dry and store them in the freezer to have on hand. The next time we make pasta, the kids have already requested that we cut the noodles spaghetti size, as we have the roller for that as well. I may look for a semolina pasta dough for that one.
We’re most definitely hooked on homemade noodles. We may never go back to store bought. I can’t wait to use these for a batch of stroganoff or some chicken-n-dumplings.
Combine the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the beaten eggs and pulse a few times until evenly combined.
Turn on the food processor, and slowly drizzle in the 1/2 cup milk. Process until the dough comes together in a ball.
Remove the dough from the processor and knead it two or three times. Set the ball of dough aside for ten minutes to rest. If you would like to let it rest longer, cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap.
Divide the dough into four equal portions. One at a time, roll them out to the desired thickness, flouring as you go to keep the dough from sticking to itself. Use a pasta roller to cut the dough into ribbons, or roll it up and use a sharp knife to cut it.
Allow the noodles to dry for at least an hour before cooking. To cook them, bring a large pot of salted water to boiling, and cook the noodles for about five minutes- beginning to test them around three minutes to see if they are cooked through.