Fresh Pasta Experiment (Pt 1)

We’re starting a new journey today! I haven’t made pasta since culinary school so when it comes to make them from scratch I’m basically a rookie! With Adrienne loving her pastas, I thought it would be great to start a new series learning and relearning some of our favorite noodles: from ramen and to vermicelli noodles to the popular Italian egg pastas. Do you have a favorite pasta? Let us know in the comments and we will try to get learn how to make it!

For this first episode we will head back to culinary school basics to make the basic Italian egg pasta. We’ll test a few recipes: the popular general guideline of 100g flour: 1 egg, a recipe from my culinary school textbook (similar ratio but with the addition of olive oil), and Helen Rennie’s “reproducible” recipe. She has a great video on pasta basics and even kind of ripped on Samin Nosrat’s (whom we love) basic guide a bit, but we’re interested in just how reliable her specific recipe is. Let’s dive into how this experiment went!

100:1 Guide

Ingredients

  • 100g 00 Flour
  • 1 Large Egg

Instructions

  1. Pour flour into a large bowl or directly onto your work surface.
  2. Make a well in the flour and crack your egg in the well.
  3. Use a fork to gently beat the egg and slowly drag the flour into the egg until you fully incorporate the egg and flour.
  4. If too dry, slowly add water and knead until dough comes together smoothly.

Impressions

I thought this was a decent guide and I can see why it’s widely used, however, there’s a lot of external factors that play a part in the dough. Variables like the humidity of the environment, types of salt, time of day, the varying “standard” sizes of eggs and different types of flours can change how your dough will come out. Basically, it will take that knowledge and then experience to recognize the differences in the dough. Pro pasta makers, not unlike chefs, will simply give you a guide to follow and push you to train your feels when making pasta and I’m all for that. I think that is what builds a lot of skill and character in the kitchen through failing and experimentation.

We’ve mentioned it before but honestly anyone can follow a recipe but even recipes are not fail safe because what is written in Italy will 100000% be different if I make it here in California just based on the ingredients we have access to. So this guide can be tricky for us newbies, but it’s still worth a try.

In the end, I made a dough with 200g of flour and 2 large eggs and found that it was very dry and didn’t come together no matter how long it took me to knead (20 minutes and a lot of sweat). I added a tiny bit of water and continued to knead and thought the process was just ridiculous, because it felt completely smooth. So I even tried again but added an extra egg, the kneading was a wonderful process but felt way wet so I had to incorporate more flour until it was smooth and a little tacky. But when it was time to roll out and cut this 3 egg dough it was way too moist and soft, that it did not cut properly through the machine. My feels failed me but it wasn’t a total loss because now I know what too moist and too dry feel like in my hands and gained some XP.

Culinary School Textbook (CCA)

Ingredients

  • 450g 00 Flour
  • 4 Large Eggs
  • 30mL Olive Oil
  • Sprinkle of Kosher Salt

Instructions

  1. Pour flour into a large bowl or directly onto your work surface.
  2. Make a well in the flour and add your eggs, olive oil and salt in the well.
  3. Use a fork to gently mix wet ingredients and slowly drag the flour into the center until everything comes together.
  4. If too dry, slowly add water and knead until dough comes together smoothly. If too wet, slowly add flour.

Impressions

This recipe was much easier to work with and I thought to myself man this is the one!! it was what I expected an ideal dough would feel like when kneading: not too sticky, easy to knead and it got soft and smooth. After resting, the dough just barely stuck to the plastic wrap, so it wasn’t as wet as Helen Rennie’s recipe, so I felt really good about the dough, but when the machine still had a hard time cutting which tells me that it was still too wet.

Helen Rennie’s Recipe (HR)

Ingredients

  • 150g 00 Flour
  • 2tsp Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
  • 185g Wet Ingredients: 2 Large Eggs + 3 Large Yolks + water

Instructions

  1. Weigh 2 eggs and 3 yolks, then add water until you reach 185g.
  2. Pour flour into a large bowl or directly onto your work surface.
  3. Make a well in the flour and add wet ingredients in the well.
  4. Use a fork to gently mix wet ingredients and slowly drag the flour into the center until everything comes together.
  5. If too dry, slowly add water and knead until dough comes together smoothly. If too wet, slowly add flour.

Impressions

I found this recipe to be fairly wet to work with, but not as much as the 3 egg batch I mentioned earlier. After resting, the dough was wet enough that I had trouble removing the plastic wrap. I did flour it before wrapping it up, so I’m not sure why it was that wet. As expected, my pasta machine also had a hard time cutting the dough even with more flouring.

Adrienne’s Tasting Conclusion

Unfortunately we were a bit lax with our experiment and did not exactly control all the comparisons, like the cook time and then we happened to have enough dough to cut both wide and skinny noodles for the latter 2 recipes. Nonetheless, we’ll share our tasting impressions of each recipe. Unsurprisingly, the 100:1 dough ended up having an unpleasant bite to it. It sort of broke and crumbled in your mouth rather than any chew, so the dryness of the dough translated into a rough noodle that had no elasticity. Our favorite wide (fettuccine/linguine) noodle was the CCA recipe, which was the only one with a chew, but when we cut it thin, the chew was lost (though this might have been due to overcooking, not 100% sure). For the thinner cut, we found HR’s recipe to have the best texture.

While HR’s recipe claims to be reliable and reproducible, we found it a little too wet to be trusted as a base recipe. Moving forward we’ll be working from the more balanced CCA recipe and share our tweaks and tips in the near future! Let us know what you think of the experiment or any questions/suggestions you may have in the comments below.

Photo Gallery

Tools Used To Make This Dish*
You can support our creations at no additional cost to you by using our affiliate links below. Much love!

Camera Gear List*

*We are participants in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Leave a Reply

We're glad you want to join in the conversation! Please keep in mind that comments are moderated and will only be published upon approval. Your email address is required but will not be displayed.