A healthy and from-scratch Italian feast is only 5 ingredients away! Homemade pasta is a little time consuming, but the results are well worth it. An effortless sauce and a sprinkle of cheese finish off the dish. Happy Italian Week!
Yield: 6 Servings
For the pasta:
3 ½ cups “00” flour (or all-purpose flour)
5 large eggs
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1, 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano recommended)
Large chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (rind removed, but do not discard), grated (1 ½ cups)
Additional items and equipment:
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pasta water (reserve after cooking pasta)
Equipment: Pasta roller and cutter
This classic pasta flour has a finer texture and lower protein content, which helps make for tender pasta. Look for this type of flour in large grocery stores or Italian markets. If you can’t find it, use all-purpose instead.
Eggs are the only other ingredient you need for perfect pasta. They add some fat, liquid and also give the pasta its yellow tint. If the eggs are on the smaller side, the dough might seem dry. If so, add a small amount of warm water (1 tablespoon at a time) to add some extra moisture.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Since the sauce only has 3 main ingredients, you want them to be the highest quality. Use the best EVOO you can find to give the sauce texture and flavor.
The San Marzano variety of tomato are said to be the best of the best. Tender and slightly sweet, with just enough acid, they make a mean tomato sauce.
This pungent and tangy Italian cheese is the secret ingredient. Sprinkle over cooked pasta but also add the rind to the sauce while it cooks to infuse extra flavor– a trick from my beloved Italian grandfather.
For the pasta, (*see note) mound flour on a large cutting board or countertop and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and scramble gently with a fork, slowly incorporating more and more flour into the eggs. Once the dough starts to come together, use hands to mold in into a ball (dough will be very loose and messy at first). Knead well, for approximately 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and firm. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes while you prepare the sauce.
For the sauce, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Crush tomatoes with clean hands and add tomatoes along with all remaining liquid in the can to the hot oil. Season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly-ground black pepper; mix well to combine. Reduce heat to low, add Parmesan rind and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While the sauce is cooking, roll out dough and cut into fettuccine or other desired shape following the directions on your pasta maker.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling and salted water for 3 to 4 minutes until just cooked through. Transfer cooked pasta to sauce and toss gently to combine. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and add to the sauce as desires. Top each serving of pasta with 1/4 cup grated cheese and serve.
*Note: Some electric mixers have their own instructions for dough preparation. Check the users manual on your machine.
Nutrition Info Per Serving (2 cups of cooked pasta with sauce & 1/4 cup cheese):
Calories: 457 calories
Total Fat: 15 grams
Saturated Fat: 3 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 54 grams
Protein: 22 grams
Sodium: 629 milligrams
Cholesterol: 198 milligrams
Fiber: 3 grams
TELL US: Have you ever made fresh pasta?
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »