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5 Healthy Homemade Pasta Recipes That Taste so Good, You’ll Want to Ditch the Boxed Stuff

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsApril 28, 2020

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When I started going through puberty at the delicate age of 12-and-three-quarters, pasta-making was my biggest source of self-care. I’m ashamed to say that I threw an Oscar-worthy temper tantrum to convince my parents I, quote, “needed” the special Kitchen Aid pasta roller attachment ($60) and spent countless hours perfecting my fettuccini. Alas, the device is now gathering dust at my ‘rents’ place, but every once in awhile, I’ll pull out my favorite homemade pasta recipes and cut noodles by hand. Unlike middle school, lasagna never disappoints.

Brandon Whitestone, the executive chef at Mia’s Italian Kitchen in Alexandria, VA and Orlando, FL, knows a thing or two about making about pasta. His restaurants serve-up mouthwatering, made-from-scratch noodle dishes like cacio e pepe, carbonara, and pomodoro—and I asked him to give me his super-secret recipe. (You’re welcome.) And even though I never got any formal training in Florence or anything, Whitestone confirms that I’m indeed correct in my recipe and ratios.

The most simple pasta dough only requires flour, salt, and eggs (plus, a whole lot of heart). Below, you’ll learn how to knead that sweet, sweet dough and use a pasta machine or a knife to make beautiful strands of carbs.

The best homemade pasta recipes to learn and love

homemade pasta recipes
Photo: Getty Images/Food Collection

Chef Brandon Whitestone’s homemade pasta recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour (you can sub whole wheat, but the pasta will be a bit denser)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, plus 2 egg yolks (beaten together)

Instructions

  1. Combine flour and salt in a bowl and mix. Add the eggs and yolks and mix by hand until the dough comes together (no more loose shaggy bits). If the dough is dry, add cold water a tablespoon at a time, mixing between additions, until it comes together. You can also do the combining part using a food processor or a stand mixer on a very low setting only until combined. Don’t overwork the dough.
  2. If desired, you can add a teaspoon of garlic powder or any other dry spice and whisk it into the flour before you add the egg. To make colored pasta, use one egg, and one egg yolk, and add one ounce of beet juice, or juiced spinach.
  3. Transfer the dough to a wooden cutting board (if you don’t have a board use your counter, just make sure it is clean and dry and that you have rinsed it with clean water if you clean with any chemical-based cleaners).
  4. Knead the dough for one minute and form dough into a ball and has a silky texture to the touch, then press into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Let it rest for two hours at room temperature. If you want to save it to make the pasta at a later time, put directly into the refrigerator and remove it from the refrigerator three hours before you want to use it.
  5. Divide the dough into five pieces, and knead until smooth (one to two minutes).
  6. Cut up the dough using either a pasta roller or by hand (see specific methodology below).
  7. Sprinkle semolina on a sheet pan, and spread the cut pasta out on it and let dry for an hour.
  8. Cook in boiling salted water for two to four minutes.

Pasta cutting method 1: pasta rollers

If you’re okay with a little bit of extra clean up, it might be worth investing in a pasta roller. They come in two varieties: ones you crank by hand (like this $48 gizmo) and automatic ones you can attach to your stand mixer (like this $150 one). In my experience (and FWIW, Whitestone agrees) pasta rollers make the whole process a little bit more high maintenance because the noodles can easily stick together, or get caught in the machine. But hey, it’s your kitchen—you do what you want to.

If you do choose to go the machine route, you’ll want to follow the specific instructions you find in the box, which will include choosing your desired pasta shape, rolling out the dough to be roughly the width of a quarter, and running it through the contraption until you have no remaining dough.

Pasta cutting method 2: use your hands and a sharp knife

  1. Press pasta dough until it is flat and roughly 1/2-inch thick. Dust the pieces with flour on both sides and gently rub it with your fingers so that both sides of the piece are not sticky.
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll it out as thin as possible, roughly to the thickness of a quarter. You may need to add more flour to the pasta surfaces to keep them from sticking.
  3. Once the dough is the thickness you want, dust it with semolina or flour and loosely roll it up.
  4. Use a sharp knife and cut into 1/2-inch thick strips, then toss lightly in flour.
  5. Repeat with remaining portions of dough, rolling thinly, dusting with semolina, and cutting into thin strips.
  6. Proceed to dry and cook as specified above.

Got leftover pasta? Here’s how to store it

If you roll out your desired amount of noodles and find that you’ve got extra dough, then congratulations, you’re going to get to enjoy more homemade pasta really, really soon. First, though, you’ll have to dry it out by leaving the strands on a hanger, pan, or countertop until the noodles are so rigid that they break when you try to bend them. (This can take up to a day.) Only then can you place them in Tupperware and enjoy for weeks ahead.

Let’s say, on the other hand, that you’re fully intending on using the pasta, like, tomorrow. “I let it rest at room temperature covered by a clean cloth towel for two hours to dry slightly, then put it in an unsealed plastic sandwich bag to store in the fridge. Keeping it unsealed is important so that there is no condensation in the bag. It should hold for four to five days, but for each day you store it, you will need to cook it for one to two minutes longer as the moisture will evaporate. The pasta will also get slightly darker as it ages, so it may not look as pretty the older it gets,” says Whitestone.

Now you need a sauce, right? Here are 5 healthy ways to dress up that delicious homemade pasta.

When you put extra TLC into making your homemade pasta, you, of course, want to make sure that the sauce is equally delicious. Fresh pasta’s flavors are so good that Whitestone likes to keep his sauce as simple as possible. “I almost always just make a simple sauce with the canned tomatoes I always keep in the pantry. Just pick a tomato brand you like and keep whole peeled tomatoes on hand,” he says. Or, try one of the recipes below.

1. Vegetarian bolognese

Instead of beef, this recipe calls for cauliflower, mushrooms, and tons of other veggies to create that hearty bolognese flavor that just makes you want to yell “Mama Mia!” at everyone in close proximity to you.

2. Tomato and olive pasta

pasta with anchovies
Photo: Simply Gluten-Free

Cooked in a cast-iron skillet, this recipe won’t fill your sink with unnecessary dishes and is still simple enough to let the pasta be the shining star of the meal.

3. kale pasta salad

Chef Klancy Miller designed this delicious, cold pasta recipe as part of of Well+Good’s new series, Cook With UsThose little red spots you see in the pasta are indeed pomegranate seeds—and they provide a kick of sweetness that you never knew you needed.

4. VEGAN ROSÉ PASTA WITH SPINACH AND SAUTEED MUSHROOMS

Photo: The Healthy Foodie

Rosé pasta? Be still my heart. This creative pasta dish combines hummus and nutritional yeast for a cheesy, protein-packed meal that doesn’t contain a speck of meat.

5. Vegan spaghetti and meatballs

vegan spaghetti and meatballs recipe
Photo: Vegan Heaven

It’s not a pasta recipe without spaghetti and meatballs. This vegan version comes together with the help of kidney beans and sunflower seeds. Eat up!

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