There's no denying the pleasure of dropping a handful of dried pasta into boiling water and producing dinner in mere minutes. But equally satisfying—and really, not much more difficult—is making pasta from scratch.
Making pasta isn't just a matter of impressing your dinner guests—though it definitely will. As we explain in our guide to making fresh pasta, dried and fresh pasta are entirely different products. Dried pastas tend to be denser and more heavy, which makes them ideal for standing up to rich sauces. Fresh pasta, on the other hand, is often lighter and more tender. For those nights when you have just a tiny bit more time, these are our eight favorite fresh pasta recipes.
Fresh pasta is quite simple to make, and this recipe is the simplest of them all. You'll start with a well of all-purpose flour, and drop a mixture of egg yolks and whole eggs into the well's center. Once the eggs and flour have been fully combined, you'll go to work kneading the pasta and rolling it through your pasta maker. This is the pasta dough we'll put to use in many of the following variations, so make a double batch.
Making tortellini is a great group activity, but you'll have no trouble pulling this recipe off on your own if it's a one-person dinner kind of night. A mix of mushrooms is cooked down with butter, shallots, garlic, and thyme along with red wine and Worcestershire sauce. The flavorful mixture is used to fill tortellini, which are served simply with grated Parmesan.
Mild, salty-sweet ricotta provides plenty of flavor to these simple ravioli. Gently pressing the ricotta between towels extracts extra water, so the filling remains firm and creamy. The ricotta is mixed with Parmesan, nutmeg, and lemon juice before it's dolloped onto sheets of pasta to be formed into ravioli.
If you're looking for ravioli with slightly more intense flavors, try your hand at these butternut squash and blue cheese ones. The squash provides the filling with plenty of creaminess and sweetness while the salty blue cheese adds a sharp funkiness. The cooked ravioli are finished with a nutty sage and brown butter sauce.
These oversized ravioli are each filled with a ring of creamy ricotta, which acts as a cushion for a runny egg yolk. The cooked ravioli are finished with a pancetta, butter, and white wine pan sauce.
To pull off all of these recipes, you've clearly gotten the hang of making fresh egg pasta. Now it's time to have some fun with naturally coloring your dough. Using squid ink, tomato paste, spinach, and beets, you can achieve a rainbow of fresh pasta.
If you're tired of classic egg and flour pastas (we're not sure that's even possible), it might be time to make some gnocchi. This recipe will guide you through the process of finding gnocchi-appropriate potatoes and teach you how to properly cook the formed gnocchi. Once they're boiled, the fluffy, pillowy dumplings are finished in a sage-butter sauce.
We're big on testing and tweaking a recipe until it's just right. But these ricotta and black pepper gnudi were pretty much perfect on first test. Balls of ricotta and Parmesan are tossed in semolina flour, so that when they're cooked, the gnudi have a gentle pasta shell. The fluffy balls of cheese are served in a toasty pool of brown butter and sage.
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