This recipe can be easily halved; while you are getting used to the technique, working in smaller quantities may be easier. The pasta must dried for several hours, until no moisture remains, before is can be stored. Cook the pasta in boiling water until al dente, about 1 minute.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 4 large eggs
To make the dough by hand, mound flour in the center of a work surface, and make a well in the middle. Crack eggs into the well.
Beat eggs with a fork until smooth, then begin to work flour into eggs with the fork.
Use a bench scraper to work in the rest of the flour, a bit at a time.
Once all the flour has been incorporated, start working the dough with your hands to form a rounded mass for kneading. Be sure your work surface is clean of all loose bits of dough; lightly dust with flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
Cover dough with an inverted bowl or plastic wrap; allow to rest 1 1/2 hours, or chill overnight.
To roll using a machine: Divide dough into 4 pieces. Quickly knead and flatten a portion of dough into a disc shape somewhat narrower than the machine opening; very lightly dust the dough with flour. Feed through at your machine's widest setting. (If pasta pulls or tears when passing through machine, simply sprinkle a little more flour over the dough, just before it's fed, to keep it from sticking. When finished, remove excess flour with a dry brush.) As the pasta sheet emerges, gently support it with your palm and guide it onto the work surface. Fold the sheet lengthwise into thirds. Repeat sequence twice with the same setting to smooth the dough and increase its elasticity. Then thin the dough by passing it through ever finer settings, one pass on each setting from widest to narrowest (machine settings differ -- some have as many as 10, others only 6). For ribbon pasta, roll remaining three portions of dough as soon as the first is finished. For filled pasta, it's best to roll and cut a single portion at a time, otherwise the dough will dry out.
To roll by hand: Lightly flour a clean work surface. With a rolling pin, vigorously roll dough to a very thin circle; apply even pressure. As it stretches, roll constantly. Do not bear down, or it will tear. Roll for several minutes, until dough is as thin as possible, almost translucent. If it shrinks back as you roll, cover with a towel, and let rest 10 minutes before you resume rolling.
To cut by hand: Lightly fold sheets one at a time into thirds. Cut with a sharp knife to desired thickness.