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I just got a pasta machine, and had my first try at making fresh pasta yesterday. I used the recipe in the booklet that came with the machine which called for 2 cups Semolina flour, 2 large eggs, and a bit of water and olive oil. Making the dough, rolling it out, and cutting the pasta went well, but I ran into a couple issues.

  1. Actually cooking it. I know how to tell when boxed pasta is done, but I'm not sure what the texture of fresh pasta should actually be like. Should it be similar to that of "Al dente" boxed pasta? Mine was weirdly soft and I'm not sure if it was under or over-cooked.

  2. The cooked pasta had a very rough, lumpy texture rather than the smooth texture I would expect. Is this due to the semolina flour, or did I maybe just not knead the dough enough?

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Did you use durum semolina or soft wheat semolina? And what size semolina? (You want 150-300 µm for pasta, that's finer than the semolina for porridge and nockerl). Also, what amount is this "2c"? –  rumtscho Dec 21 '11 at 13:45
    
Water and oil are unnecessary. Flour and eggs are the only ingredients you need, really. –  nico Dec 21 '11 at 14:59
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I would have said flour and water are the only ingredients you need. But the fact is, oil, water, eggs in different combinations make different pasta; not necessarily better or worse. –  slim Dec 21 '11 at 15:26
    
I did't realize there were different types of Semolina. I think I may have used one that wasn't fine enough. I'll try it with a finer grain Semolina next time. –  Nicole Apr 19 '12 at 13:35
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2 Answers 2

Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes, so taste it early. It should be al-dente just like properly cooked dried pasta. Let your fresh pasta dry (I hang mine over the back of a chair) for half an hour or longer before you cook it, so that there's some crunch for the al-dente feel.

Most recipes advise "type 00" flour, which is milled extra fine. You should be able to tell when you've kneaded enough - it just needs to feel perfectly smooth in your hands. You don't need to knead for ages like bread dough, but you do need to have mixed the liquid and the flour completely thoroughly.

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I find a quick zip with a cuisinart is enough to mix it thoroughly. –  Doug Dec 22 '11 at 1:19
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  1. Sounds over cooked. Fresh pasta and noodles don't take so long to cook as dried noodles of the same size.

  2. Might be the flour. If in doubt, try a different brand. Though semolina is the traditional flour for Italian pasta, just about any flour will make a pasta or noodle of some kind, though with varying textures and flavours. You can pay around with flour mixes and find one that suits you.

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