How to Make Pasta

Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to make, but it requires some expertise. I’ve put together this step-by-step guide to get you started regardless of whether you use a pasta machine or just use your hands!

First and foremost, set up your work area. Grab a sheet pan (if unavailable, use an oven safe tray or cake stand instead) and a clean surface to work on.


Pasta is made with three basic ingredients: flour, eggs and salt. You can use all-purpose flour, semolina or “00.” Eggs add texture and richness to certain types of pasta as well as keeping the dough soft and elastic.

Utilizing a food processor can expedite the kneading process. Alternatively, you can do it by hand but expect it to take longer for similar results.

Once the dough has rested for at least 30 minutes, roll it out and cut into noodles. You can either hang them on a drying rack or swirl them into little pasta “nests” before placing them flat on a floured surface to dry for 30 minutes.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Season generously with salt (about one tablespoon for every 4 quarts), and stir the mixture with a wooden spoon before adding pasta.

Cooking times for various pasta varieties vary. Most dried ribbon pasta such as linguine, spaghetti and tagliatelle require between 8-10 minutes for cooking, while shorter shapes like bows or penne require 10-12 minutes in the same temperature water bath.

After about 8 minutes of boiling, carefully fish a piece or strand of pasta out of the pan and test for doneness. If not, return the pan to heat and continue cooking for another minute.


Kneading dough requires your hands to press and squeeze it until it is smooth and ready to bake. Doing this helps the gluten proteins in flour develop their structure, creating a network of bonds which will give the dough its elastic texture when baked.

When making pasta, this step is essential and cannot be skipped. Without it, your pasta will be tough and stiff with an uneven texture; this could lead to difficulty rolling it and a dry, dense crumb when cooked.

For optimal results, let your pasta rest for around 5 minutes before rolling it out again. This allows the gluten strands to relax and become orientated before rolling it out again.


Resting pasta dough is an integral step in the production of fresh pasta. It helps the flour hydrate and allows gluten strands to relax, creating a strong yet flexible dough that’s easily rolled.

Pasta dough should be shaped and folded multiple times before rolling out into long strands of noodles. Doing this helps the dough maintain its shape while you prepare the fillings for your dish.

To rest the pasta dough, place it in a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.


Once the dough has rested, you are ready to begin rolling. Place your pasta roller on a table or counter and adjust its dial to its widest setting – typically marked “1.”

Pinch the dough between your hands and feed it through the machine. Repeat this step one or twice more, folding it into thirds before feeding through at its widest setting.

This folding step helps to strengthen the gluten in flour, giving it a chewier texture when cooked. Furthermore, it prevents the dough from tearing when taken from the machine.