Making pasta from scratch can be an intimidating process at first, but with a bit of practise you will realise that it is not difficult. The time and effort required to prepare homemade pasta are definitely worth it. You reward? Delicate and delicious pasta dough with silky texture and rich flavours that will elevate your pasta dishes.
Pasta is the comfort food of choice for millions of people all over the world. One of the main reasons people like to make pasta dishes is their ease; simply put a pot onto boil, add your sauce, and… voilá! It takes around 10-11 minutes to cook dried pasta and about half the time for fresh pasta. Just five minutes for your tasty meal to be ready, what’s not to love?!
Is Making Your Own Pasta Worth the Effort?
Did I just say fresh pasta? Yes, I did! Making your own pasta from scratch is well worth considering, especially if you are spending a lot of time at home – like many of us are doing at the moment because of the pandemic.
I got into the habit of making pasta from scratch last year, during the first lockdown. There is something incredibly nourishing in creating beautiful and delicious food from scratch. Cooking at home gives me something to focus on for a few hours; it distracts me from the news; keeps me away from my phone; cooking keeps me active (trust me, standing at the kitchen counter is a physical activity); finally, creating a dish from scratch gives me instant gratification.
In this post, I want to share with you some of the many good reasons to go homemade when it comes to pasta.
Food from scratch is always better
When you make pasta from scratch, you will be using fresh, healthier ingredients, which is naturally much better for your body. You only need minimal ingredients to make pasta: flour, water, and eggs. You can exclude egg if you want a vegan pasta, but if you’re looking to add more protein to your diet, adding eggs to recipes is really beneficial – and they have tons of other health benefits too. Furthermore, you can use the flour of your choice (organic or gluten-free), which will ensure the overall product is much more nutritious. I like to use Italian re-milled durum wheat flour (called semola di grano duro rimacinata) which is rich in fiber and contains vitamins and minerals.
Whatever ingredients you use, we guarantee that your pasta will turn out way more delicious than the store-bought variety. And all you need to make tagliatelle as good as the ones you can eat in Bologna are the three pasta ingredients and a pasta maker!
It’s not actually that much effort!
Making pasta from scratch doesn’t actually require much more time or effort. If you want to make your pasta as fancy and delicious as possible, you will need to knead and rest the dough for a long time – but equally, you can make homemade pasta in five minutes if you’re in a rush. You don’t even need a pasta maker. Just knead the ingredients together and create whatever pasta shapes you want using your hands, like these Tuscan pici pasta.
Even if you make your homemade pasta quickly, it will still be miles better than anything you have bought in the store. And knowing that you have cooked it yourself makes it taste even better.
You can use less sauce
Ready made pasta sauces often have too much salt and sugar in them, which reduces the health benefits of the entire dish. However, if you make delicious fresh pasta, you’ll enjoy the taste of the actual pasta so much that you won’t need to drown it in sauce. Homemade pasta – especially if it’s filled pasta like ravioli or tortellini – is delicious with just some extra virgin olive oil and garlic or butter and sage. Another recipe I love which doesn’t require any sauce is a classic Carbonara with eggs and guanciale.
Fewer ingredients to make a tastier meal? Sounds good to us!
Cooking can help mental health
Whether you are cooking pasta alone or with someone else, it may be worth it for the mental health benefits alone. For many, cooking is a way to relax, find some accomplishment, and focus on one particular thing. If you have some free time at the weekend, making your own pasta could really help you to get into a clear headspace!
And, if you cook more than you need, you could always freeze your pasta and eat it at a later date. Most fresh pasta recipes can be frozen. Alternatively, you could make the dough and let it rest for up to 48 hours before making more pasta.
It’s a fun bonding activity
Want a different in-house date night for you and your partner? Or are you looking for a fun activity as part of a girls’ weekend? Maybe you need a way to keep the kids quiet on a Saturday afternoon? Making pasta is a wholesome pursuit that everybody will enjoy. It’s a bonding activity for you and whoever you are cooking with, and you’ll all get to enjoy the product of your hard work at the end.
For an extra challenge, you can make a pesto sauce with rocket (arugula), walnuts and Parmigiano or Grana Padano cheese. Or make a Sicilian pesto with tomatoes and almonds, and garlic. These flavourful and fresh sauces will complement your pasta perfectly! If you are working in a duo, one of you could make the sauce and one the pasta – or, if there is a bigger group of you, you could have a ‘pesto team’ and a ‘pasta team’!
It reduces food waste
Pasta is generally packaged in non-recyclable plastic and is transported for miles, across countries, before it ends up in your cupboard. Make the switch to fresh, homemade pasta for a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You could easily source some locally milled flour and eggs from your nearest farm or food market, making the dish much more sustainable.
There are so many reasons to cook delicious pasta at home. It’s healthier, more wholesome, and better for the environment than going down the store-bought route! All you need are some basic ingredients and a pasta maker to make all of your Italian cooking dreams come true.