Making homemade pasta shapes is a tradition that stretches back through the centuries, but it’s also a tradition that’s in danger of being lost to packaged, store-bought dried pasta!
We’re here to show you that making pasta by hand really isn’t as difficult as you might think. We'd say that making fun shaped pasta is not only enjoyable but rewarding too.
To make pasta, we only need flour, egg, salt, and a dash of olive oil. We can even use a pasta maker to speed the process up when it comes to rolling that dough into shape. And once we have our dough, we can cut spaghetti, we can make farfalle shapes, and we can make lasagna, tagliatelle, fettuccine, cavatelli, capitelli pasta, and so many more
Let's take a look at the best homemade pasta shapes that you can make at home!
There are three ways that we can make homemade pasta shapes; completely by hand, with a pasta maker, or with a combination of the two.
Whichever method you prefer, though, you need to start by making fresh pasta dough. Once we have our dough, then we can roll it and shape it into different pasta noodles types.
Here's how to make fresh egg pasta dough from scratch.
Note: you can speed this process up by adding your ingredients to a food processor and blending everything into a dough. You’ll still need to knead the dough by hand, though.
With our dough ready, we need to mould it into our pasta shapes. To start, turn the ball of dough into flat sheets of pasta that are easier to cut. The best way to do this is to divide your ball of dough into four pieces before putting it through a pasta maker.
The pasta maker can give you a long, thin sheet of pasta that is then easy to cut into more complex shapes. Alternatively, pasta makers can also produce basic pasta shapes with little effort on your part. You can easily turn out homemade spaghetti noodles, lasagna sheets, fettuccine noodles, and ravioli shapes with a pasta maker.
For more complex pasta shapes and names, once we’ve put the dough through the machine to flatten it, we need to work on the pasta by hand. Alternatively, if you’re making homemade pasta without machine, then you’ll need to roll your dough into long thin sheets using a rolling pin on a floured surface.
The next part is where things get fun; here are our favorite pasta shapes and knife-cut noodles to make by hand.
Farfalle pasta shapes are like little bow ties, with a fun little twist in the middle giving this pasta its unique look. To make farfalle, we first need to cut a large sheet of flat dough into small squares. They can be as big or small as you like.
You then take each square and twist it in the middle to form the bow tie. You can then twist each end slightly to give it that distinctive farfalle look.
Fusilli is a staple of the dried pasta world, but we can easily prepare these spiralized pieces of pasta at home too.
To make fusilli, we first need to slice our sheet of pasta into long, thin strips, about an inch wide. We then need to roll each strip up so you have a thicker, rope-like texture.
From here, you can twist the rope to achieve that spiral fusilli shape before cutting each rope into smaller, bite-sized fusilli pieces.
Cavatelli is a fun pasta to shape by hand, but it does take a little skill and expertise to get right. Cavatelli are small pieces of rolled pasta with a hollow, open center (sort of like a small, rolled shell).
First, turn your dough into long pieces or thick ‘rope,’ then slice this rope into half-inch pieces. Place your pieces onto a floured surface, then fold one edge over towards you to create a hollow shell.
Pappardelle is a long, thick pasta, and it could be the easiest to make by hand. All you need to do is roll your pasta out into a long sheet, then slice it into evenly sized ribbons which have a 1-inch diameter.
This is one pasta that’s hard to mess up, and it’s perfect for beginners!
Orecchiette (or ‘small ears’) are small, rounded pieces of pasta that are said to resemble the human ear. Like cavatelli, they are a little fiddly to make, but that’s part of the fun.
Start by turning your dough into long ropes, about ¼ of an inch in thickness. Cut the rope into much smaller pieces, and then use a knife to give each piece a hollow center (wrap the dough around the knife to get the shape).
Once you have your homemade fettuccine noodles or hand-rolled ravioli, you’ll need to actually start cooking the pasta!
Fresh pasta takes no time at all to cook, and for most types of fresh pasta, we can simply boil it in lightly salted water for 2 to 3 minutes. Thicker pasta might take a minute or so longer than thinner types of pasta.
You can store fresh pasta for 2 to 3 days in the fridge, or you can freeze it for several months. Once cooked, it’s best to eat your pasta fresh!
That wasn’t too difficult, was it? Whether you’re making hand-rolled pasta, swirly pasta, circle pasta, tiny round pasta, or any other pasta styles, it’s a great idea to start the process by rolling out thin pasta dough using a pasta maker.
From there, you can get technical, you can get artsy, and you can get creative by shaping your handmade pasta by hand (and with the help of a sharp knife). Why not save our guide to homemade pasta shapes for your next pasta making session?
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