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Homemade pasta: rotini, orecchiette and machine-cut noodles

Making your own pasta is the best way to know exactly what goes into it: to avoid preservatives or additives and use only fresh ingredients. While it’s not something that you need to do every time you want a bowl of the stuff, it’s also a great way to learn a bit more about the world of noodles.

The basic recipe for fresh pasta is simple: flour and eggs (1 cup flour to 1 egg). You can add a bit of salt or a bit of olive oil (to make the dough a bit more pliable), but those are optional. If you’d like to get colorful (and flavorful), you can add herbs, tomato paste or spinach.

Mixing, and rolling, your own pasta means you can choose the texture; you can pick your flour- like unbleached white, whole wheat or spelt- and also, the different shapes. It’s a chance to move beyond spaghetti or macaroni and explore pappardelle and penne, manicoti and maltagliati.

Octagenarian Ann Gillis uses only organic materials for making her home-made pastas (see video How to make Slow gnocchi for one example). In this video she shows us how to make orecchiette, noodles (with a hand-cranked machine) and some twisty types (our version of fusilli, rotini or gemelli).