Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing difficult about making pasta from scratch.
One of the great features of fresh pasta is its slightly rough texture which helps the sauce to cling to it.
When I have the time and energy to make homemade pasta, I usually end up not having enough time or energy left over to make a fancy sauce.
So I like reward myself by sticking with an extremely simple marinara sauce to go with my fresh noodles.
Although I present a very basic recipe here, have fun expanding it.
It would easily accept other ingredients such as capers, olives, anchovies, chopped clams, mushrooms, or a splash of red wine.
Antipasto Platter of Cheese, Olives, and Marinated Vegetables
Warm Country Bread
Homemade Pasta with Marinara
Leafy Green Salad
2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon salt
3 medium eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 14 ounce cans of tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
a good handful of fresh basil
Sift the flour and the salt together into a large mixing bowl and make a well or shallow pit in the center.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Pour the eggs into the well and start incorporating the flour into it with a fork.
Once enough of the flour has been incorporated to keep the liquid from being too runny, transfer the contents from the bowl to a clean work surface or counter dusted with flour.
Start kneading the mixture to finish blending it all together.
Knead for another 5 to 10 minutes, dusting the counter with more flour if necessary.
At this point, the dough should be satiny and elastic in texture.
Wrap the dough lightly in plastic wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
After resting, cut the dough into four quarters.
Using a pasta machine, pass one of the quarters of dough through the machine while it is set on the widest aperture.
Continue to pass the dough through gradually narrower settings, stopping at a fairly thin setting (usually the second or third to last setting on any pasta machine.)
To make the noodles, passed the rolled dough through one of the cutting settings (I usually use the setting for spaghetti but you can cut fettuccini or tagliatelli noodles if you like.)
Separate the freshly cut noodles, tossing with plenty of flour to prevent sticking, and bundle the noodles together nicely on a plate.
Repeat this process with the remaining quarters of pasta dough and then set the noodles aside while you prepare the sauce.
To make the sauce, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pan.
Add the garlic and the crushed red pepper to the pan.
Saute for about 2 minutes until the garlic is softened and fragrant but not browned.
If the garlic starts to brown, reduce the heat.
Drain the tomatoes, reserving their juice, and coarsely chop.
Add the tomatoes, the reserved juice, and the tomato paste to the pan.
Simmer the sauce until it has thickened (about 10 minutes).
Season with salt.
Bring 4 to 5 quarts of salted water to a boil.
Add the pasta and cook for about 1-1/2 to 2 minutes.
Transfer to a large warm bowl and top with the tomato sauce.
Chop the basil or tear by hand and add it to the bowl.
Toss gently until all of the pasta is coated with sauce.
Serve with a bowl of grated parmesan cheese on the side so your guests can add it to their liking.
Makes 4 to 6 servings