This is our first post for a campaign that we are calling “master posts.” The goal with these is to help people understand that they can cook the elemental building blocks of cuisine that are perceived to be more technically advanced. If you get comfortable with them (and you really can), they can become habits, routines, skills, and traditions. Learning how to make some of the things we want to teach you here will help you make better food no matter what recipe you choose to make, and better food means better quality of life.
In this post, we will help you, dear reader, learn that you can do hard things. At least, you may think that they’re hard, but they’re not. Not even a little bit.
You, yes you, can make noodles. Good ones. Ones that taste like you went out to eat. Maybe better. It won’t even cost you a whole dollar. Hands on time to make them is about ten minutes; maybe even less.
You can use these noodles for pretty much anything you want.
Pasta dish? Damn right.
Stir fried noods? For sure.
Noodle soups? Ramen? Guuurl, do it.
Then keep reading and grab all of the TWO ingredients you need.
You probably already have them.
Note: For this recipe, we wholeheartedly recommend that you get a pasta crank. No need for an extruder or any gadgets that cost hundreds of dollars. Just get a crank. They’re $30, and you might like this recipe so much that you’ll be making noodles a couple times a week. At that rate, it’ll more than pay for itself in time, and it opens up so many delicious doors for you. If you’re not totally sold on that idea, you can still roll this dough out by hand and cut it with a knife. Your noodles will probably be on the thicker side as a result, but thick noodles made with this dough make really excellent stir-frys, so keep that in mind if that’s the route you choose.
Another note: This recipe is written for people without a Kitchen Aid, so it’s pretty hands on. But if you DO have one (like we do) just beat the eggs in the mixer with the paddle attachment, then add the flour and mix it until it all just starts to come together, then follow the resting and shaping instructions written below.
Everyday Noods ingredients:
2 cups flour
3 fresh eggs
Making the dough:
In a bowl, add the flour and create a shallow well in the center with it for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the center of the well and beat them with a fork until they look like what you’d use for scrambled eggs.
Gradually stir the flour into the eggs with the fork, moving more and more flour to the center of the well. When the eggs have absorbed most of the the flour and the fork can no longer help you mix, use your hands and finish mixing the dough. Once everything is integrated, remove the dough from the bowl and place it onto a working surface with a small dusting of flour.
Knead the dough until all ingredients are just coming together. It might look a bit crumbly at this stage, but trust me, it’s ready. You can choose to knead the dough even further if you want a more toothsome noodle; this is especially a good idea if you are going to stir fry them since they need to hold up a little bit better to withstand the high heat and being tossed around. However, if you’re making a pasta dish where all you need to do is toss them in a sauce, I’d recommend kneading them less so your noodles retain a soft, gentle, and sexy texture. At the end of the day it’s all up to your own personal preference.
Wrap the dough after you’ve kneaded it to your satisfaction in plastic wrap, leaving no scrap behind, and let it rest for at least half an hour. This step is critical: if you skip it, rolling out your dough is going to be a hellish experience, and by the time you’ve managed to make a single sheet of dough after wrestling with chunks constantly breaking off during the process, your noodles will be tough and gummy. After wrapping the dough in plastic wrap, you could also chuck the dough in the fridge for future use at this point; just keep in mind that you should use it within two days of making it since the dough begins to oxidize.
Shaping your noods:
Prepare a working surface by covering it with a thin layer of flour. Unwrap your dough, and cut it into four pieces, then proceed to turn one of the pieces into a sheet to cut into noodles.
If you don’t have a crank, use a rolling pin and roll out your dough to your desired thickness, keeping the dough well floured to prevent sticking; aim to keep it long and rectangular to create a single sheet that’s about 6 inches wide. I’ve found that around two feet is a good length for all purpose noodles, but if you’re going to be making something like linguine or pappardelle, we recommend going as thin as you can. When it’s thin enough, cover one side of it with even more flour and gently fold the sheet in half. Cover the new surface with a little more flour, then fold it again. Repeat this step one to two more times until the dough is rolled small enough to where you can cut it comfortably with a chef’s knife. Choose your style of noodle, and cut the dough accordingly. After you’re done cutting, pick up the noodles and separate them, then cover them in even more flour and toss them to make sure that they don’t stick together. Now they’re ready to cook!
If you do have a crank, run your dough through the first setting after flattening it a little bit with a rolling pin and covering both sides with a little flour. Proceed with the settings one by one until you get your noodles as thin as you want them, but experiment with what you like. For stir frys or hearty ramen noodles, I tend to stop at a 3, then run it through the spaghetti cutter. For linguine and pappardelle (or really fine noodles for a soup), my preferred setting is 6. If you’re going to be using this dough to make lasagna (it is a game changer, kids), I usually stop at a 5. Run your dough sheets through the cutter of your choice (I’d recommend cutting the longer dough sheets in half), or you can follow the folding and cutting instructions listed above if you prefer to cut them by hand. Be sure to toss your noodles in flour to make sure they don’t stick together.
Cooking your noodles is a cinch. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and plop in your noodles. When they rise to the surface, they’re done. It takes a minute. A literal minute. Then fish ‘em out and use them however you see fit! Be sure to use them quickly since fresh pasta will stick to itself much quicker after it’s cooked than dried pasta will.
Yields 4 servings.