My mother has made homemade noodles several times over the years. It’s always seemed like such a daunting task, especially since my mother is the queen of non-recipes. When I would look up recipes, they would be so complicated and require things I just didn’t have.
There was no incentive to make noodles at home until I helped my mom make some earlier this year.
While my mother is still a non-recipe person, I was able to get enough of her method to work on making an actual recipe. I took pictures as I made noodles for the first time so I could share. Since the pictures, I have made these again and found a few more techniques that will help make the process easier.
I do suggest starting with a small batch which is what I did. I had the privilege of being home alone for dinner so it was the perfect time to experiment. I could make just enough for me in a time frame that worked for me.
Now before I get into instructions, let me tell you that all you need that is “special” is semolina flour. This is flour made from Durum Wheat and looks a lot like corn meal (even feels like it until you make the dough). I found some at my local co-op and again at an ethnic store. Since then, I have seen it in more places. It’s not expensive. I think I spent $2-4 for a small bag but that bag has made 4 servings (so far). I suspect it will make 8 or more servings when all is said and done.
Before you freak out at that cost, I bought semolina from the first place I found it. Since then, I have seen it in bulk and online for less. As always, the bigger the bag, the less it costs.
After that, all I needed was a bowl, rolling pin and a pizza cutter. The parchment is optional.
This is a per serving recipe. These are generous servings. The plate in the top picture was 1 serving and a bit more than I could eat in one sitting so it might actually be 2 servings but when you have big eaters, you want to err on the too much instead of too little side.
Start with 1/2 cup of semolina flour per person.
Add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of water per 1/2 cup flour. The dough has to be fully dampened. It will be on the wet side and kind of gravelly. I tried adding less water to start with (since you will add more flour as you go on) and I couldn’t get the dough to stick together. Once all the grains of flour have moistened, add flour a spoonful at a time until you get a dough that you can form into a ball.
I started with parchment because I thought it would prevent the dough from sticking. It still needed a great deal of flour. I, actually, had more success just using the counter because it didn’t absorb any moisture which the parchment did.
You want to break your dough up into about 3 parts per serving. Don’t feel like you have to do this ahead of time. The dough is easier to work with in small batches for rolling and cutting purposes.
Sprinkle your work surface with flour, set the dough down on top of the largest concentration of flour. Press down to make a disk. Flip and continue pressing until the dough is about 4 inches round. Gently use the rolling pin. Keep adding flour as it is absorbed into the dough and flip after every few rolls.
At some point, the dough won’t be as sticky. Don’t let that fool you. I found that about 1/8 inch was the perfect thickness. I was not successful making the dough uniformly rolled out. For this purpose, that’s okay. At some point, you may discover you make pasta often enough to warrant purchasing specific equipment to roll it out evenly or not.
Use a pizza cutter to slice your pasta into strips. If you don’t have a pizza cutter than use a knife that does not have a serrated edge. Areas where the dough was too thin will break as you move the dough. And the smaller amount of dough you have to cut, the more likely it will stick to the side of the cutting tool.
Separate your noodles out and let “dry” on a plate or cookie sheet. Originally, I used parchment but for my second attempt I used a silpat on a baking sheet. That worked just fine and had less trash. Once you have laid out the noodles for a few minutes, you can set more noodles on top (loosely) if you run out of room.
Repeat until you have used up all your dough.
The noodles can be laid out to dry but I haven’t tried that yet because we’ve made them to be eaten immediately.
Bring your water to a boil, add salt. Boil the noodles for 7 – 9 minutes or until the texture you want them to be. You will not get al dente noodles because they were never dried. The noodles will always be on the soft side. They come out kind of puffy and soft.
For myself, I made a quick “stir-fry” of onion, garlic, salami, and tomato to throw on my noodles with a little Parmesan cheese.
A little tip for getting items like cheese and salami for one – stop at your deli. Most people don’t realize they can purchase 1 – 2 slices. I bought 4 slices of salami for a little over a dollar (at nearly $9 a pound) for my dinner. It was a whole lot cheaper than going to the lunch meat area and buying a pack of sliced salami. While the price per pound may not be less, I get exactly the amount I need. I, actually, think I could have gotten away with 3 slices but that’s another story.
1/2 cup semolina flour plus more for dusting
1/4 – 1/3 cup water
Mix flour and water until you have a wet dough. Add additional flour until the dough comes together in a ball.
Break the dough up into 3 parts (per serving). Sprinkle your work surface with flour, set the dough down on top of the largest concentration of flour. Press down to make a disk. Flip and continue pressing until the dough is about 4 inches round. Gently use the rolling pin. Keep adding flour as it is absorbed into the dough and flip after every few rolls until the dough is as thin as you would like your noodles.
Cut noodles with pizza cutter and set on a non-stick surface to dry while you continue with the remaining dough.
Once all the noodles have been made, bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt as desired. Boil the noodles for 7 – 9 minutes or until they are the texture you prefer.
Serve with your favorite sauce.