I feel like it's time to talk about the making of pasta. Have we done this before? I kind of think we haven't. At least not to the extent that is so obviously necessary. Because making pasta is both easy and amazing, and there are not all that many things that can own both of those adjectives simultaneously.
I use my kitchen-aid stand mixer to make my pasta dough, and this has always worked really well. The recipe that I use is from Alice Water's book, The Art of Simple Food, but I have seen the same recipe other places as well, so I think it is pretty standard. It goes like this:
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
Combine the ingredients in the bowl of a stand-mixer and mix using the paddle attachment until you have a well blended and fairly stiff ball of dough. Add small amounts of water (a tablespoon at a time) if needed to get the dough to come together. Remove from the mixer and knead a bit by hand to get a nice even ball of dough. Wrap in plastic wrap (or some such thing- is there an earth friendly alternative that wouldn't stick??) and set aside for at least an hour.
To prepare the pasta for cooking, I usually cut the ball of dough in half, and then roll each half out on a lightly floured cutting board. You want to get the sheet of dough to be as thin as possible, because it will thicken up quite a bit when you cook it. When you have it about as thin as you can get it, use a sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut the pasta into strips. Again, keep in mind that the dough swell when it cooks, so don't make your strips too fat. I often take my strips and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet when my cutting board gets too crowded.
Set a good-sized pot of water on the stove to boil. I usually put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and some salt into the water. The water should be salty; that is where a lot of the flavor of the finished pasta comes from. When the water is at a hard boil, add the pasta and cook until the noodles are tender. This is likely to take a little longer than you think; it isn't quite like making ravoili or gnocchi.
And, that's it. Because fresh pasta is so much better than dry, you don't have to do a whole lot to make it into a pretty servicable meal. It is very good with the most basic of sauces, or even just with some butter and good quality parmesan or romano. We often have it with a really basic parmesan bechamel and roasted brussels sprouts on the side.
Is it dinner time yet?