I do have the advantage of owning a pasta machine now, since it was an anniversary gift this year (and a hint that the hubs wants me to make pasta more often). If you make pasta using this recipe and you decide that it's worth the time, effort, and you like to know exactly what's in your food - you can pick up a basic hand crank model like mine for about 20 bucks (or pounds, or whatever your unit of currency is). It still won't save you from the upper body workout that is kneading dough, but hey! The more calories you burn, the more of that fantastic pasta you can eat later.
So, without further adieu, here are the ingredients for my pasta recipe:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (plus a little more for dusting)
3 large eggs
That's it! I swear! That's all that goes into pasta. Or, should I say, it should be. This stuff can be hang dried or refrigerated for up to a week, so even if you don't use this whole batch at once, it won't go to waste. Typically this makes 6-8 servings, depending on your appetite. I made lasagna noodles this time around, and about 1/3 of the dough was leftover and cut into fettucini for the later this week.
Make sure your work surface is washed clean and dried thoroughly. You can use a large cutting board, but I prefer a nonporous surface like a countertop. Place your flour in a pile, then hollow out the center to create a well. Crack all 3 eggs into the center well of your flour, and whisk gently with a fork (if you'd prefer, you can whisk before pouring into your flour). While stirring with the fork, gradually incorporate flour from the center edges of the well.
When the flour is about 2/3 incorporated, you can begin mixing with your hand until a ball of dough has formed. This dough will probably be flaking off and quite messy now, and that's when the fun of kneading begins! Knead the dough ball using the heel of your hand. Flatten, fold over, and repeat. Continue this for about 8-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and stops cracking when kneaded. It's extremely important to knead the dough, since this process gives the pasta its elasticity.
When your dough ball is ready to be rolled out, clean and dry your work surface, and dust it with a layer of flour. Divide the ball of dough into 3-4 even pieces, and work with one at a time. Dust the top of the dough and your rolling pin (or rolling wine bottle) with flour, and begin rolling! If you're using a pasta machine, you can probably begin rolling in the machine once you have the dough at about 3/8" thickness. If you are rolling by hand, skip the rest of this paragraph and see below!
For machine rolling, start on the lowest (biggest) setting, #1, and each time the dough is rolled through, increase the number by 1. I like my lasagna noodles to be a #6 thickness, and my linguine to be a #7. Unless you're making angel hair pasta, I don't think it's really necessary to roll anything out to the thinnest setting, but that's a personal preference. I like a little substance to my pasta. Then you can either use one of the cutting wheels on your pasta machine, or remove your pasta and cut it by hand (instructions below).
For hand rolling dough, roll into a large flat sheet of desired thickness - about 1/8" is usually good. Dust the top of the pasta sheet well with flour, then fold over in half. Repeat until you have a log shaped roll of pasta. Then, using a sharp knife that is lightly dusted in flour, simply slice your log into the desired thickness. Here's a good little demo video, in case you'd like a visual for this process. Shake out your cut pasta so that it doesnt stick together, and dust with another tbsp or so of flour if you're not planning to cook it right away.
Simply repeat this process (whether by hand or machine) for the rest of the remaining dough, and voila! The first time I made this, I think it took about 20 minutes, so please don't be intimidated - give it a try! You'll never want to buy store-bought pasta again.