Call me old fashioned, but I still love getting my hands dirty in the kitchen. Yes of course it’s easy to get dirty in a kitchen with sauces flying, vegetables searing, and kids screaming for seconds, but what I mean is putting the machines to the side and letting my hands do the work. For some reason when it comes to making pasta, I prefer to roll out everything by hand. There’s something nostalgic about it, maybe it’s because I’m Italian, that really takes me back to the basics of fundamental cookery. There were no KitchenAids back in the day, it was someone simply rolling out the dough with their rolling pin. I like to feel through the pressure of the rolling pin how thick or thin the dough is. Doing it by hand certainly will make you appreciate it much more as it will most definitely become a labor of love for you. Let me be clear that in no way am I against using some of our technical advances to help roll out dough, in fact if you’re comfortable using them then I say go ahead. For me though, I want to always bring back the fond memories of rolling out dough in my grandma’s basement into my present-day kitchen.
The flour is really important when making any dough and especially homemade pasta. You need a pasta flour that is high in protein so that it can expand without breaking or cracking when you roll it out super thin. Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour is perfect for making homemade pasta dough, breads, muffins, cookies, you name it. It’s stone ground and you can see the broken down red wheat as you roll it out on your clean surface. It gives you confidence to know that what you are making is going to be ridiculously delicious. I always recommend sifting the flour first before forming a well and stirring in the eggs. Now because things get sticky right off the bat I like to use a bench knife to constantly scrape the cutting board to make sure I’ve got all of the ingredients in my dough. You may also want to keep some cold water nearby just too wet the dough a bit so that everything comes together. If you want, you can simply add another egg as well.
When the dough ball is formed, let it rest for just a bit so the noodles don’t become rubbery from you over working it. Remember this process takes patience, so grab a good book and a cup of coffee throughout the homemade noodle making process. When it comes to rolling out the dough you can certainly use your standing mixer with the pasta attachment or roll it by hand, I promise I won’t judge. I split the dough into three parts and roll out each dough ball until it becomes the size of my cutting board, which is 24” x 18” inches big. This gives me a good base for how thin I need the dough to be before cutting it. After I roll it out to the size of the cutting board and it still feels a little thick, then I cut it in half and roll out each dough until it gets to the right thickness. What is the right thickness you ask? You should be able to almost see through it, or see shadows of people and things. No, it’s not scientific, but I promise once you hold up the dough you will know exactly what I mean.
The rolled out dough needs to dry out a bit, so you can invest into those pasta holders or simply place a sheet of parchment paper in between, which is what I do. Let the rolled out dough rest again, which means you can grab some more coffee and get back in your book. After about 30 minutes or so you can venture back to the kitchen to lightly flour each sheet of rolled out dough and then fold it over a few times. Thinly slice, or thickly slice if you like pappardelle, and place the pasta on another sheet tray lined with parchment paper, and gently toss in some more flour. Again, head back to your book and coffee for another 30 minutes and let the pasta dry out a bit more.
From here there are a few things you can do. One, you can simply store it in the refrigerator and use it over the next two days. Two, you can freeze it for up to 1 month, or you can boil it right away and eat it, which of course is what I did! I cooked off a bunch of finely minced garlic in some butter and extra virgin olive oil over low heat just until it’s done. They say garlic is done cooking once you can smell it. Once the pasta finished cooking in a gigantic pot of boiling salted water, I strained it and folded it into the cooked garlic mixture along with some grated Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Simple and delicious. I love being able to make something that is so good with so few ingredients. I hope you find some time to make this pasta, and create your own kitchen memories for you and your family. Happy cooking!
Parmesan and Garlic Whole Wheat Pasta
- 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat Flour
- 5 Eggs
- 3-5 Tbsp Ice Cold Water
- 4 oz Unsalted Butter
- 2 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 12 cloves Garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated
- ¼ cup fresh Parsley, finely minced
- Kosher Salt and fresh cracked Pepper to taste
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes to taste
Sift the flour onto a clean surface and form a well. Crack the eggs into the center of the well and whisk using a fork while folding in the flour from the outside until it is completely combined.
Add water as needed to make sure the dough is not too dry and gently knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Cover with a towel and let stand for 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into three balls and roll out each ball until it becomes thin enough to see shadows of things or silhouettes through. You may need to slice the dough in half again to roll it out to the correct thickness. Layer the rolled out dough in between parchment paper and let rest for 30 more minutes.
Sprinkle one sheet of dough with a little bit of flour, fold over two to three times, and thinly slice so that it resembles the same thickness as linguine or fettuccine. Repeat the process with the other rolled out dough sheets.
Place the cut pasta on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and toss with a bit of flour and let rest for 30 minutes.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, or slightly crunchy. Drain and rinse with cold water. Coat in olive oil and set aside.
Next, add the butter and olive oil to a large sauté pan and cook the garlic over low heat until it’s cooked through, about 2 to 4 minutes.
Add in the pasta along with the Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, and toss until completely coated and hot.
Serve with extra cheese.
Hello, I’m Billy Parisi, but to some I’m known as “Chef Billy Parisi.” I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but for the most part I’m a Food & Content Creator, Sometimes TV Host, Digital and Social Strategist, Influencer, Picture Taker, Coffee Drinker, Daddy, Husband, College Sports Enthusiast, Fashionisto, Film & Music Lover!
I’ve been in the kitchen since I started washing dishes in a restaurant at the age of 13, and during that time I knew immediately that I wanted to be a chef. I graduated from Arizona’s Scottsdale Culinary Institute and the University of Missouri, and have logged several years as line cook, sous chef, and executive in some of the Midwest’s finest restaurants. I currently live in the city of Chicago with my wife Lindsay and daughter Olivia and cook up new inventions, mash-ups, fusions, and twists on old classics. I’m incredibly spontaneous and outgoing, and run two small businesses, BPMVC, and my latest venture, 5 Loaves 2 Fish!