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X Italian Pasta Dishes
Pasta all'Uovo (Fresh egg pasta dough)
Originated from: Casacalenda, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Christmas and other special events
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (her mother's recipe)

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*6 eggs
*4 cups flour

*The measurement is approximate

For cooking the pasta noodles

A large pot of boiling water
1 to 2 tablespoons of salt


Mix eggs and flour and work into a pasta dough, keeping in mind that the dough should not be too hard, but be on the soft side, though not as soft as a cavetelli dough. Knead dough for about ten minutes.

Divide the dough into two portions and shape them into long balls or logs.

Flour the balls or logs of dough and place them in individual plastic bags (Or wrap them in clear plastic).

Put the divided dough in individual bowls or containers with lids. Cover the containers with towels and let the dough rest for four to six hours.

After the dough has rested, take out the first portion of dough and cut a slice about 2 inches wide.

Flatten cut the slice of dough, flour it and pass it through the pasta machine (from the widest measurement to the thinnest). Generally the last number of the pasta machine is required as most individuals prefer their cannelloni or lasagna noodles thin (The thinner the better!).

Place the resulting pasta noodle on a floured wooden board or clean cloth. The lasagna noodle should measure about 12 inches long, 6 inches wide, but the length is not all that important as they can be cut to the desired length.

Cut another slice of dough and repeat the above steps (It's best to cut and process each slice at a time otherwise the dough will harden and it will be difficult to process).

When all the dough has been passed through the pasta machine one has two choices -- one can cook them in a large pot of boiling water or place them nicely on a cookie sheet (Use wax paper or aluminum foil between the layers of noodles) and freeze them until needed.

If one chooses to cook them, heat up a large pot of water and place the noodles in the pot a few at a time. When they rise to the surface (about 2 to 3 minutes) remove them with a strainer and place them in a bowl of cold water (to cool them down).

Drain the pasta noodles and then place them on a clean cloth.

At this point one can proceed to use the noodles to make one's lasagna or cannelloni. However, if one is too tired [This is labor-intensive work] one can place them nicely on a cookie sheet (Use wax paper or aluminum foil between the layers of noodles) and freeze them until needed.


Recipes for homemade egg pasta differ. Some cooks use flour, eggs, salt, oil and water. Others use flour, eggs and water etc. However, my mother only uses flour and eggs. No salt, no water, no oil (Actually many professional Italian chefs also make their egg pastas with just eggs and flour!). Generally, my mother manages to use one egg for every cup of flour, but I have never been able to do this. Sometimes I even use two eggs for every cup of flour. Adding extra eggs to the flour does not deter from the taste of the pasta, in fact, it can enhance it. A softer dough will produce a better tasting pasta dish, though, of course, if it's "too" soft then the mixture will not turn into a dough, but will end up as mush.... Growing up Christmas or Easter would have been unthinkable without home-made lasagna or cannelloni. Growing up I took home-made pasta for granted. Now that my mother is getting on in years, she no longer enjoys doing it (Too much work!). So, if I want it, I have to do it myself. That's why I love my pasta machine. Without it, I could not make home-made pasta. In Italy, prior to World War II, those living in the countryside did not have pasta machines. In fact, my mother says she never saw a pasta machine until she came to Canada. Also, when she was growing up in the 1930s eggs were expensive, so one couldn't simply add more eggs to the pasta dough to make it easier to handle. So, one had to do things right (One couldn't be impatient or lazy or whatever!). Luckily, nowadays one can be a not-so-great cook and still manage to put something on the table.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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