Secret to Making Very Al Dente Homemade Pasta

Updated in March 2020

I’ve often been disappointed with homemade pasta bought from supermarkets or served at restaurants because they’re often not really “al dente” – soft on the outside, chewy at the centre. I began to believe that this was just a general feature of homemade pasta.

But then I joined a “Perfect Pasta” cooking class in Tasmania and found that the secret to making homemade egg pasta very al dente is to work the dough. It’s not really a secret. I guess many restaurants don’t have resources to do more than the minimum kneading, but if you have about 2 hours in the weekend to spare, then give this a try at home.

The key is to knead the dough until it looks and feels as smooth as a baby’s butt!

There were no recipes at our cooking class, but it was so straight forward, I had unintentionally memorised it and was able to successfully recreate the pasta at home. I love my pasta chewy so we worked the hell out of it and I’m confident to say I’ve never had better (or more al dente) homemade pasta before.


Make pici if you don’t have a pasta roller

After moving countries a couple of times, I no longer have a pasta roller machine at home. In fact, that’s when I discovered, you can live without it by making pici pasta. See: Recipe: Simple Homemade Pici Cacio e Pepe from Scratch

The recipe is different because traditional pici doesn’t include egg. Instead, just replace each egg with 50ml of water. This also means that the pasta base is vegan-friendly.

The method is the same, but once you’ve knead the dough until it’s smooth as a baby’s butt, just roll it out to a long wide rectangle, that’s about 0.5cm thick. Cut it into strips and then roll out each strip so it’s long like a noodle.

Basic Homemade Egg Pasta Recipe (For 2)


  • 200g “00” Farina flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

1. Pour the flour on a clean work top and make a volcano-like hole in the middle

2. Crack your eggs in the middle, beat them with a fork, add a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of olive oil, then slowly mix in the flour from the edges

3. Once the egg and flour has been roughly incorporated together, start kneading with your hands. Fold in half, press into table, repeat.

Tip: You might want to get a muscle man to help you at this point – this strategy proved to be very effective for me!

Also check the moisture of the dough. It should be only a tad most (drier than Play-Doh). Add more flour if it’s too wet.

4. Once dough is soft as a baby’s butt, wrap in cling film and put to the side for 30 mins

5. Unwrap, press the dough flat on your palm, splatter minimal flour onto the dough, put it through a pasta rolling machine through the thickest setting (1=thickest) fold in half and put it through again. Do this at least 6-8 times and aim for a square-like sheet.

Tip: The splatter of flour is to avoid the dough sticking to the surfaces of the machine but avoid using too much – this will change the pasta’s texture.

6. Run the flat sheet through each level of thickness twice each (don’t fold it). I went up to 6. After that it gets too thin, messy and difficult to deal with (for a beginner like me).

7. Cut the sheet into tagliatelle strips of desired width. Splatter some flour around to avoid them sticking to eachother.

8. Boil in salted water for just 1 min!

Leave a comment below if you have any further questions!

Read about homemade recipes or ideas here.
Read more about pasta-related posts here.

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