How To Hand-Roll Pasta Dough
Rolling out dough by hand is not just an alternative to the machine-rolled route. The centuries-old method allows you to produce pristine pasta without a single modern gadget. And rolling out dough on a wooden surface—the optimal option—gives pasta the texture that holds sauce.
To hand-roll dough, place ball in the center of a large, clean, preferably wooden work surface. (Cold surfaces, like marble, which are best suited for pastry dough, reduce elasticity.) Using a long, straight, wooden rolling pin, flatten in center, then begin rolling out dough using a gentle but firm back-and-forth motion, flattening evenly. Turn dough 90 degrees and repeat. Working to create and maintain an even thickness, continue to gradually roll and turn pasta sheet until it is 1/4 inch thick.
Then, begin to stretch the sheet by rolling the far edge of the sheet around the rolling pin. Hold the side of the sheet nearest you while gently pushing the rolled edge outward. Turn the dough a quarter and repeat stretching and turning several times, until the circle is doubled in size. Next, working quickly to avoid drying out dough, roll up half of the pasta sheet snugly around the pin and, with your palms at the center of the pin, gently roll the pin back and forth while stretching the dough outward under your hands; repeat with other half. At about 1/16 inch thick, you should be able to see your fingers through the dough; stop here or continue rolling for thinner dough.
Now you can skip the pasta machine and make these delicious little lasagnas the traditional way.
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