So you want to start making pasta at home? Congratulations, your carb intake has never been so well deserved. Not only is homemade pasta more delicious, but shaping pasta with your hands is also a fun group activity and can be a form of stress relief. Plus it doesn’t require fancy tools, stand mixers, or specialty equipment.
Here, chef Ali LaRaia, who runs the pasta-making pop-up Ali & Alix with her partner Alix Brewster in Sonoma, California, shares a few of her favorite pasta-making tools. “Whether you’re making flour-and-water pasta or egg pasta, between all the classes we’ve been doing and the amount of pasta I’ve been making at home, I’ve realized that all you really need is a fork, a bench scraper, a sharp knife, and a rolling pin,” she says. “With those four things you can pretty much do it all.”
Ready? Grab your favorite fork and add these basic pasta-making essentials to your kitchen.
“A bench scraper is my number-one tool,” says LaRaia. If it’s sharp, it can even replace a knife in some cases. LaRaia recommends a stainless-steel scraper, and her favorite one has a ruler with measurements on the end, “which is really convenient for cutting shapes.” If you’re making a type of pasta you want to be uniform, such as tortellini or tortelloni, the markers help ensure consistent sizing.
To make long noodles, a sharp knife is essential. “If I’m hand-cutting noodles, I use a chef’s knife,” says LaRaia. Her favorite is Misono’s 8.2-inch UX10 Gyutou. If your knife is dull and you’re folding up layers of sheeted pasta, you won’t get a clean cut, effectively ruining your noodles, LaRaia warns.
“My favorite rolling pin is from Fante’s—they have really inexpensive pasta tools,” says LaRaia. “All the wood is untreated, and they make great extras, like gnocchi boards.” A wooden rolling pin, dusted with flour, prevents dough from sticking as you roll it out, and is light enough that you (hopefully) won’t get exhausted while sheeting your pasta. Using a rolling pin that’s all one piece (as opposed to a rolling slab on a stick with handles) helps manage pressure and texture.
Having a surface to make pasta on is also essential. LaRaia is a fan of this giant cutting board. Thanks to the non-stick silicone grips at the bottom, it can be used on pretty much any kitchen surface. The multipurpose board also works well for additional meal prep, serving (cheese boards!), and more.
Arguably, flour is the most important element of any homemade pasta (you really can’t make pasta without it, and while any flour technically suffices, LaRaia is a loyalist of Molino Grassi 00 Flour, an organic Italian flour. Whether she’s using egg or water as her liquid, LaRaia blends the 00 and semolina flour varieties for her dough.