Fresh pasta is a true treat to serve and enjoy for any meal. Did you know that you can make your own pasta at home, even without a pasta machine, without a lot of trouble? I hope you’ll try my Homemade Pasta (Without a Machine) with Vodka Sauce recipe for a special meal.
I’ve mentioned recently that my mom has been visiting, and when we’re together we try to make as many recipes as we can. It can be hard for me to get her recipes onto paper, because she’s one of those “little bit of this and a little bit of that” people when she cooks!
My mind raced with something special to make while she was here. I finally landed on Homemade Pasta (without a machine) and Vodka Sauce. She used to make homemade pasta with her family when she was a little girl living in Italy, so I wanted to try to capture her expertise.
Of course she had a lot of tall tales to share with me as (and some that weren’t tall at all), as we chatted and cut the pasta into long strands.
It was a bit ironic that we made this pasta by hand as the pasta machine I own sat idly by! But this was a fun way to deliver a fresh meal. The next time I make fresh pasta I probably use my machine, but if you don’t have one, this recipe is for you.
The fresh pasta tasted so much better than it does when you break it out of a box to cook. Not that there’s anything wrong with that — I do it all the time. But this homemade pasta was fluffy and soft and tasted amazing wrapped up in the vodka sauce. It takes much less time to cook thank boxed pasta, too. No more than four minutes in boiling water, and you’re done!
We made the sauce from scratch, too, but you could just as easily use your favorite marinara sauce as the base.
We had a lot of fun making Homemade Pasta (without a machine) with Vodka Sauce. I hope you’ll try it – it’s worth the extra time that you’ll put in!
Fresh pasta is a true pleasure to eat and to serve. While hand cutting the pasta takes a bit of time, the recipe and process of making it is easier than you may think. This recipe serves 6-8 people. You can easily freeze half the pasta dough to use another time.
- 3-1/2 cups flour, plus extra for dusting and a bit more on reserve
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup water
- 26 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 1/2 white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for garnish
- 1-2 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- Lightly dust a flat work surface with some flour. Lay a dishtowel flat, off to the side.
- Add 3-1/2 cups flour to a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the eggs and salt. Use a wooden spoon and stir to combine. A little at a time, push the flour into the well and mix. Add the olive oil and mix a bit more.
- The mixture will be a bit dry. A little at a time (stop after each addition), add some of the water to the dough mixture and use your hands to work the water into the mixture.
- Transfer the dough to the floured work surface. Use the palms of your hands to knead the dough, turning it over and pushing it down several times. You don’t want the dough to be too sticky. If it is, add a bit of the reserved flour and continue to knead it.
- Knead the dough for 6-8 minutes, or until it is smooth and pliable. Pat the dough into a loaf-like shape and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Dust your work surface with flour. Cut the dough into 4 even pieces.
- Use a rolling pin to roll each piece of dough very thin (about as thick as a dime) into an oblong shape. Trim the edges of the dough to form a rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with more flour.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into long strands like spaghetti, as thin as possible. Don’t pull on the dough as you cut it. Separate the strands and transfer onto the dishtowel. When the entire dishtowel is covered with the strands, gently place another towel on top.
- Continue until all the dough has been cut. Lay the remaining strands on the second towel.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook for 3-4 minutes (fresh pasta cooks quickly). Drain and transfer the pasta to the skillet with the sauce. Toss to combine.
- Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for several minutes until softened. Add half the garlic to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato sauce and the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika, and oregano to the skillet. Stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the heat. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- Use the same skillet, still on medium-high heat, and carefully add the vodka, and the remaining garlic. Cook for several minutes until the volume reduces by about half. Remove from the heat.
- Add the tomato mixture to a blender along with the vodka and garlic. Blend until smooth. Transfer the mixture back to the skillet on medium heat, and stir in the heavy cream. Cook for a minute or so, until the sauce is warmed through. Add the Parmesan cheese and stir.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the vodka sauce and toss to combine.
- Serve warm garnished with grated Parmesan, ground black pepper, and fresh parsley leaves.
This recipe serves 6-8 people. If you'd like, freeze half the pasta dough, and thaw it in the refrigerator before you're ready to use it.