1 Prep the dough
Start with the right flour. Bauer recommends Caputo 00, which you can find at Whole Foods. “ ‘Double zero’ refers to the grind, and it’s ultrafine,” he says. “You can use all-purpose flour, but double-zero flour will give you a smoother pasta. Bread flour is also a good substitute.” Mound two cups of the flour on a cutting board, make a well in the middle, and add three egg yolks. “Good egg yolks are important, so splurge to get really fresh local eggs.” Mix the yolks into the flour with a fork until a dough forms, then let the dough sit for a few hours in the refrigerator, which yields a softer, smoother result. Bring the dough to room temperature before rolling it.
2 Roll it out
On a floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten out the dough until it’s thin enough to fit into a pasta roller (Bauer recommends the Marcato Atlas, or a KitchenAid mixer attachment). “Rollers squeeze the air out of the pasta, so you’ll want to laminate it, which means folding the pasta sheet over itself [and running it through the roller] a few times.” How do you know it’s ready? “When you drape it over the cover of a book, you should be able to read through it.”
3 Cut and cook
Slice the pasta into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons using a long knife. Then add it to a pot of generously salted boiling water and cook. “How pasta is cooked is very personal. I cook it for about four minutes, but test it by eating a piece — that’s how you know if it’s al dente enough.”
Or, Let the Pros Do the Work
Here are three more spots to pick up excellent fresh pasta.
The pasta’s made daily at this Italian food emporium, and you’ll typically find noodles like tagliatelle and spaghetti alla chitarra. From $6.90 a pound. 43 E. Ohio St., Near North Side
The venerable pasta shop features all manner of noodles — fettuccine, linguine, capellini, and more — in a variety of flavors, from classic egg to lemon, tomato, parsley, and even squid ink. $2.95 a pound. 3418 N. Harlem Ave., Belmont Heights
The restaurant and pasta shop sells fresh bucatini, spaghetti, and other noodles, plus sauces and Parm. $9 a pound. 1746 W. Division St., Wicker Park