Culinary Arts

How to Make Pasta Dough With Thomas Keller

Written by MasterClass

Sep 21, 2018 • 2 min read

Pasta has a special place in Chef Thomas Keller’s heart. For Chef Keller, cooking is about emotions, memory, and the gratification of making meals for ourselves and others. Few foods fill that role for him more beautifully than pasta. Fresh pasta can be made on the spot or ahead of time so you can enjoy the benefits of your work throughout the week. With a few simple ingredients—eggs, flour, oil, salt, and milk—you can make a variety of stuffed, shaped, and cut pastas. Although making pasta dough is relatively simple, forming pasta can be challenging, but deeply rewarding and almost magical as your work takes shape.

Chef Keller challenges you to spend time mastering the skills needed to make great pastas. Chef Keller makes a simple egg pasta dough that can be used for a variety of filled and cut pastas. He also uses “00” flour, which is similar to all purpose flour but it is finer—it is milled to the finest consistency and has the right amount of protein for pasta-making. Achieving the right consistency in your dough is more important than following exact measurements since there are so many variations in the moisture of the flour and in the air around you, as well as in the quality of the eggs.

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Chef Keller’s Secret to Making the Perfect Pasta Dough

When Chef Keller worked in Italy, he made pasta with an Italian grandmother who knew the dough was done when it had the same suppleness of her earlobe. She would touch the pasta dough, and then touch her ear to compare.

Chef Thomas Keller’s Pasta Dough Recipe

  • 500 grams Tipo “00” flour
  • 250 grams egg yolks (ideally from Jidori hens)
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 15–30 grams milk
  • 25 grams extra-virgin olive oil

Equipment:

  • Large cutting board or pasta board
  • Bench scraper
  • Sealable plastic storage bag
  1. In the center of your work surface (a large cutting board or pasta board), place the flour in a mound. Use a bench scraper in hand, set aside about 1/6 of the flour. This flour is reserved for if your dough is too wet, as it is easier to add flour to a wet dough than to add liquid to a dry dough.
  2. Make a large well in the center of the mound. Pour in the yolks, the whole egg, milk, olive oil, and salt. With two fingers, begin swirling the ingredients together, incorporating in flour a little bit at a time, until it becomes a thick paste.
  3. Use the bench scraper to fold flour over the paste and cut in the flour.
  4. Once the flour as been incorporated, knead the dough until it resembles a smooth ball. If the dough is very sticky, add a small amount of the reserve flour as needed. It takes practice to know when the dough has reached the right tightness.
  5. Put dough into a sealable plastic storage bag and refrigerate at least 4–5 hours so that the gluten has time to relax before rolling out the pasta. The dough can also be made a day ahead.

Once you’ve made your dough, you’ll roll it out using either a rolling pin or a pasta machine, depending on the type of pasta you will make.

Learn these pasta recipes and more in Chef Thomas Keller’s MasterClass.