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Cooking Tips

How to Roll and Cut Fresh Pasta with a Pasta Machine

Rolling out and cutting fresh pasta by hand is doable and gratifying. But if you are looking for a shortcut, a pasta maker greatly speeds up the work.
By Published Jan. 5, 2023

Our recipe for Pasta Fatto a Mano is designed to be made entirely by hand, per tradition—a deeply satisfying experience if you've got the time to knead the dough with your hands, roll it out with a rolling pin, and cut it into strands with a knife.

But you can also use a pasta machine for the rolling and cutting. The appliance greatly speeds up the work of turning any ball of pasta dough into long, delicate sheets and cutting them into strands.

The following tips will work for any fresh pasta dough.

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How to Roll Out Fresh Pasta Dough with a Machine

Letting the sheets of pasta air-dry for about 15 minutes after rolling them slightly “cures” them, making them less likely to tear when you start cutting them.
Hands gently pulling pasta dough through a pasta rolling machine.

1. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Flatten 1 piece of dough into a 1⁄2-inch-thick disk. Using a pasta machine with the rollers set to the widest position, feed the dough through the rollers twice.

Folded pasta dough being passed back through a pasta rolling machine.

2. Bring the tapered ends of the dough toward the middle and press to seal. Feed the dough seam side first through the rollers again. Repeat feeding the dough, tapered end first, through the rollers set at the widest position, without folding, until the dough is smooth. (If the dough sticks to your fingers or the rollers, lightly dust it with flour and roll again.)

Hands pulling a long, now rolled out sheet of pasta dough from a pasta rolling machine.

3. Narrow the rollers to the next setting and feed the dough through the rollers twice. Continue to progressively narrow the rollers, feeding the dough through each setting twice, until sheets are thin but sturdy, typically setting 5 or 6 on a standard pasta machine. (If the dough becomes too long to manage, halve it crosswise.) Transfer the dough sheets to clean dish towel(s) and let air-dry for about 15 minutes. Repeat rolling with the remaining dough pieces.

Equipment Review

The Best Manual Pasta Machines

What separates a great pasta machine from one that’s just good?
Read Our Review

How to Cut Strand Pasta with a Machine

Manual pasta makers often come with a couple of different cutters, and you can also purchase a wide array of additional cutters to create the desired size of strands.
Hands using a knife to cut rolled out pasta dough in half crosswise.

1. Cut the rolled-out and air-dried pasta sheets in half crosswise to make 10-inch lengths.

Pasta coming out of a rolling machine cut into strands with hands catching the noodles.

2. Slide the appropriate cutting attachment onto the machine for the width of the pasta you want to cut. Feed a sheet through the machine, turning the handle with one hand and catching the pasta with the other hand as it is coming out of the machine. This will prevent the noodles from falling into one big pile.

Hands tossing the fresh pasta strands with flour and placing them on a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet.

3. Liberally toss the strands with flour and transfer them to a lightly floured rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheets.

Try our Pasta Fatto a Mano with—or without—a pasta machine!

Pasta Fatta a Mano (Pasta Made By Hand)

You don’t need a machine or years of muscle memory to produce smooth, supple strands. This approach uses the most basic tool: your hands.
Get the Recipe


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