Keep Calm, Know Your Allies
If you are going to make fresh pasta, take a deep breath and call upon the help of two kitchen workhorses: your food processor and your freezer. Marchetti says, "The key is to just relax. The more you do it, the more you familiarize yourself with the dough's tactile quality, and the easier it'll get." A food processor saves time and still turns out tender dough (even Marchetti's Italian-born mom uses one). And if you aren't going to eat the pasta right away, the freezer is your ally. Marchetti learned the hard way that some hand-shaped pastas—like these codette (which look like string beans but are actually pasta)—cannot be dried before cooking; they just crack, splinter or won't even cook through. So to be safe, either boil the pasta immediately and eat it right then, or roll it out and stash it in the freezer. When you're ready to eat it, take it directly from the freezer to the pot of boiling water.
Photo: France Ruffenach