Once you have learned the basic pasta dough recipe, you will be able to expand your culinary repetoire to include pasta verde (made with spinach) fettucine, tortellini, cannelloni and all the variations on homemade noodles.

To begin, make sure you have a clean, steady surface to work on. You will need a rolling pin, a broad-blade knife such as a cleaver and an area protected from drafts, as pasta dries out quickly.

For beginners, it's easier to work with a softer dough. Proportionally, a recipe for flat noodle, calling for 2 eggs and 1 1/2 cup flour will serve 3 to 4 persons; 3 eggs and 2 1/4 cup flour will serve 5 to 6 people; 4 eggs and 3 cups flour will yield enough dough for 7 to 8 servings. Stuffed pastas go further.

Break the egg, with your hands or a fork, and beat for 1 to 2 minutes drawing the flour gradually from inside the well. Working with palms, squeeze the mixture together until a crumbly paste is formed. Start kneading the dough, folding it over, until smooth and elastic. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Set dough aside, covered, to rest for 30 minutes.

Using a pasta machine, break off a piece of dough the size of a lemon and feed through the rollers (set widest apart) a few times, folding it over and kneading evenly. Shift the rollers to the next setting and pass the kneaded dough through. Lower the setting and feed once more until dough is completely thinned out. If making stuffed pasta, cut in shapes and stuff as directed in recipe. For flat noodles (fettucine), feed through desired setting, separate strands and let dry on a towel. Uncooked pasta will keep a month without refrigeration. Store in a dry, cool cupboard. pasta can also be frozen.