We first started making pasta with the kids about 2 years, when my oldest got the book The Silver Spoon for Children as a Christmas present. If you don't have this book, or the adult version The Silver Spoon, you need to go get it, now. In both books the recipes are just amazing. The children's book is broken into four sections, each section containing 10-15 recipes, so it isn't overwhelming to look through. Each recipe gives a little bit of food or Italian history - for example "Tomatoes have only been grown in Italy since the sixteenth century. At first, people were suspicious of tomatoes because they are related to a poisonous plant called deadly nightshade, but lucky for us, the Italians soon realized how delicious they were." Who knew, I know I didn't know that and now I have a five year old sharing the information with his teacher. The recipes are very simple to follow, there are drawings clearly showing each step, while the text is very easy to read and follow. I also like the portion sizes of the recipes they easily feed a family of 4-5 and seem very manageable. We have a large collection of children's cookbooks, and this is one of my favorites. There are many wonderful things about this book and I really recommend it for any young cook in your life.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled program - the pasta. As I said the basic ingredients - flour and eggs - are familiar to kids and they are two of the best ingredients for playing with in the kitchen. Kids of all ages love to play with flour, it's messy, but fun and you can't beat the thrill of watching a 5 year old cracking an egg and watching it ooze out of the shell. When we make pasta we like to make it right on the table, without a bowl. My kids find this way much more exciting, yes it has been much messier at times, but the adventure for the kids far out weighs the mess.
The assembly process of pasta is very simple. Measure the flour in the middle of the table (or in a bowl), make a small well in the center and add your eggs.
Slowly and carefully begin mixing eggs and flour together. You want to bring the flour in slowly from the sides without breaking the walls until the eggs are well coated with flour.
Fresh Pasta Dough
1 3/4 cups Flour
In large bowl (or right on the table ) measure and sift flour. Form a well in the middle of the flour and crack eggs into the well. Using a fork slowly begin whisking the eggs, gently incorporating the flour as you mix. Once dough is formed into a ball begin kneading until smooth and elastic. Let dough rest, covered under damp dish towel, for 30 minutes. Roll dough into thin sheets using a pasta machine or rolling pin, then cut into desired shape.