Let me begin by saying that making fresh pasta is one of those joys of cooking that, once discovered, is difficult to give up. Store-bought pasta just doesn’t compare to freshly made. So when you enter into the pasta-making world, you probably won’t come out.
But that’s a good thing because making fresh pasta isn’t difficult nor does it have to take a lot of time. You just need a pasta machine, a little practice, and a tip of two. And one of those tips has to do with drying your pasta thoroughly.
Of course you don’t have to dry your pasta, really, to create and enjoy a delicious batch. You can merely take it, slightly damp, directly to a boiling pot of water and cook it. But then it will take more stirring to cook it right. That’s because the pasta will tend to clump together as it boils and you’ll need to keep it separated so it cooks correctly. It’s a little extra work but not much.
However, if you want to store your pasta for any length of time, then you absolutely, positively have to dry it thoroughly. If your pasta has even a tiny bit of dampness when you store it, it will easily spoil. Then you’ll just end up throwing it out.
To completely dry your pasta you need a rack of some sort. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – it can be a simple $10 pasta drying rack from any kitchen supply store or website. It can also be something you throw together from odd materials you have lying around (for instance a couple old curtain rods stretched across two boxes will do nicely). What’s important isn’t how it looks like but rather how it works.
By “racking” the pasta you allow air to circulate around it. That will evenly dry it in a short amount of time. Then you can safely store it for a future meal or party.
Indulge your pasta habit. Get your hands on some pasta recipes and knock yourself out. Remember, making pasta is fun – eating it is more fun.