To make dough by hand: Mound the flour on a work surface and make a depression in center; add egg, oil, tomato paste, basil (if desired), and salt to depression. Slowly incorporate the egg mixture into flour with a fork or your fingertips until it's evenly and thoroughly absorbed. Add water 1 tsp. at a time, as necessary, to form a workable dough. Knead 5-10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. If dough is sticky, add a small amount of flour. If|
dough is dry, add water while kneading, a few drops at a time.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour, or for several hours.
To make dough in a food processor: Add flour, eggs, oil, tomato paste, basil (if desired), and salt to processor and pulse several times while adding small amounts of water until incorporated (dough will be crumbly, not elastic.) Knead as directed in preceding method., Food processor pasta dough doesn't require a resting period, but it doesn't hurt either. Refrigerated dough should be returned to room temperature before rolling.
Rolling and cutting the dough: Using a hand-cranked pasta machine, or a floured board and a rolling pin, roll out dough to desired thinness. Filled pastas such as ravioli and cannelloni, should not be rolled too thin and can be shaped right away. For cut pasta such as fettucine or linguine, drape the rolled pasta sheets over the back of a chair or cardboard-covered clothes hanger for about 10
minutes. This brief drying time will prevent the pasta from sticking together when cut.
Cut pasta can be cooked immediately, or dried, or dusted with flour and frozen in bags for late use. Pasta sheets can be stored lightly dusted with flour and wrapped in plastic.