The question comes up somewhat regularly in the shop, "Do I need to allow fresh pasta to dry before using it?" The answer is...no, you don't. The point of fresh pasta is to enjoy the subtle flavors and textures as soon as possible. However, leaving fresh pasta to dry for a few hours isn't going to ruin it either.
Often times, I will make pasta in the morning before heading out for the day. When deciding what to do with the pasta dough, I have two options:
1) cut it when I get home while waiting for the water to boil
2) cut it that morning and leave it dry on the counter until I use it.
As most of you already know, making pasta dough is quite easy. The dough comes together quickly, whether done by hand on the counter, or with quick pulses in a food processor. One then allows the dough to rest for 30 minutes at room temp to relax and develop or allow it to develop in the refrigerator for one to several hours. Remember, if you rest the dough in the frig, it needs to come to room temp before running it through the pasta machine.
If one isn't going to use the cut noodles right away, I feel it is best to hang them from some form of drying rack. They are sold in better kitchen shops and are not too expensive.
One can also let the noodles dry spread out flat on the counter or coiled in little nests. While the coiled nests look cool, be careful, unless coated in enough flour, the noodles may stick together.
Caution: never let stuffed ravioli sit on the counter overnight or all day! Most filled pasta contain meat and dairy products that won't be safe exposed to room temperatures for several hours. Always refrigerate stuffed pasta if not using straight away.
You might be wondering how you can cut said pasta. There are several choices. One can do it the old fashioned way and cut the pasta with a pastry cutter, pizza wheel or a board scraper. These tools are your preferred method for papparadelli or other wide noodles. If you want to cut thinner noodles, you may want to invest in a pasta machine.
Imperia and Atlas make counter top pasta machines. These two machines are virtually the same, so either machine will perform just as well. They come in 150mm and 180mm widths and each machine has a cutting attachment included.
Another, slightly more expensive, route to pasta rolling and cutting is the Kitchen Aid stand mixer attachment. If you have a Kitchen Aid, then you have met the requirements to use these cutters. They work just like the manual machines, they are simple powered by your KitchenAid and have a great counter clearance.