Let’s talk about pasta. More specifically, let’s talk about homemade pasta. Tasty, satisfying, versatile, impressive, quick and, best of all, easy; making your own pasta from scratch is guaranteed to have your friends and family oooh-ing and aaah-ing and complimenting you on the dedication you have to cooking. Well my friend, lap it up as you laugh on the inside and reminisce about the 2 glasses of wine that you knocked back while you made it. The longest part of the process is letting the dough sit in the fridge for an hour (this is when most of the aforementioned wine drinking probably took place) and the trickiest part of the process is rolling out the dough. If you have a pasta machine and a spare set of hands, then this is a breeze. If not, then never fear, I’ve found that pasta is easily a one-woman job. A rolling pin, or a bottle of wine (SEE? SO MANY USES), will do the job of the pasta machine and you can use a sharp knife to cut the pasta to size.
The only ingredients that you really need for pasta are flour and eggs. That’s it. 00 flour is the super fine flour that Italians use to make pasta so if you can get your hands on that then great. However, I’ve been advised by my go-to foodie friend that regular plain flour works too. The most basic pasta dough recipe that you can follow is 100g flour to 1 egg, which will serve roughly one person.
I add a small amount of olive oil for elasticity and a pinch of salt for seasoning. Semolina can also be added to your dough to give it more texture and bite. The proportions of semolina to flour in a recipe vary from family to family, and depend on where in Italy you are. Apparently, the further south, the more semolina in the recipe.
I’m yet to experiment with different proportions of semolina to flour, but here is the recipe that I have been using lately. I find it has a lovely bite, especially if only cooked very briefly, and a rich flavour. It holds up to a flavourful sauce and I’ve used it to make tagliatelle and raviolis so far (like here in my Seafood Tagliatelle).
Ingredients (serves 3)
225g 00 flour
3 medium eggs, beaten (if you have large eggs then add the mix a bit at a time in case you don’t need it all)
Small glug of olive oil
Pinch of salt
1. Weigh out the flour and semolina and mix together with a pinch of salt. Pour into a mound on your work surface and make a well in the middle.
2. Pour the beaten egg and olive oil into the well and use a fork or your fingers to slowly begin to incorporate the liquid into the dry ingredients.
3. Combine to a stiff dough and knead for 5 minutes. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but preferably one hour. Set up your pasta machine, if you’re using one.
4. Cut the dough in half, wrapping one half back up and putting it in the fridge. This will make it easier to deal with rolling out the dough – if you have many spare pairs of hands and a super long kitchen then knock yourself out and do it all at once. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
5. Lightly flour the work surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into an oblong thin enough to go through the first setting of the pasta machine. If you’re going rustic then continue with the rolling pin until you have a nice thin dough and then use a knife to cut your pasta shapes.
6. Flour the pasta machine and put the dough through the thickest setting. Fold the dough on top of itself so that it’s half the length and put it through the same setting again. Now take the thickness down a setting and repeat the process. Do not be tempted to skip a setting as the pasta is likely to tear!
7. I take this dough to the second thinnest setting and then put it through the larger cutter to make pieces of pasta about 1cm wide. You can take it as thin as you like and either use the cutter on the machine, or cut by hand with a knife.
8. Lay your pasta on a tray sprinkled with semolina, which will stop it sticking together, or hang the pasta until you are ready to use it. I got a fancy pants pasta hanger for Christmas, but I used coat hangers when I didn’t have one (how did I survive??). Repeat with the second half of the dough.
Cook in heavily salted, boiling water. The pasta will cook in 2 minutes.
If you give homemade pasta a go then let me know how it works out, or if you have your own favourite pasta recipe or semolina to flour ratio then I would love to hear it!