Nothing beats homemade pasta – not even shop-bought ‘fresh’. A mixture of 50% Italian ‘00’ flour and 50% Farina di Semola (pale yellow, finely ground, hard durum wheat flour for making pasta and some breads – fine Farola baby food is semolina flour) works particularly well. This mixture of soft and hard wheat flours gives the dough a firmer texture. You may also use strong white bread flour. The dough must not be too soft – it should require some serious effort when kneading! However, too much extra flour will make the pasta too tough to handle (or put through the pasta machine) and when cooked, taste floury. Generally allow one egg to 100 g flour per portion for a main course. It’s best to make a large batch in one go and freeze it once cut and shaped.
To make the pasta in the traditional way, sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the center with your fist. You will need:
- 200 g Italian ‘00’ flour or 100 g Italian ‘00’ flour and 100 g Farina di Semola
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- A pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Makes approximately 500 g
- Break the eggs into the well and add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and the oil.
- Gradually mix the eggs into the flour with the fingers of one hand, and bring it together into a firm dough. If the dough feels too dry, add a few drops of water; if too wet, add more flour. You will soon grow accustomed to how the dough should feel once you’ve made it a few times.
- Knead the pasta until smooth, lightly massage it with a hint of olive oil, pop into a plastic food bag and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes before attempting to roll out. The pasta will be much more elastic after resting.
- Roll out by hand with a long wooden rolling pin or use a pasta machine.
- Roll or fold one end loosely towards the center of the sheet, then do the same with the other 80 that they almost meet in the middle. Lift one folded side on top of the other – do not press down on the fold.
- Working quickly and deftly with one motion, cut into thin slices with a sharp knife, down the length of the folded pasta.
- Immediately unravel the slices (or they will stick together) to reveal the pasta ribbons -you can do this by inserting the back of a large knife and shaking them loose. Hang to dry a little before cooking or
- Dust well with semolina flour and arrange in loose ‘nests’ on a tray lined with a clean tea towel.
TIP: The Italian way is ALWAYS to toss the cooked, hot pasta with the sauce before serving.