On top of being delicious, this gluten free pasta is actually quite simple compared to many recipes I’ve seen before (who call for a million different flours). All you need is pre-cooked white cornmeal, eggs, salt, olive oil and parmesan cheese. :)
1 ⅔ cups Italian “00” flour (or half Italian “00” flour and half Farina di Semola)
2 medium or large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
Sift the flour onto a clean work surface and make a well in the centre with your fist.
Break the eggs into the well and add the oil and a pinch of salt to the well.
Gradually mix the egg mixture into the flour using the fingers of one hand, bringing the ingredients together into a firm dough. If the dough feels too dry, add a few drops of water; if it’s too wet, add a little more flour.
Knead the pasta until smooth for about 2 - 5 minutes. Lightly massage it with a hint of olive oil, put the dough in a plastic food bag, and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. The pasta will be much more elastic after resting.
Feed the blob of pasta dough through the widest setting of a pasta machine. As the sheet of dough comes out of the machine, fold it into thirds and then feed it through the rollers again, still on the widest setting. Pass the dough through this setting a total of 4 or 5 times. This effectively kneads the dough, ensuring the resulting pasta is silky smooth.
Pass the pasta through the machine again, starting at the widest setting and gradually reducing the settings, one pass at a time, until the pasta achieves the required thickness. The pasta sheet will become very long; if you are having trouble keeping the dough from folding onto itself or are making ravioli, cut the sheet of dough in half and feed each half through separately. Generally the second-from-last setting is best for tagliatelle and the last setting is best for ravioli and any other shapes that are to be filled.
After the pasta has reached the requisite thickness, hang it over a broom handle or the back of a chair to dry a little; this will make cutting it easier in humid weather, as it will not be so sticky. Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can dust the pasta with a little flour and place it on clean kitchen towels and let it rest.
Shape the pasta by hand or pass the pasta through the chosen cutters (tagliatelle, etc.) and then drape the cut pasta over the broom handle or chair back again to dry a little, until ready to cook.
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, one day I woke up craving ravioli and given that I was in the mood for some home-made-real-deal grub, I dug out my Imperia pasta machine and started creating.
Don’t think that making fresh pasta is difficult. It’s more difficult to find parking in central London on any normal day. All you need is fresh (possibly organic) ingredients, an Imperia machine and a couple of hours of your time to relax and create.
This post is about making a basic egg pasta dough, with that you can do tagliolini lasagne sheet, tagliatelle, tortellini, ravioli, maltagliati and other shapes.
I will publish another post on how to prepare the filling and how to create the ravioli.
Let’s start by setting yourself up. Glass of wine, good music and the following ingredients (for two/three people and some left overs):
- 200gr “00” flour (or pasta flour if you can’t find “00”)
- 2 eggs
- pinch of salt (not necessary)
(rule of thumb: use one egg for each 100gr of flour)
I think I need to point out that Italy is divided in two when it comes to home-made pasta, in the north we tent to use 00 flour (soft wheat) and eggs while in the south (and in the dry pasta you usually buy in the store), they use durum wheat and water.
Some shape of pasta need durum wheat like cavatelli, orecchiette, strozzapreti while lasagne, tagliatelle and ravioli require a 00 flour.
Before we start, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind to really nail home-made pasta:
- Work the dough on a wood surface (“spianatoia”), the roughness and the warmth of the wood will give the perfect texture to your dough.
- Kneed the dough away from cold draft. This will dry out the mixture and your pasta will break while it cooks.
- Before cutting it into your desired pasta shape, let the dough rest for 1 hr wrapped in cling film.
I’m going to take a shortcut here. Please, don’t tell my mum I’m using a KitchenAid to combine the flour and the eggs. I will knead it by hand once mixed. I just need the KitchenAid to do it on my behalf while I pour myself a glass of vino!
Put flour and eggs into the KitchenAid and mix it half speed for a few minutes, until it starts to compact.
If you want to have coloured pasta, add 2 tbs tomato puree to your mix for red pasta, a few leaves of boiled and puree spinach for green, one tbs of squid ink for black and three tsp of saffron for yellow-gold.
Then transfer it onto your wood board/table and knead the dough for at least 10 mins. Put your muscles into it, whack it against the table a few times, don’t be afraid of hurting it, the more force you put into it, the better texture your pasta will have.
Kneed the mixture till it is firm and smooth, then form a ball and wrap it in cling film and let it rest for an hour in a cool and dry place.
Using a rolling pin, roll a sheet of dough and start putting it through the flat rolls of your Imperia machine before lightly dusting it with flour. Start with the larger adjustment and roll it a couple of times, then fold your sheet and roll it again.Kneed the mixture till it is firm and smooth, then form a ball and wrap it in cling film and let it rest for an hour in a cool and dry place (the fridge would do).
Reduce the spacing between the rollers by one notch. Pass the sheet of dough through the rollers a couple of times, fold it and pass it through it a couple more time. Remember, roll and fold and continue this ‘till your desired thickness. For ravioli I usually stop to setting 5. For tagliatelle and lasagne sheet, you may want to go down till n.4.
If you are short of time, just roll it a couple of times for each setting but fold it a couple of times at the beginning (this will prevent the pasta breaking while cooking).
If the sheet of dough gets too long, divide it lengthwise in half, to make it easier to handle, especially if you don’t have any help in managing the machine!
Leave the sheet to rest for about 10 minutes on a floured surface, so that it will dry slightly and be hard enough for cutting, without sticking to the cutting rollers.
If you want to create your long pasta, just attach the desired cutter accessory to the body and start passing the sheet through, turning the handle with one hand, while holding the sheet with the other.
Your pasta is done! Place it on a large surface or on a broom stick, or wood hangers (or a drying rack if you have one) to dry before cooking.
Bring a pot of water to the boil, add some gross salt, dip the pasta in and cook for as little as two minutes. Drain it and use it with your sauce! Browse around my blog to find the right recipe for home-made pasta!
PS: A key tip to keep your Imperia in perfect conditions: never, ever wash it! Just dust the flour off with a brush and store it in its original box in a dry place. Use it often and you will love this piece of Italian genius!This time I served the pasta with a quick tomato and sausage sauce. It worked well although I’d advice to serve egg pasta with mushrooms and cream with some fresh parsley. Perfect marriage!