ITALY: PASTA DOUGH
Makes: 4 servings “Making pasta is not complicated, it just takes a bit of patience. Once you have tasted fresh pasta, you will never want to eat pasta out of a box again. My whole family loves pasta, especially my sister. I love making fresh pasta dough. It is fun. Once you’ve made the dough you can do so many things with it, like linguine, tagliatelle, ravioli, lasagna, cannelloni, tortellini. It is really useful to invest in a pasta bike (it has several cutting rollers), but also cut the rolled dough with a knife or pizza cutter.” — Skylar Sinow
1 1/3 cups (315 mL) semolina flour
1 1/3 cups (315 mL) Tipo ‘00’ flour (or all-purpose)
4 eggs, room temperature
Olive oil for rubbing on dough before resting, and for hands
1. Start by mounding the flour on a large, clean surface and thoroughly blend the two flours together. Make a well in the centre (like a volcano crater), crack the eggs into the well and beat with a fork, moving outward, incorporating the flour as you go.
Hint: Always bring your eggs to room temperature before using so they will absorb the flour more easily.
2. Once the dough is mixed evenly, start kneading by hand. You will want to knead for about seven minutes to develop a perfect gluten structure. If the dough seems too sticky, dust the counter with flour and continue to fold and knead. If too dry, run your hands under the tap and continue kneading with wet hands.
Hint: Rub your hands with a little olive oil before you start kneading to prevent the dough from sticking.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and rub with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap in plastic wrap so it is air tight. You don’t want it to dry out. Now place it in the fridge and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
4. Cut the dough into 5 pieces and roll them to the thickness of a lasagna sheet.
5. Dust the sheets with semolina flour and roll or fold the dough, then cut it into strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Unroll the strands and you have delicious, fresh tagliatelle.
6. To cook, bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Notes: Having a pastry scraper is super helpful for cleanup after kneading the dough. It’s fun to use and it will make your parents happy that you cleaned up!
Wondering why you knead the dough for seven minutes and let it rest for at least half an hour? Kneading increases the gluten content, which makes it strong so it won’t break when it is boiling. And when you let the dough rest, the gluten relaxes and won’t be too stiff to roll out.