Making fresh pasta

Making fresh pasta

By
Antonio Carluccio
Contains
5 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849493703
Photographer
Laura Edwards

Most people might think that making fresh pasta is a major task. Nothing could be further from the truth! Even the equipment can be reduced to an absolute minimum: all you really need is a knife, a rolling pin and a surface to work on. (You might choose to go down the pasta-machine route – that’s even quicker!) The time involved when making by hand is probably about 30 minutes at first, but you will get much quicker with practice. The ingredients you will need per person are 100g of Italian ‘00’ flour, a free-range egg, and a little water if the egg is small. If making a non-egg pasta, like that from Puglia, you will need to use fine durum wheat semolina flour and some water (no egg). The rest is elbow grease and passion.

What you want to obtain is a soft dough, which will be rolled out with your rolling pin to the desired thickness – this varies – and then cut with a knife. The freshly made pasta is used to make all sorts of pasta shapes and lengths: from capelli d’angelo, tagliolini, tagliatelle, maltagliati, stracci, to all sorts of stuffed pastas like cappelletti, tortellini, tortelli, ravioli, ravioloni, cannelloni, as well as lasagne, farfalle and any other regional shapes such as passatelli or spätzle. The only things you can’t make at home are the extruded shapes you would buy dried: the tubular pastas like penne and the round lengths such as spaghetti, etc.

You can vary your homemade pasta in a number of ways. You can mix spinach, beetroot, black cuttlefish ink, cocoa and powdered porcini into the fresh egg pasta to achieve whatever colour and flavour you may want. And you could make a chestnut pasta, or a gluten-free pasta: simply replace some or all of the flour in the recipe with the chosen flour.

You can probably make enough of your own pasta to store some. Cut the pasta into whatever shapes you want, leave it to dry completely on a clean tea towel or a lightly floured surface, then pack it very carefully into an airtight bag or container. Wind long strands such as tagliatelle into nests while the pasta is still pliable: this will help protect them from breakage later. The pasta will keep in the fridge for two to three days, or you can freeze it for up to six months. If freezing, wrap it in clingfilm or foil first, then defrost in the normal way (not in a microwave!).

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